Feb 07, 2012

What took so long for Chrome to come to Android?

I use the stock Android browser, and have for, well, years now. It's ok, but I sure prefer the Chrome browser that I'm using on my laptop. New today including the tidbit that Chrome (by Google) is finally coming the Android (by Google). The beta version was just released in the Android Market, unfortunately limited only to those Android users with ICS. This seems like something that would have taken place, oh I don't know, years ago. What took so long, and will this be enough to shake up the smartphone market that has the iPhone 4S as its current aspirational device?

One thing to keep in mind is that the Chrome browser really didn't take off until fairly recently. It's only been a year or so that Chrome has truly become a major player in the browser market. It existed prior to that, but was not really widely adopted, and Chrome still remains disproportionately popular among more "tech savvy" users than the wider public. As a result, I don't think that there was really a strong demand by most consumers for Chrome per se. Also, although it can be really difficult to remember this, smartphones have only been around for a few years. The first iPhone was released a little over four years ago. Android 1.0 was only released in October 2008, three years and change ago, with the HTC Dream. Think of the hardware limitations that browser development had to take in to consideration, and it isn't surprising that a browser equal to that on a laptop or PC has taken a couple of years to arrive.
I doubt it will affect the smartphone market. A browser of one kind or another just isn't all that earth shattering.

However, I admit that I'd love to have Chrome on my iPhone/iPad. Safari is okay, but I have always liked Chrome better and I use it on my Macs.

Why did it take so long to hit Android? I really do not know. It seems odd given that it's Google's browser. But let's face it, Google is a HUGE company now. And big companies often do not have any real sense of planning or coherence when it comes to these kinds of integration decisions. Chrome really should have been available the moment Android was released.

Better late than never, I guess.
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