Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Dolphin Browser HD listens, makes Webzine an optional plugin, and makes it easier to open links in a new tab

Dolphin Browser HD is probably the best web browser for Android. Its gesture control options are way better than what the competition has to offer, the bookmark sidebar works really well, and its extendability with plugins is pretty good too.

And the latest update makes it better.

The controversial Webzine feature has been pulled out of the main app, but if you really want to keep it you can add it back by installing the new Webzine add-on.

Two add-ons (the two most popular according to Dolphin) are now built into the browser, sort of. The web-to-PDF plugin and the screenshot add-on appear in the add-on sidebar, but you still have to download them if you want to use them. If you don't want them the placeholders stay in your add-on tab you're out of luck. There's no way to delete the dead shortcuts from your sidebar.

But maybe that will be fixed in a future update. After I complained about Dolphin's unencrypted backups they added encryption.

More good news: they finally got rid of the background tab popup. Now the menu that appears when you long-tap a link just gives you the two obvious choices (switch to new tab, or open it in the background) without the need for unchecking a "remember my choice" checkbox over and over again.

So yes, Dolphin listens.

It really listens now, because Dolphin added voice control too. You can navigate, search, and bookmark by shaking your phone and talking to your browser. It's an experimental feature that's really slow and fails often, but that may improve in future updates. If you don't want Dolphin to eavesdrop you can switch it off in the settings screen.

Minor annoyance fix: the sidebar sensitivity is reduced, so you no longer open them by accident when you just want to scroll horizontally in a web page.

Dolphin seems to learn from its mistakes, so I guess they managed to resist the temptation to reintroduce some sort of phone home behaviour. If not, I'm sure the Dolphin watchers in the xda forums will catch them soon enough.

Dolphin HD (Android Market)
Dolphin Mini (Android Market)

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