Google's Chrome for Android is an edition of Google Chrome released for the Android system. On February 7, 2012, Google launched Google Chrome Beta for Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) devices, for selected countries. The first stable version of the browser was released on June 27, 2012. Chrome 18.0.1026.311, released on September 26, 2012, was the first version of Chrome for Android to support Intel x86 based mobile devices.
'Google Chrome Beta' for Android devices was available for devices running the Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or above version of the operating system. It was launched on February 7, 2012, for a limited number of countries. The Android version can be installed from Google Play. It currently lacks some features available in the desktop version, but has some additional features:
- Synchronization with desktop Chrome to provide the same bookmarks and view the same browser tabs.
- Page pre-rendering
- Hardware acceleration
- Many of the latest HTML5 features to the Android platform, almost all of the Web Platform’s features: GPU-accelerated canvas, including CSS 3D Transforms, CSS animations, SVG, WebSocket (including binary messages), Dedicated Workers; it has overflow scroll support, strong HTML5 video support, and new capabilities such as IndexedDB, WebWorkers, Application Cache and the File APIs, date and time pickers, parts of the Media Capture API. Also supports mobile oriented features such as Device Orientation and Geolocation.
- Tabs can be switched with a swipe gesture.
- Link Preview allows zooming in on (multiple) links so as to ensure clicking on the right one.
- Font Boosting is used when text on the website is too small to be read properly. It uses an algorithm to increase font sizes when necessary, aiming to make the text readable regardless of the zoom level.
- Remote debugging
- Data saver. When this feature is turned on, Chrome will use Google servers to compress pages before downloading them. SSL and incognito pages will not be included. (Introduced in Version 29.0.1547)
- Google Cast support for HTML5 video
- Chrome apps and extensions not supported
- Native Client not supported
- Part of the browser layer has been implemented in Java, communicating with the rest of the Chromium and Blink code through Java Native Bindings.
The code of Chrome for Android is a fork of the Chromium project. One of the top priorities is upstreaming most new and modified code to Chromium and WebKit to resolve the fork.
On June 27, 2012 Google Chrome for Android exited beta and became stable.
Chrome 18.0.1026.311, released at September 26, 2012 was the first version of Chrome for Android to support Intel x86 based mobile devices.
Google brought Chrome for Android in line with the desktop version with Chrome 25. They released a separate Chrome for Android beta channel on January 10, 2013, which runs side-by-side with the stable channel for Android.
JR Raphael, writing for Computerworld noted "[It] functions separately from the stock system browser -- and offers plenty of advantages over it, too." "Chrome for Android gets tabs right. [...] [it] automatically pops up a magnified view anytime you tap a link that's close to other links on the page". "Perhaps the most impressive feature of Chrome for Android is its integrated sync capability [including] the ability to sync open tabs, meaning you can actually see what tabs you have open on any other Chrome-running device." "One of the biggest benefits of the new Chrome Android browser is its speed" concluding that "My first impression, without a doubt, is that Chrome for Android is a tremendous step forward for Android-based browsing".
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