Google updates Chrome for Android, it still needs Ice Cream Sandwich to run

Less than 3% of all the Android devices on the market run Ice Cream Sandwich. Those few and privileged people have access to what is perhaps the best Android app currently out there: Chrome. That’s right, Google ported their Chrome web browser to Android, but instead of building it into the OS, they made it a separate download. Why? Some are speculating that Google is using Chrome to force handset makers to comply with their rules so that they get access to the Android Market. That’s just speculation though, and we’ll likely never find out the true reason. Anyway, today Google has announced that there’s an update to Chrome for Android. New features include the ability to request the desktop version of a website, the ability to make a bookmark shortcut on your homescreen, you’ll be able to pick which apps get opened up when you click on a specially formatted link, such as an email address, and best of all there’s now support for over 30 new languages.

Who would have guessed, the best competitor to Android’s stock browser was made by Google themselves! We’ve been cheering Opera on for years, but for some strange reason they haven’t been getting a lot of love. Readers in India, China, Brazil, and countries where mobile data is expensive, should check out Opera because it has a “Turbo Mode” that compresses a website by as much as 90%. How? The site you request is rendered on a server farm, it then gets squeezed down, and finally Opera spits it back to your phone. It’s especially useful if you’re on an EDGE connection.

But back to the question we posed earlier, why didn’t Google simply rebrand the stock Android browser to Chrome and call it a day? Something tells us that the search giant has plans to bring their browser to other platforms, though we can’t think of another smartphone OS that allows for alternative browsers that use completely different rendering engines.

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