ANDROID USERS can choose from two beta web browser apps from today, Chrome or Firefox, with both offering significant changes.
The native Google Chrome Beta reached version 37.0.2062.39 and has adopted the first hints of the Material design theme that is central to the upcoming Android L. Additionally, sign-in across Google apps has been simplified so that once a user is signed in on Chrome, they will be signed in across Maps, Mail, Youtube, Blogger and so on.
The beta, which can be run concurrently with the stable version, is available now from the Google Play store.
The Firefox for Android Beta has introduced advanced personalisation options allowing users to customise the new tab page with a range of services from providers including Instagram, Pocket and Wikipedia.
The result is something akin to HTC's Blinkfeed aggregator, with panels that can be added, removed, customised or removed altogether. Extra panels can be downloaded from the add-ons website and new ones can be created thanks to a new set of APIs available to developers to do just that.
Also new is the ability to switch between 54 languages seamlessly, regardless of the location and settings of your device. Early adopters can download an .apk file of Firefox for Android Betafor sideloading, while the stable version remains available from the Google Play store.
The mobile web browser battle is just one element as the two companies shape up for an operating system face-off. Firefox OS devices are due for release soon, with Google's Android L expected to land before Christmas. µ