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article imageSamsung brings its Android web browser app to other phones

By James Walker     Jun 8, 2017 in Technology
Samsung has launched its own Android web browser app in the Google Play Store, bringing it to phones from other manufacturers. The previously Galaxy-exclusive app is based on the same core as Google Chrome and comes with privacy-focused features.
Samsung has included its own "Internet Browser" app on its Galaxy phones for years. This week, it released the app to the Play Store in beta form. It is currently listed as "Samsung Internet Browser."
Android Headlines reports that the app is still "optimized" for Galaxy phones. It is now available on some other Android handsets though, expanding the choice of web browsers available in the store. Most of its features are said to be working but some areas closely integrated with Samsung's TouchWiz UI on Galaxy devices could be buggy.
Internet Browser is based on the Chromium open-source browser framework so web pages will render the same as in Google Chrome. As a modern mobile browser, it supports all the core features you'd expect, including tabbed browsing and address bar searching. There's also several unique capabilities you won't find in Chrome though, including comprehensive privacy options.
When you first install the app, the search engine will be set to DuckDuckGo to minimise tracking and data collection. The browser supports third-party blocking solutions too, letting you resist being tracked online. There's a special interface that shows you content that's being blocked.
Unlike Chrome, Samsung Internet Browser also has a limited selection of third-party Extensions. These work in the same way as extensions on desktop web browsers, letting you expand the available features, change the rendering of pages and even install ad-blockers.
The app has a floating "Quick Menu" option that lets you pin common menu functions to the browser. The widget can be used to quickly manage tabs and share content without having to reach for the main browser menu. It improves usability on large-screen devices by putting the controls at your literal fingertips.
As mobile web browsers come, Samsung Internet Browser is one of the most feature-complete available. With exclusive features that not even Chrome can claim, it's likely Samsung is giving the app a wider Play Store release to demonstrate to users the value that the app has to offer.
While predominantly a Galaxy-focused app, it's unlikely anyone will buy a Samsung handset based on the web browser it includes. Samsung can better expose its brand and attract user reviews by bringing the app to the Play Store instead.
You can download Samsung Internet Browser today but there are restrictive limitations over the devices that are supported. For unknown reasons, Samsung only officially allows installation Google Pixel handsets, aside from its own Galaxy line-up. Despite this, Android Police reported success in installing the app on Huawei's Ascend Mate 2, although this may be a strange edge case.
More about Samsung, Android, samsung galaxy, Web browsers, Apps
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