The Internet is abuzz with the news that the Google Chrome browser has finally made it to Android devices. However, there’s quite a big catch: it will only run on devices with Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich. At the moment, supposedly only around 1% of Android devices are running Android 4.0, most are running Gingerbread, specifically 2.3.3. Google engineers likely released it for Android 4.0 devices first to make a sort of “soak test” beta where a smaller subset of users are able to test out the software, and bugs found can be fixed before the wider public release occurs.
As you would expect, the Chrome beta for Android 4.0 devices works very similarly to the desktop version. There’s an omnibox at the top of the screen where you enter URLs or search terms. However, Google has added some accelerated page browsing so that as you’re entering a URL, it predicts what webpage you will choose and loads it in the background. By the time the URL is typed in, most, if not all, of the webpage is already loaded. It also predicts search terms, just as the desktop version does.
You can also sync Chrome tabs and bookmarks from your desktop to your phone or tablet if you sign in with the same Chrome login on your desktop. And speaking of tabs, on a phone you can swipe left or right to switch tabs. On a tablet, open tabs fill the screen as they would on the desktop.
If you’re a lucky Android 4.0 user, you can head on over to the Android Market now to test out the Chrome browser.