Two of Google’s most successful products, Android and Chrome, have come together.
The new Chrome app serves as an alternative to Android’s Web browser named, uninspiringly, Browser, and brings to phones and tablets many features from the desktop version of Chrome.
As users can do in the Android Browser app, Chrome users can use the “omnibox,” where a website’s URL appears as a Google search box too.
Chrome offers tabbed browsing as well, and a private “Incognito” mode is built-in for when a user may want to surf the Web without leaving a trail behind.
Among the features Chrome on Android offers that Browser doesn’t is the ability to sync open tabs and bookmarks between the Chrome mobile app and Chrome browser on a PC, as well as the ability to open an unlimited number of browser tabs. One feature Browser has that Chrome has left behind is support for Adobe’s mobile Flash player, as noted by The Verge.
Like the desktop version of Chrome, Chrome for Android “is focused on speed and simplicity,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Chrome and apps, said in a blog post.
“We reimagined tabs so they fit just as naturally on a small-screen phone as they do on a larger screen tablet,” Pichai said in his post. “You can flip or swipe between an unlimited number of tabs using intuitive gestures, as if you’re holding a deck of cards in the palm of your hands, each one a new window to the web.”
Meanwhile, the Chrome app on an Android tablet looks more like the desktop version of Chrome, with the familiar tabbed layout showing up to take advantage of a tablet’s larger screen when compared with a smartphone.
So far, Chrome isn’t available for any other version of Android, and the Ice Cream Sandwich app is a beta release, with a few bugs to be worked out.
Ice Cream Sandwich, which is available on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and the Asus Transformer Prime tablet, accounts for about 1% of Android devices worldwide. More phones and tablets are promising updates to Ice Cream Sandwich in the coming months, so that percentage will likely grow.
Check out Google’s promotional video for its Chrome Android app below to see Chrome in action on a Galaxy Nexus smartphone.