When it comes to web browsing, the first names that come into our mind are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and for some – Safari. There are other names in the browser industry but their share is much lower. Now that we have more and more smartphones and tablets, it’s obvious that the mobile browsers will play a more important role in the web reshaping. Smartphones and tablets are getting more and more versatile, trying to deliver information as comfortable as possible.
You have to agree that sitting on your couch, with your smartphone or tablet in hand and surfing online is much more pleasant than doing the same in front of your day-to-day computer. You need a mobile browser for your device because it will display pages to fit your screen and will also load pages that are rich in web elements much faster than a default browser; as that one obviously “burns” more resources, thus making the response time much slower.
What we want from our mobile browser is for it to be fast and render the content that we want at a good quality. The majority of mobile browsers are optimized for a specific operating system. For example, Safari is obviously optimized for the iOS while Opera Mini works well for most smartphone types and even feature phones.
What you should look for when searching for a good mobile browser is the ability to zoom the page fast and to maintain a good quality. But don’t worry, your smartphone will have an inbuilt browser that could work quite well. But if you need further diversification, then you should check out the list.
Best Mobile Browsers
1. Opera Mini, Opera Mobile
Opera Mini is probably the first browser that “conquered” so many mobile devices. It started 15 years ago, in 1996 but was officially launched worldwide on January 24, 2000. At this moment, Opera Mini is the most used mobile browser in the world, with 100 million users and 2 billion daily page views.
The difference between Opera Mini and Opera Mobile is the fact that the Mini version compresses downloads to offer a faster response time. Right now, Opera Mini is a native application for Android, iOS, Symbian OS, and Windows Mobile.
You probably know that Safari is the browser built by Apple mainly for their own products: iPod, iPhone, iMac and iPad and the laptop series. As Apple grew bigger and bigger, obviously, Safari’s share increased as well. If you’re really interested to see its features, you should really check out this page and I am sure you will be pretty impressed, even more if you have an Apple product and you didn’t know what Safari’s features are.
A recent report from TUAW says that Safari is the absolute leader in the US mobile browser share, with more than 50%. Since Safari is made by Apple mainly for their own products, there aren’t too many differences between the desktop and the mobile version, as it would be the case with Opera.
3. Android Browser
The Android Browser is the inbuilt browser for all smartphones that have the Android ecosystem. When the Android OS was released, it was believed that Google will fuel smartphone makers with it in their war against Apple. Thus, Google would have more resources to allocate to the software part, delivering a perfect weapon for Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and others. Everything changed, however, when Google decided to buy Motorola, entering the aggressive mobile hardware sector.
As far as it concerns the Android browser share, it’s obviously going to increase as well. While the Android browser is inbuilt in all the Android smartphones, there are enough who will change their minds and decide to choose other browsers that we will enlist below as well. The fact that Google will make the software and the hardware for their smartphones (as Apple does) will make them appear more strong-minded to consumers and they will gain in confidence and will stick with the Android Browser.
1. Firefox’s Fennec, Minimo
Firefox has built a name for Mozilla in the browser industry thanks to the security of the connections and safe online browsing. That’s why the browser is preferred by IT specialists, first of all. Many complained that it was a bit slow so that’s why when Chrome was released, Firefox’s share had significantly decreased. Minimo is still being used, but it is just in the project phase.
Minimo is the underlying structure for the creation of Mozilla’s mobile browser, codenamed Fennec. The latest version dates from this summer and it is being updated simultaneously with the main version.
This is a mobile browser built by Skyfire Labs and its single purpose is the mobile use. There is no desktop version of Skyfire. It has a beautiful name, we all must agree with that; and the marketing team has done a great thing as their symbol is pretty neat. Skyfire is somehow similar to the way Opera Mini works because it also renders the page on a separate server than the one where the page is held.
However, Skyfire use another method for rendering content – the web page is being displayed in the traditional way besides the videos which are streamed from the Skyfire’s servers. Try for yourself and compare which browsers loads video much faster; maybe Skyfire could win your heart.
3. UC Web Browser
UCWeb works exactly as Opera Mini does, as we explained before: it renders the content on their own servers, delivering the needed information much faster and not so dependent on your connection speed. On their website , you’ll find that UC Web Browser has already 200+ million users and it is considered world’s largest mobile internet browser application.
You can download the latest version here. The mobile browser seems to be pretty versatile and it works on the following platforms:
- Windows Mobile
Coming From Behind
You may wonder why I didn’t include Symbian browser, Internet Explorer Mobile, Nokia or the BlackBerry browser? Blame me as much as you want, but I really don’t see them competing with the above programs. I’d give another chance for Internet Explorer because Microsoft did a pretty good job (finally) with their latest version for desktop. As for Symbian, we know that it’s a dying OS, so why rate it, anyway? BlackBerry fans, don’t get angry, but we all know that Research In Motion targets the business field and the BlackBerry browser is really just a default specification.
There are many other mobile browsers that I have personally tested and I was quite pleased by many. Presenting below a list of exotic names that you should check out.
1. Bitstream BOLT