We’ve been expecting this day for at least two or three years, basically since Chrome came out and quickly started to become the default desktop browser for many of us, even when it was still in beta. Since then, we wanted to see Chrome for Android, but for some reason, Google kept avoiding the subject until this year.
This year we saw Chrome for Android Beta for the first time, and we were impressed by the browser’s speed and performance (you’d expect that from Chrome after all). But we also liked the app’s UI, which feels like swiping cards, something I’m sure Matias Duarte, Android’s Chief Designer, remembers well from his webOS days. It was smooth and fast, but it was still in beta.
Yesterday, Google announced that Chrome for Android is finally shedding the beta label, and it will also become the default browser on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
This is great news for those of us who love Chrome, although only devices running ICS and later can use Chrome. This might not sound like a big issue if, say, half of all Android users had ICS by now, but unfortunately, only less than 10% do for now. Still, Android 4.0 was a pretty major overhaul from Android 2.xx, and Google probably needed all the new APIs and frameworks to make Chrome run well for Android 4+ devices.
Those still running Gingerbread and with no hope of getting ICS anytime soon, could give a try to the latest stable version of Firefox, launched the other day with a native UI that dramatically increased its performance over previous versions.