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The good and bad of Android browsers

by Kristen Nicole

Instant “on”

Google Instant has been updated for Android, banking big on HTML5. The new search feature offers instant predictions on your queries, shaving even more milliseconds off the time it takes you to get the results you’re looking for. In line with Google Instant’s iPhone release, the updated Android tool is clearly one Google’s (GOOG) heavily vested in.

Firefox 4 Beta gets speedy

Mozilla has released the latest version of Firefox 4 Beta for Android, bringing more speed and an updated look to the mobile browser. Firefox has also improved the way it handles add-ons, making the mobile browser more inviting to developers.

To bring faster page loads and smoother panning and zooming, Mozilla has made a few tweaks that are especially effective on Android 2.2. An improved interface makes for easier navigation, with accessible sharing buttons, the option to re-open a closed tab, and better bookmark organization.

WebKit attack vulnerability

Mobile browsing can still be dangerous for some Android users, however. M.J. Keith, a security researcher with Alert Logic, has uncovered a WebKit browser bug. The issue lies in its vulnerability to give a web attacker full access to an Android’s SD card, and can take browsing history data, photos and more.

According to ComputerWorld, Google is aware of the WebKit weak spot, and notes that the issue does not affect Android 2.2 or later versions. The situation merely highlights the roadblocks Android’s fragmentation can cause, for better or worse.