Top Android Browsers for 2012

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Many web browsers are available to users of mobile devices that run on Android today. Each claims superiority over the others, promising nice environments or taking pride in simplicity and serviceability. Only a few deliver the best experiences and live up to their promises. Listed below are six of the top Android browsers this year.

1. Dolphin

top-android-browsers-for-2012The best thing about Dolphin HD is that it offers a faster and smoother scrolling and browsing experience. Just like Chrome, Dolphin’s display design is simple and easy on the eyes. Dolphin also has nice and clever additional features like full-screen and screen-capture modes, gestures, auto-fill searches and voice control. It also has a tool for downloading stuff from the Internet and storing it in the device in PDF form.

Dolphin also offers a lighter and thus faster version – Dolphin Mini. Its main advantage is backward compatibility of up to Android 1.6 and runs faster because it uses lesser bandwidth. This version of Dolphin boasts features such as screenshots, data back-up and private browsing.

2. Google Chrome for Android Beta

top-android-browsers-for-2012Chrome has already been widely used in personal computers for a few years now, and in the last few months, Google has released and constantly updated a beta version of the browser for devices running on Android 4.0. In general, the Android version of the Chrome browser runs smoothly with less eyesores and impressive speed. Another plus for Chrome is that it does not really need Flash add-ons as it uses HTML5 and JavaScript. So whether you have Flash or not, it does not really matter if you use Chrome. However, this could also become inconvenient sometimes because many sites still have not moved on from Flash players and still require you to install it for the page to load properly.

Chrome sure does look very good. However, Chrome does not give users options with regards to how they would like pages to be loaded on the browser, and so, even if the browser loads pages as a desktop browser, some sites still send mobile versions of the pages. An option that would enable the user to choose between desktop and mobile versions of pages would have been nice. Expect future Chrome versions to come with this feature.

3. Opera

top-android-browsers-for-2012Opera is also among the top Android browsers for mobile users, some of which consider it the crème de la crème. It offers Opera Mobile Browser for newer and more advanced devices and Opera Mini for older devices that could not run the first version due to its high demand in handset resources. So, whether your device is a day-old or two years older, Opera could still make for a good third party browser for it.

Opera also improved a little more and brought out Opera Turbo for the Android version. This feature – which may or may not be installed – compresses data on Opera’s servers before sending it to your Android device, thereby allowing for a faster browsing experience and giving better memory utilization to the user. But even with the Turbo add-on, Opera can be occasionally slow and loading pages in their desktop version instead of mobile could be a little hard.

4. Firefox for Android

top-android-browsers-for-2012Firefox has been around for quite a long time and it really works well in computers. The Android version, however, does not seem to be so. The application loads very slowly and it could very well get the user lethargic while using it.

What’s good about the Android version of Firefox, which has it listed as one of the top Android browsers for this year, is its Firefox Sync feature that synchronizes browser usability across devices; say for example, between a laptop and an Android mobile device.

Just like Chrome, it also lacks the option to allow user requests for desktop versions of pages, but has different features that can optimize screen usage.

It can show open tabs without needing to load repeatedly by having them in a separate ribbon at the left-pane of the screen, with the ability to show hide it with just the swipe of a finger.

5. Boat Browser

top-android-browsers-for-2012The Boat Browser gives for maximum screen utilization by having a toolbar at the bottom of the screen that allows you to store more bookmarks. It also lets you choose how websites perceive your device; choices include Android, iPhone, Desktop, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and iPad. This means that Boat Browser could almost – if not always – let you get desktop versions of pages you load. If that feature weighs more for you, then you’ll just have to live withHbut in tbut  Boat being not exactly the fastest Android browser and not supporting Flash. It also has a Boat Browser Mini version for low capacity Android handsets.

6. OverSkreen

top-android-browsers-for-2012OverSkreen could come in handy if you are quite a heavy smartphone user. It lets you open pages in different windows and run other applications at the same time. Windows can be minimized, resized or closed without affecting the other windows, which allows for better screen manipulation. It can support Flash, has a Request Desktop Version option and also has a setting for blocking pop-ups.

Though this one is not as popular as the other Android browsers in this batch, it sure looks like it could offer the convenience and great environment that the others fall short on.

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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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