Even though this app was only released a few hours ago and we have had to wait about four months since it was announced, I have had an opportunity to play with it for a bit and I have to say for a Beta app, I am thoroughly impressed. Chrome has long since been my favorite browser of choice on my laptop and has also been one of the most requested features for Android ever.
Well if you haven’t heard Chrome has been released but only for those totting Ice Cream Sandwich. It does work on roms and my buddy who owns a Rezound has tested it on RezRom ICS 1.2. I assume it works on CleanROM as well. So yes those of you with Ice Cream Sandwich roms can rest easily knowing that it works on your devices. Those of you without ICS worry not as I assume a kind developer will be able to tinker with the program and make it run on any device out there. All it takes is time.
When I first started playing with this I was quite impressed. The app seems to mirror everything I love about Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s smooth, polished and has awesome transitional effects. You can swipe left or right to move between tabs. You are greeted with a screen much similar to Chrome’s desktop counterpart. You have recently opened tabs, favorites and a new handy option of accessing the tabs you have open on your computer.
When you go to the bookmarks tab you see all your bookmarks assigned to different folders. You have your Desktop Bookmarks, Other Bookmarks, and Mobile Bookmarks. I clicked my desktop bookmarks folder and wouldn’t you know, it’s got all my bookmarks in all their glory. I clicked on a few and they zoomed right along. When you go incognito the top bar that is normally gray turns blue to let you know you’re surfing the web anonymously.
The settings menu is pretty straight forward. You can sign into your Google account to sync everything, manage bandwidth (preload web pages only on wifi to save data) manage forms, save passwords and even clear the browsing data. Like I said, it’s pretty straight forward. Also everything is just right there. It’s what you expect for a mobile browser. The ability to see what tabs are open on your desktop version of Chrome is a pretty neat feature Google built in.
One thing that is missing is from Chrome Beta is flash. Honestly though with Adobe discontinuing support for mobile experiences, even though they said it would be on Android 4.0, I can see why this move happened. Seriously, I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I used Flash on my phone. So I feel that it won’t be missed. Browsing however is what you would expect from a mobile browser. You can view desktop or mobile sites and the browser renders them quickly thanks to the preload feature. One gripe that I share with one my editors is the ability to hide the address bar. Not being able to, just seems outdated.
Chrome is everything you’d expect it to be. In the few short hours I have been using it I have yet to find bugs. For a beta this is one polished piece of software. Chrome has long been in coming and well worth the wait. I don’t understand why it’s only out for Ice Cream Sandwich devices but I hope it will come out for other devices as well. While it is suggested that Chrome relies heavily on the Android 4.0 APIs (Thanks Jim) I don’t know why they didn’t make a version optimized for Gingerbread or Honeycomb. But that is a rant for another time.
Given that I can use it, from a personal opinion I can give this app top marks. However from an objective standpoint it loses points for catering only to the official 1% (and those with ICS Roms installed) and not to those Gingerbread folk who are in majority. When you get the chance to use the app you will see the reason why I am not using any other browser again. Google has delivered something great in the making here and given that it’s a beta it will only get better. Check out the video below on some of it’s speed and transitional effects. Enjoy!