I was out with some friends for sushi a few weeks ago and the topic of mobile browsers came up. One friend admitted that he just used the stock browser that came with his G2 because he didn’t know of any alternatives. To my friend, I replied that there is so much more out there! So many possibilities! But then the question came up, “Which is the best Android browser?”
A wise man once said: “To understand where we are going, we need to understand where we came from.” Prior to 2004, Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) had a monopoly on how we browsed the Internet, being used on almost 90% of the worlds computers. Then, in 2004, Mozilla made a splash with their browser: Firefox. And in the course of a few years, managed to become the second most popular browser next gobbling up almost 30% of the market. Google released Chrome in 2008, and in just 3 years is now the browser choice for almost 14% of users.
Mobile browsing occupies approx. 5% of Internet usage. While this number may seem small and insignificant, think about this: as of July 2010, 40% of adults in the U.S. use their phones to browse the Internet, check email or instant message. In July 2009, just one year prior, only 32% of adults used their phones for the same tasks.
Non-voice application use has also dramatically increased in the last year. For instance, cell phone owners are more likely to use their phone to:
And these numbers will continue to grow as phones become more user friendly and more affordable. Class is dismissed. Now back to the original question: “Which browser is best?”
As of April 2011, there are at least 10 browsers available for Android (listed in alphabetical order): Boat Browser, Dolphin Browser, Dolphin HD, Dolphin Mini, Miren Browser, Mozilla Firefox, Opera Mini Mobile, Opera Mobile, Skyfire, and of course the stock Android Browser.
I kicked the tires, looked under the hood and test drove each one. It was a difficult road and even a more difficult decision, but I’ve narrowed the field to the top 3 browsers. Over the course of the next few days, We’ll review the top three. Be sure to check back for the contenders!
Any predictions on who the winner will be?