Android: Dolphin HD: Taking the built in browser up a notch with gestures, tabs, and even extensions

Mobile geeks love Google’s Android operating system because it allows you to tweak virtually everything you could imagine. From the home screen, to the SMS/MMS messaging system, you can make your Android device so unique that chances are no one will know how to even use your device. The folks at Ars.Technica recently reviewed “Dolphin HD”, a browser that uses Android’s built in WebKit rendering engine, but wraps a completely new user interface on top of it. One of the hit features is tabs, making it as easy to switch tabs with your mobile browser as it is with Chrome/Firefox/Opera or whatever it is you use. Next up is gestures. Tap a button on the lower left of the screen and then start drawing. You’ve got gestures for opening up new tabs, switching between tabs, going backwards, forwards, bookmarking things, and you can even program your own gestures to suit your taste.

The next feature, arguably a little controversial since it’s a direct rip off of Firefox Mobile, is the left and right hand sidebars. To access them you simply drag your finger to the edge of the page and then keep on dragging until the new UI pops up. With the left hand bar you can display bookmarks, your most commonly visited sites, or your site history. With the right hand bar you can manage extensions. Ars.Technica notes that there are very few extensions at the moment, but since this is a relatively new browser we’re sure that if it becomes popular with the geeks, a huge library of extensions will soon be built.

There’s no reason for you not to try this out. It’s free, and if you don’t like it … well, then use the stock Android browser or give Opera Mobile Beta a shot. Have all three installed and use them depending on your mood. Personally, on my Mac I’ve got at least 4 browsers installed, just because I can, and because I’ve got multiple GMail/Facebook/Twitter accounts.

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