Stop what you’re doing and answer these questions: what browser are you using to read this article? Do you have a favorite/default web browser, and if so, why? What browser(s) do you dislike and why? Chances are you have answers, if not passionate answers, to all of these questions. Now one more question – what browser do you use on your mobile devices?
I would assume many iPhone and iPad users would reply “Safari,” and Android users the “Android browser.” When compared to the desktop browser war that has been raging for years, mobile web browsers are somewhat untouched grounds. Some mobile browsers, such as Dolphin, Mercury and Skyfire provide much more than a device’s default browser, but many people have never heard of or experimented with alternative mobile browsers (honestly, I’ve never heard of half the mobile browsers out there). However, mobile browsers affects user experience just as much as desktop browsers, and getting to know some alternative mobile browsers can only enhance your browsing experience. With that, I’ll share a couple of my favorites.
Google does it again
Over the past several years, I’ve become a diehard Google Chrome fan because of its speed, personalization, synchronization and ease of use. My loyalty grew even more when Google released Chrome for Android devices (with Android 4.x) earlier last year and released Chrome for iPhones/iPads several weeks ago. Chrome’s mobile version boasts some pretty slick interactions: to switch between tabs, view a tab and do a full screen swipe to the direction of the next tab. When viewing all opened tabs, you can also close a tab by doing a full screen swipe on the tab to close. Chrome also allows you to view your other Chrome tabs on every computer and device that you have signed in to. Personally, I love it – I always use Chrome on my iPhone, and I’ve even replaced Safari with Chrome on my iPhone’s menu bar.
Dolphin – the playful browser
Another alternative mobile browser I love using is the Dolphin browser. I use Dolphin on my Samsung Galaxy tab, mainly because it’s much more fun to mess around with than the Android browser. This mobile browser features their “Gesture” functionality, which are drawings that you can create and assign to any Dolphin browser function. For example, when in Gesture mode, you can draw the letter “G” to go to Google’s homepage. You can also edit this default gesture, as well as add or edit as many gestures and functions as you’d like. Dolphin also has a “Sonar” feature (not available on iPads), which allows users to search, share, and navigate the web with voice commands. Sonar recognizes quite a bit of browser function commands, as well as searching within a website. For example, you could say “Amazon Nike shoes” when in Sonar mode to solely search Amazon.com for Nike shoes. Similarly, you can say “Facebook” followed by a friend’s name to search for your Facebook friend, then close out by saying “close tab.”
And so much more…
There are a ton of other mobile browsers out there for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and every mobile browser gives an unique user experience. Exploring each mobile browser’s features is half the fun; the other is comparing and debating favorites. So if you haven’t played with any alternative mobile browsers yet, download them on your devices today!
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