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Google Releases Chrome for Android or Should I say Chrome for the Galaxy Nexus?

08 February 20124 comments Android, inneractive, iPhone, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Industry

By: Hillel Fuld

It seems like it was just yesterday when we were talking about Google’s ongoing innovation and alleged lack of focus. Oh, wait.

Well, today’s news proves once again that the engineers over at Google believe sleep is for the weak.

Google released Chrome for Android. Of course, the new browser is in Beta, but initial reviews are in and they are great. Really great. Except, there is one slight problem.

As I was minding my own business browsing the What’s Hot section of Google+ earlier today, I stumbled upon the announcement that Chrome for Android is out. Well, what is a geek to do besides open up his Android Galaxy Tab and search for Chrome in the Android Market? And so I did.

Well, putting aside the fact that I was presented with many results that were clearly not what I was looking for, ¬†including themes, guides, and all sorts of other junk, the new Chrome browser was nowhere to be found. Well, of course it wasn’t. It is only available to devices running Ice Cream Sandwich, in selected countries, in selected languages. Wonderful…

Well, I am not going to discuss the much-talked-about Android fragmentation problem, I don’t have much to add to what has already been said. All I WILL say is this. While Android developers feel the pain caused by OS fragmentation, many Android fans have tried to convince me that it does not affect users. “No one cares if their phone is running Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, or Ice Cream Sandwich. That is geek talk only”.

Really? Well do you care when a new browser is released by Google that will significantly improve your Web-browsing experience but you can’t use it because your new shiny Android phone is running a version of Android that is two years old? Thought so…

Obviously, the new Chrome for Android will make its way to other devices in the coming weeks, but the fact that Google released a new browser to compete with its own Android browser, and it released it on one, maybe two devices (Nexus S also supports Ice Cream Sandwich), to very limited users, call me nuts, but I simply don’t get it.

Update: There are three Ice Cream Sandwich devices out there, or so I am told…

Anyway, watch Chrome for Android in action below.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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  1. Dan February 8, 2012

    Hillel – I think you really missed the mark on this one.

    First, there are more devices that the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus running ICS – the Asus Transformer Prime for one with more coming down the pipe in coming weeks.

    Second, this is a beta. As a beta it makes sense to limit the release. Releasing first to ICS and then, after getting feedback (and presumably making U/I modifications because of the drastically different U/Is between 2.x and 4.x) it will roll out to 2.x and 3.x devices as well.

    Regarding the limited country distribution – BFD. Anyone who is into Android and has a device running ICS will be able to install it either by downloading the APK and side-loading it (I'm sure XDA has the file available for download already) or by using Market Enabler to spoof being in once of the countries that is included. Anyone who can't/won't do one of those isn't going to try it as a beta anyway.

    This is not a matter of fragmentation but of a progressive roll-out of a new application in a controlled manner.

    • hilzfuld February 8, 2012

      Thanks Dan, valid points you made but I do think seeing as so few users have access to ICS, Google could have at least rolled out Chrome to Gingerbread as well. Having said that, if there was no such thing as Android fragmentation, there would be no frustration right now among users trying to get access to Chrome.

      • Dan February 8, 2012

        Hillel, we both live on the bleeding edge and, Android fanboy that I am, I am somewhat frustrated that I'm unable to load it onto my device. However, as a developer I understand that advantages of a limited roll-out. I also think that one of the things that Google might be trying to accomplish here is user pressure on the phone manufacturers to ramp-up upgraded firmware to ICS.

        • hilzfuld February 8, 2012

          Yes, but had Android not been so "Open", that would not have been a problem either and we would all be using ICS.


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