We have been hearing about Chrome browser coming to Android devices from quite some time now, and this rumor was confirmed when Rusell Holly from Geek.com confirmed that he had caught Chrome for Android in action at CES and it will be coming soon, when I read the article by Russell I never thought that Chrome will come to Android these soon. Well, the day has come! Chrome for Android has finally been released for all the devices running Android 4.0 and above, but currently it is only available for users in the U.S, though all the people in other countries can download it too, but I will come to it in the end of this post.

Look and Feel

I would just go ahead and tel that Chrome for Android is the best android application I have ever used even though it is not out of beta yet. The browser looks nothing like the stock android browser, it is way more polished and uses hardware accelerated graphics. Chrome also uses the swipe and flick gestures which have been extensively used in Android 4.0 lately. The options are also comfortably placed, you can find the refresh button in the URL  address bar itself, just beside it you can fond the tabs option and besides it you can find the settings option, the layout looks similar to the stock Android 4.0 browser but the design is totally different.

Also once you open the settings option you can find a the forward and back arrows to easily navigate. Also unlike in the stock browser, the top bar does not vanish when you scroll down, it is present all the time. This is by far the smoothest application on Android, you will come to know about this as soon as you press the tabs option. Google has said that they have designed the tabs in the form of cards, a user while using the tabs should feel like shuffling cards, and it really does feel like it. You can just flick these tabs to close it and if you are in the browser reading mode then just swipe it to change the tab, this is mainly where the hardware acceleration comes into play.

It is real fun to play with the tabs, but this card format is only for the mobile phones, for tablets they have a desktop chrome style tabs, but I was unable to look more deeply into it as my Transformer is still to receive the  Android 4.0 upgrade.


Most people when it comes to browsers don’t really care about how it looks or works, performance is the only thing which matters. One of the main reasons why Opera Mobile is such a big hit. Well for all the people who would like a fast browser, your search is over, Chrome for Android is really really fast! Hell I even replaced my stock Android 4.0 browser with Chrome, and the stock browser is not that bad either. I know that me saying about how fast it is will not really prove anything so I went ahead and performed a couple of tests which proves how awesome the Chrome browser is.

The first one is the Sunspider Javascript benchmark, here I have performed this test on two other browsers, Safari browser on iPhone 4 running iOS 5, stock Android 4.0 browser and Chrome for Android.


According to the images above you can clearly see that Chrome for Android scores 1952 and the stock Android 4.0 browser scores 1926 which is almost the same,  actually the stock Android browser score is better but we should also note that Chrome is still in beta. When compared to Safari browser, apple is way behind Chrome with a score of 3554 (Lower is better). The only browser with a better javascript performance than Chrome is Firefox but again firefox has been there for quite some time now and Chrome is still new. Also a test performed by Anandtech on Android 4.0.4 Verizon Galaxy Nexus shows that the stock Android browser outperform Chrome when it comes to Java script benchmark.

The second test is the HTML 5 test, and I have also compared the score with a number of other browsers.

We can clearly see that Chrome is way ahead of other browsers when it comes to HTML 5 performance, actually it is using the latest webkit version,  535.7, which is the same version used in the stable Chrome browser in desktop.


Chrome for Android comes with a long list of features set, one of the most important feature is that you no more need Chrome to phone application which I used to use a lot, Chrome brings desktop integration and you can now directly open the web pages or tabs open in your desktop browser directly in Chrome for Android.

There are also many developer tools available like Tilt scrolling, USB web debugging. Other features are bandwidth management, were you can set whether to pre-load web pages when on WiFi or always pre-load. Another feature I cam across accidently is that you can zoom into links, consider there are multiple links in a small place and when you long press then it shows you a zoom window which help you make a better selection of the links, this feature is quite handy actually. It also has the standard features like Autofill, saving passwords, you can also share the page you are viewing directly from the browser by just opening the settings option and selecting share, another small feature is the find on page option.

Chrome for Android also brings Incognito mode, which you must be aware f if you use the desktop version of the browser. With incognito mode you can browse safely without any data being saved in the history or cache being saved. Pretty useful when you are using your credit card, etc.


Android Open Source Project is a huge concern for many people, because in the future, Chrome will be a part of the Gapps package provided by Google and Chrome will replace the stock Android browser, what this means is that Manufacturers will not be able to use Chrome browser for their devices, and it will also be taken out of the Android market by then. Which means that Chrome won’t be packaged with the Android Open Source Project, this means that CyanogeMod won’t be able to include the browser in their ROMs too, but just a while back Google said that Chromium, the open source counterpart so everything is fine and just like Chromium is used in Linux distros, it will be used in all the ROMs and by third party manufacturers.

No Adobe Flash?

From the time Chrome for Android was released, people have been complaining about no flash support for the browser, yes this is true, Chrome for Android does not support flash, actually Adobe just gave a statement saying that they will no longer be supporting any mobile browser with Flash, so to some people this might be bad news that Chrome will never ever support flash. Is it really bad is the question, and according to me, no. Flash is dying a slow death, soon everything will be on HTML 5 and I think people should not worry about Flash not being supported by Chrome and move on.

What’s Missing?

Apart from Flash there are something missing which is also available in the stock Android browser, but considering that this is just a beta, we can expect them to come in the future. There is no UA string modification, this is a must have feature for any browser out there, in the stock Android 4.0 browser they had an option to force desktop layout, but it is surprisingly missing in Chrome, but I hope they are working on it and will bring the feature pretty soon. This is alright when considering the mobile phhones but becomes an issue wen using a tablet, and to my surprise there is no about:debug mode present either, really sad. Another thing missing is that you can’t save web pages to read later even when you don’t have net connectivity, I will really miss these feature from the stock browser, but again this is just a beta. Also we are missing the quick controls from Android stock browser.


Chrome is pretty much the best looking browser and also the best performing browser, but feature wise it is not up to the mark, but we really hope this changes soon, also lack of plugins is a matter of concern, I really hope Chrome introduces plugins like in Dolphin HD. Well, if browser is a main part of your mobile life then this is a must download, but it is always safe to keep another browser, mainly stock browser handy for some features.


For all readers in the U.S you can download Chrome from the Android market here

For all readers outside the U.S you can download the direct .apk from here and install it using a file manager. (Thanks to Androidpolice)

Note: This application only runs on Android 4.0 and above, it does not even run on Android 3.0 or 3.2.