iDroid Mini Browser could pose future threat to Safari, but isn’t there yet

Feb 9, 2010
Tech

To say that the new Android app iDroid Mini Browser blows Safari out of the water would be an overstatement, at least at this point in time. However, future updates, coupled with iDroid’s well-designed UI, could mean trouble for Apple’s native browser down the road. Upon launch, the iDroid Mini Browser displays nine boxes that can be […]

To say that the new Android app iDroid Mini Browser blows Safari out of the water would be an overstatement, at least at this point in time. However, future updates, coupled with iDroid’s well-designed UI, could mean trouble for Apple’s native browser down the road.

Upon launch, the iDroid Mini Browser displays nine boxes that can be customized with shortcuts to often-visited sites, making for quick access. In addition to these favorites, users can also bookmark sites, which can be accessed via the “eject”-style corner button (here, you’ll also find your forward and back arrows, a close tab function and a find text tool). iDroid features four bottom tabs for simultaneous loading, each equipped with a green light—blinking means the page is loading, solid indicates it has finished. Holding a tab pops up a thumbnail image of the loading site.

To be a serious competitor with Safari, iDroid still has some work to do. First, the Android app needs to gain the ability to save opened links when the app is closed. Second, iDroid needs to find a way to become a true tabbed browser, meaning that links can be opened in new tabs and that more than four tabs are available in the first place. Turning your device flips the browser into full-screen landscape mode, but a bug leaves the vertical scroll bar in the center of the screen, rather than to the side.

iDroid Mini Browser offers smart URL, but I found that this feature made the Android app extremely slow to recognize my typing (I can only assume that this feature runs smoothly on iPhone 3GS). After turning off the option, I saw a significant increase in speed. I also opted to turn off the URL keyboard, which allowed me to use the address bar as a search bar—entering a word automatically launched a Google search.

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No, iDroid Mini Browser isn’t perfect, but I’ll be waiting to see what the developer does next.

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