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Amazon’s new Android web browser looks drab, probably is drab

Amazon's "Internet: fast, lite, and private" app has accumulated 100+ downloads since its release in March.

Published onApril 18, 2018

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  • Amazon has launched an Android web browser app in India called Internet: fast, lite, and private.
  • The lightweight app, released in March, comes in at 2.7MB and includes a private mode. 
  • Amazon could use the app as a means to promote its services in future. 

Amazon has launched a new Android web browser app called Internet: fast, lite, and private. The app is only available in India for the moment, seemingly on select handsets, and has been downloaded “100+” times since its release last month.

Internet was brought to our attention by TechCrunch, which states that it can be installed on supported devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher.

It’s clearly built for less powerful handsets, with a bare-bones interface and download size that comes in at 2.7MB — significantly less than the ~20MB of the Chrome and Mozilla Firefox apps (though Chrome has built-in data-saving features, and the lightweight Firefox Focus comes in at 4.3MB).

It also includes “updates so small you may even decide to download them with your data plan,” according to its Play Store description, and a private mode.

This is Amazon’s first foray into web browsing on Google Play — though it has a browser for its Fire devices, known as Silk at its store — and it’s a no-frills affair; if this is supposed to be an exciting alternative to the myriad of other lightweight browsers out there, it doesn’t come across as one.

The big question, then, is why Amazon has built it in the first place.

Its recent moves in the territory might give us a hint. The company just launched the Echo speaker in the region in February and its Prime Music service rolled out around the same time. Providing Alexa- or Prime-exclusive content would be one way to get users to buy into an otherwise flavorless browser.

Google’s Chrome browser is bolstered by the company’s other products and services — signing into the browser signs you into other Google platforms like Drive and Gmail. Plus it has exclusive features like the page translation option provided by Google Translate.

Amazon is likely to target something similar, because I doubt anybody at the company thought they could make a better-performing browser than the likes of Chrome and Firefox (which have been built upon decades of experience). This has to be about future research or integrations. 

The app may arrive in further markets in the coming months. In the meantime, if you’re in India and own a compatible device, check it out via the link below.

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