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The Android Web Browser Round-Up
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The Android Web Browser Round-Up

Android might not have the huge line-up of games and apps that iOS boasts but ever since Eclair (Android 2.0/2.1) came along, Android has been slowly overtaking iOS as the smartphone platform with the best Internet browsing experience. It boasts a fast loading speed, smooth scrolling and most importantly, support for Flash!

Some may argue that Flash is useless and slow, but the fact remains - many websites still require Flash support for basic navigation, even though both Android and iOS support HTML5. Nothing beats the convenience of playing back video directly on the browser.

The Android's stock browser is no slouch, but there's always room for improvement. Fortunately, Android is an "open" platform, so there are tons of alternative browsers out there. There is no one perfect choice, however. It all depends on your personal preference, especially when it comes to the features they offer. In this round-up, we will take a look at the following web browser for the Android platform :

Browser

Version

User Agent

Plug-In
Support

Flash

Theme

Memory
Usage
*


Stock Browser

2.2.1

No

No

Yes

No

~6 MB

Dolphin HD

4.6.1

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

~4 MB

Dolphin Mini

2.1.1

Yes

No

Yes

No

~3 MB

Opera Mobile

11.00.ADR
-1104201100

No

No

Yes

No

~29 MB

Opera Mini

6.0.24556

No

No

No

No

~6 MB

Firefox Mobile

4.0.1

Yes
(plug-in)

Yes

No

Yes
(plug-in)

~38 MB

Miren

1.2 Build 155

Yes

No

Yes

No

~4 MB

Skyfire

4.0.3.23985

Yes

No

Yes

No

~3 MB

Xscope

6.43.1

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

~3 MB

* The memory usage above is only an indication of real world usage, and may not represent your actual experience as everyone's usage pattern differs. The figures above were noted and recorded directly after the browser launched and fully loaded the Google main page. Some browsers do not support changing user agent, so they may load the desktop version of Google.

 

Our Testbed

To test those web browsers, I used my trusty 2-year old HTC HD2, running on Android 2.2 Froyo (darkstone SuperRAM FroYo v1.5). You should read my comments on performance with that fact in mind, since HTC HD2 was originally a Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone.

That said, the HTC HD2 is one of the first smartphones in the market to feature a 1 GHz processor. So, its performance should be representative of the majority of Android smartphones out there.

 

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Page

Topic

1

The Android Web Browser Round-Up
Our Testbed

2

Stock Browser
Dolphin HD
Dolphin Mini

3

Opera Mobile
Opera Mini
Firefox Mobile

4

Miren
Skyfire
Xscope

5

Conclusion & Summary



 
   
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