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Top alternative browsers for Android devices

by Kristen Nicole

Mobile browsing is taking over the smartphone experience, improving with every rendition of Android's software. Good thing, as mobile browsing is becoming more prevalent than mobile app use. As various browser makers fight to own the mobile space, we’ve had the opportunity to experiment with alternatives to the stock browser that came with your Android device.

Media rich

Dolphin has offered a pretty good Android web browser for a while now, and it often adds more apps to its repertoire. The latest addition is an HD browser, ideal for viewing video content on the web. The free app also has some new features, including page management in the address bar, and bookmarks folder support.

Opera is another company that's been actively developing for Android. The Opera Mini Browser is designed for media consumption, with integrated data compression to load web pages quickly. Opera Mini Browser is free, and it works on all Android devices.

Another media-centric browser is Skyfire, with Flash support and recommendations for similar content. The free Android browser comes with multiple views, and it runs quite well on Froyo 2.2. With sharing mechanisms included in the browser, Skyfire also makes it drop-dead simple to share web content.

Form & function

Mozilla is nearing a full Android release with its beta app. Working on the same platform as its desktop counterpart, the Firefox 4 beta offers an optimized, cross-device experience. It's also the first mobile browser with add-ons, a personalized start page and a plethora of custom features to make mobile browsing what you want.

The Xscope Android browser is aimed at easing navigation on your mobile device, with a number of options for zooming, double-tapping, and swiping through the web. It's got easy sharing and bookmarking, text search, integrated screen captures and copy functions for text and URLs. It also offers easily accessible downloads, tasks and settings. The full version costs $2.99, with a version for older devices for $0.99.