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How to use the Google Docs Research tool on Android

Google

Google just added a new Research tool to its Docs app on Android. The new tool will allow you to place quotes or images in your documents without leaving the app. This is very handy if you’re working on a longer research project, a party invitation, or a worksheet for students. Here’s how to use the new tool:

Tap on the menu (three dots) in the upper right hand corner and choose the Research option. You will see Google Search load within the Docs app.Google Docs Research tool pulling a quote on Android. Nicole Cozma/CNET Search the Web within the app for your subject. Web and Image results are divided by tabs along the top.For quotes, press and hold on text as you would when copying it in another app. For images just tap on the one you want to use.The Insert button will appear in the top right of the research pane to place the quote or image in your document.

Quotes and images will appear in your document at your cursor’s current location.

While this process is similar to copy and paste, it’s a bit more streamlined since you don’t have to leave the app to grab a quote or image. Perhaps Google could integrate this functionality with Google Books as one of the research tools in the future.

What do you think of the new research tool? What would you like to see added? Add your thoughts in the comments.

For more information on recent updates to Google Docs on the Web, check out Google courts classrooms with updates to Docs, spreadsheets by CNET’s Rich Nieva.

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Five free encryption apps to help secure your Android device

Do your hats tend to fall into the tinfoil range? Are you afraid there is always somebody watching you? If so, rest assured that the Android ecosystem offers plenty of apps to soothe your paranoia. But which apps are the must-haves? Here are five apps you should immediately install and put to work. They’ll bring you peace in the knowledge that your mobile data is far more secure than those around you.

Note: This gallery is also available as an article.

Image: iStockphoto.com/Pepgooner

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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Why Android Auto may not be worth the wait (yet)

The battlefront for mobile platforms is hitting the road, literally.

Later this year, vehicles from more than two dozen brands will offer in-car systems built on both Android and iOS. One car, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, already has Android Auto as an option and Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo took it for a test drive.

The early verdict? Nicer than the standard car-maker’s info-tainment system but still very much a beta experience and very limited, suggesting Google has work to do yet.

For starters, it might surprise you that the implementation found on the Sonata is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread software. Google launched Gingerbread in December 2010, so it’s fairly limited compared to the latest and greatest version of Android.

How so? Amadeo notes that this version of Android Auto only supports screen resolutions of 800 x 480, for example, making it feel like “a crappy 2011 Android tablet.” Voice control doesn’t yet sound as good as it is on handsets either.

The interface is also limited, but that’s by design. Google isn’t yet allowing any phone app to work with the in-car system. At the moment, only 17 Play Store apps are compatible with Android Auto and they’re based on messaging and media activities.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. From a safety perspective, you really don’t want immersive experiences on the dashboard when you’re driving. Media apps such as Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Google Play Music and the like make sense here.

Personally, I’m not too keen on the supported messaging apps. Do we need Skype, WhatsApp, and Google Hangouts to take our attention away from the road? Google must think so because they — and many other similar apps — are on the supported app list. Even there, there’s work to be done though, according to Amadeo.

Incoming texts are read aloud by Android Auto but without any context:

“It’s also hard to not feel like an idiot when you tap on a message and get “New Message: OK.”–we really can’t see text even for really short messages? And remember, with no text, there’s no message history and no context. So when you get that inevitable “OK” message, you’d better remember what your last conversation with that person was about.”

And you’d better hope nobody sends you a text message with a link while you’re driving. The system will read the link aloud character by character.

On the plus side, key functionality such as Maps works as well as you’d expect, and it adds a satellite view while driving; something Maps on a phone doesn’t offer to those who want it.

Even so, Android Auto still sounds like a very limited, version 1.0 software product.

Will it get better over time? Very likely, yes, as Google removes some developer limitations — apps can only focus on messages and media for now — and as the platform matures.

Much of that maturity can come in the form of software updates; good since software can be changed far faster than hardware in vehicles that have a yearly refresh cycle. Even so, based on the early look, it sounds like you’re betting on the future of Android Auto now rather than getting a compelling experience on day one.

Don’t forget also that the phone you connect to the car for Android Auto requires Android 5.0 software or better; if you don’t have one, your Android Auto experience will stall out before you even start the car.

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Google patents smart watch with flip-up display that could reveal everyday objects’ secrets

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Google patents smartwatch

It looks like Google has considered transferring ideas from Project Glass over to your wrist by patenting a smart watch with a transparent, flip-up touchscreen. If such a device ever came off the USPTO papers, it would present notifications and other info transmitted from your smartphone at a glance, like many,many others now on the market. However, Mountain View’s added a new twist when you’d flip up its bezel — at that point, it’s claimed that the watch could channel a plethora of other Google apps, like Gmail, Goggles, and Maps. Of course, you’d be able to privately view messages inside the bezel, but since the display would also be transparent, you could see through it to landmarks or object around you. According to the patent, you could then be given directions based on GPS coordinates and the buildings “seen” by the watch, while a Goggles-like implementation would be able to identify smaller items in the display. That would let the search giant throw ads or other data about the product your way, giving you the info you need to snap it up — and likely not hurting Google’s bottom line.

Alibaba: Google just plain wrong about our OS

The Chinese search giant says Google is “just speculating” about its Aliyun operating system, and insists it’s different than Android.

Chinese search giant Alibaba is disputing Google’s claim that Alibaba’s new Aliyun operating system is a forked and incompatible version of Android and thus can’t be used by phone maker Acer.

In a blog post yesterday, Google’s Andy Rubin said “the Aliyun OS incorporates the Android runtime and was apparently derived from Android.”

CNET asked Alibaba’s John Spelich about Rubin’s/Google’s claims and about whether there are elements of Android in Aliyun, and here’s what we got in response: “They have no idea and are just speculating. Aliyun is different.”

Google took some heat earlier this week for seemingly using its clout to squash a burgeoning mobile OS. Alibaba, an e-commerce company, is known as the Google of China, and wanted to follow Google’s playbook and build its own OS. Acer was set to include the OS in a handset, but those plans were apparently scuttled by Google, which said that while Alibaba built its own OS, it lifted elements of Android.

But Spelich told CNET in an e-mail that Aliyun is “not a fork. Ours is built on open-source Linux.” And he added that Aliyun “has our own applications. [It’s] designed to run cloud apps designed in our own ecosystem. [It] can run some but not all Android apps.”

He also accused the Android ecosystem of being closed and restrictive:

Aliyun is an open-source based OS that is also an open ecosystem that allows others to host their mobile-enabled Web sites in our cloud and we make those Web sites available to users who use Aliyun OS phones. So we are an ecosystem that includes other Internet companies, whereas Android does not because it provides apps through downloads. It’s the crux of the whole cloud vs. app debate. Cloud is open, apps system is closed because it is controlled by the operator of the apps marketplace. So you see: Two competing ecosystems, one that’s open through the cloud, the other is closed and restricts users to only the apps that they want you to see.

Alibaba accused Google on Thursday of forcing Acer to drop its support of Aliyun. Acer had originally scheduled a press conference that day to show off the first Aliyun-powered smartphone but was told by Google that the Android maker would cease providing its support if Acer followed through. As a result, the conference was halted.

Alibaba cried foul. “Our partner was notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner,” Alibaba said in a statement e-mailed to CNET on Thursday.

The accusation prompted Rubin to call out Aliyun as a forked version of Android that’s modified to the extent that it’s incompatible with other Android devices. As a member of the Open Handset Alliance, Acer is forbidden from using such an operating system, he said.

“Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers, and consumers,” Google said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “Noncompatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem.”

Alibaba: Google just plain wrong about our OS   

 

10 back-to-school mobile apps for university students

CBC News asks three app developers who are students themselves to recommend their favourite apps for school.

by David Thurton

With thousands of apps out there that students can download, which ones are the best for students?

With thousands of apps out there that students can download, which ones are the best for students?

Many students are heading back to school with smartphones and tablets in their backpacks, and there’s a host of free and low-cost apps out there that can make these gadgets even more useful for scholars who want to stay on top of their studies.

To sift through all these apps, CBC News spoke with three app developers who are students themselves and asked for their recommendations about software that can help people succeed in school:

  • Brennan McEachran is a fourth year commerce student at Ryerson University and is the CEO of Hit Send, a technology startup incubated in Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone that creates web applications for companies.
  • Hannah Mittelstaedt is a fourth year computer science from the University of Toronto. She has developed a number of mobile applications, including SoFit, a fitness app with a social media component.
  • Ben Docksteader is in his final year at the University of Prince Edward Island. He has created several apps, including Domain Hole that helps people find domain names. He is currently working on a medical application for stroke patients called StrokeLink.

Here are their top recommendations.

Quora

Price: Free

Quora

Website: http://www.quora.com/

Platform: Android & iPhone

A social media app, Quora is still building an audience. McEachran said what’s really neat about this app is that the users can pose questions to a core group of people who are knowledgeable about certain topics, and receive answers. McEachran said students can use this as a first-hand source for research projects.

“There’s a huge knowledge database. And it’s not like a boring library version,” McEachran said. “It’s a social collaborative community of questions and answers. And you can get some really insightful research.”

WolframAlpha

Price: $1.99

WolframAlpha

Website: http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Platform: iPhone

For students on tight deadlines looking for a quick statistic for essay or research, this app is another good place to start, McEachran said. Type in a question, and WolframAlpha can often provide the answer.

“Things like, ‘What the life expectancy of a 21 year-old male in the city?'” said McEachran, “And it will give you sources for that.”

Do

Price: Free

Do

Website:https://do.com/

Platforms: Android & iPhone

When it comes to organizational apps, there are so many to choose from. But this app that Docksteader recommends allows users to organize and set up their own or shared profile that allows students who are working on group projects or planning events to create lists, calendars, send files and even chat in the same app. It also syncs everything online at do.com.

“It’s not convoluted like a lot other platforms,” Docksteader said.

SpringPad

Price: Free

SpringPad

Website: http://springpad.com

Platforms: Android & iPhone

An organizational app that Mittelstaedt finds useful is SpringPad. But the app does much more than let you jot down ideas — it can save articles, record voice memos, allow users to snap photos and take note of their exact location at the time, and more.

“It’s a way to jot down a note and it just syncs it with your account,” Mittelstaedt said, “I use it at work when we have meetings.”

It also has commerce-related features that can enhance your notes with extra information, such as links to reviews and nearby theatres related to a notation you make about a specific movie.

Google Drive

Price: Free

Google Drive

Website: https://drive.google.com 

Platforms: Android & iPhone

Mittelstaedt doesn’t use a native word processor anymore, she uses Google Drive. The app launched recently by Google integrates storage and its Google docs cloud-based word processor.

Hannah uses the app save documents for school and it automatically syncs on her computer, in her online account and on her smart phone.

“With Google drive everything is just there. I even have the Google drive app on my phone.”

Prey Anti-Theft

Price: Free

Prey

Website: http://preyproject.com/

Platforms: Android & iPhone

At some schools, theft is a problem. Just in case that happens, McEachran recommends that students download the Prey Anti-Theft app and software on their smartphone or tablet (it’s also available for laptops).

The app allows users to track the whereabouts of a person’s device if it goes missing. It can also monitor who’s using the device by quietly snapping photos if the phone or laptop has a front camera, and can then send these details to the rightful owner. The app can even remotely command the device to issue an alarm or message notifying thieves that the device is being tracked.

“You don’t have to lose that two grand that you just spent [on a laptop],” McEachran said.

Spenz

Price: Free

Spenz

Website: http://spenz.com/

Platforms: iPhone

McEachran said that many banking apps don’t cut it when it comes to helping students plan their finances. But the fourth-year commerce student recommends Spenz, an app his colleagues designed at Ryerson and that encourages budgeting by asking users to log everything they spend daily.

It also gives people the option of adding their banking information through a twice-over encrypted connection.

“It kind of gives you extra incentive to pick up the cheaper thing and save an extra dollar, and go to Tim’s instead of Starbucks,” McEachran said.

Twitter

Price: Free

Twitter

Website: https://twitter.com/

Platforms: Android & iPhone

Twitter is a common app, but McEachran said students often overlook a really handy way of using it. He recommends that one of the most productive things university students can do is use their Twitter accounts to follow university staff and campus organizations.

Universities and colleges can be huge places and it’s easy for students to feel out of the loop, so he said he uses Twitter to get information that may not be readily available to students any other way.

“There’s a lot of inside tips that can save you a lot of time during your day if you pay attention to them,” McEachran said. That goes for things like finding classes and getting study tips, but he adds that another bonus is that when you’re in the campus loop, “You know where the free pizza is going to be.”

Penyo Pal

Price: Free

Penyopal

Website: http://penyopal.com

Platforms: Android & iPhone

Penyo Pal is a language app mainly developed for kids, but Docksteader said high school students and university students can use it too. It’s a quick and fun way to learn a little more about another language. So far the app is available in Mandarin and French.

“It’s cool because it’s not just a game, but it helps you learn,” said Docksteader. “Languages are the future.”

Flow free

Price: Free

Flowfree

Website: http://app.net/flowfree

Platforms: Android & iPhone

While there are apps for organizing your life and researching information, there are also apps that can help students unwind after a tough class. An entertaining app worth a download is Free Flow, Mittelstaedt said. The goal is simple – to get the highest score you have connect the dots with the fewest moves and mistakes.

“You have to connect these dots to fill a screen but it’s kind of addictive,” Mittelstaedt said.

Anti-distraction apps

There are a number of apps designed specifically to help people avoid distractions and concentrate on their work:

  • Anti-social: When it’s running, this Mac OS X app blocks access to social media sites, and any other sites you choose. Once activated, you’ll have to reboot your computer to unblock the sites. (Free trial, $15 to register it.)
  • LeechBlock: This Firefox add-on is designed to “block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day,” according to its website. You can choose what to block, and at what time of day. (Free.)
  • WAYD: WAYD is a program that sits in the Windows tray, waiting. After a set amount of time it will ask you: “What are you doing?,” using a big window that covers your entire screen. It’s designed to guilt you into concentrating on your work. (Free.) Alternatives include RescueTime(lite version is free, pro version is $6 a month),Klok (free trial, $15.99 to register), Slife (free) andManicTime (free).
  • Blinders: The Mac-based WriteRoom (free) and its Windows counterpart, Dark Room(free), promise “distraction-free writing” by paring your screen down to one function: Writing.
  • Pomodoro timers: A simple, effective time management technique: Choose a task to be accomplished and set the Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer). Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper. Take a short break. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break. There are lots of downloablepomodoro timers.

10 back-to-school mobile apps for university students

 

5 reasons Google will rule small tablets

The Android maker is poised to dominate smaller tablets. Here’s why.

Apple — with its maket-leading gadgets and astounding market cap — may appear to rule tech. But there is one category in which it is not setting the pace: mini-tablets. Rumors of a tablet smaller than the iPad abound, but so far nada. Why would Apple even delve into the category when the iPad trounces every other tablet out there? There’s a market for a smaller form factor. Amazon’s spartan, $200 Kindle Fire sold well last holiday shopping season for instance.

Google’s Nexus 7 really shows the potential of the segment, however. Analysts and reviewers have characterized it as the product to put out the Kindle’s flame. Until recently, Google has been developing its mobile operating system for phones and tablets used by Samsung, Asus, HTC, Amazon and many others. With a direct-to-consumers model, Google wants a piece of the content consumption market via its own media store, Google Play. Question is, can the Nexus 7 eclipse the Kindle Fire and compete with whatever Apple may unveil in the coming months?

The Price

The Price

At $199 for the 8GB model, $249 for 16 GB, the Nexus 7 should be very attractive. In a weak economy, there is real demand for a lower priced device that can be easily held in one hand. Can you browse, shop, read, watch videos, movies, TV shows and play games on the Nexus 7? Yes, you can, and it puts the Kindle Fire to shame says virtually every tablet reviewer and analyst out there. Where Apple prices its smaller iPad will be a factor: you can assume the company is not about to give up per-device margins.

Technology

Technology

The Nexus 7 utilizes Android 4.1, also known as Jelly Bean, Google’s latest tablet operating system. It is zippy and responsive. With 9 to 10 hours of battery life and weighing in at ¾ of a pound, it boasts a 1280 x 800 resolution with scratch-resistant glass, a front-facing camera and Wi-Fi. Amazon, for one, should be nervous. Google’s hardware partners selling tablets with older versions of Android will be playing catch up. Right now, the Nexus 7 with the optimized Jelly Bean OS is heralded as the best mini tablet available.

Retail

Retail

Yes, Apple has a major advantage with its gorgeous retail outlets. But unlike Google’s ill-fated Nexus phone, the Nexus tablet has strong retail distribution at Sam’s Club, Sears, Gamestop, Costco, Fry’s and Office Depot. That puts it ahead of competitors — ones that run its own operating system.

Android

Android

Android is a popular mobile OS brand, but it’s an engine and not the car. Nexus 7 is the shiny new car — a complete experience — at a reasonable price. More broadly, Google’s push into building its own hardware is likely to give it a chance to really showcase what its software can do.

Timing

Timing

Google would not comment about its future marketing plans, but did say it had a television ad that ran during the Olympics. By getting its tablet out early, it has given itself an advantage. If competitors don’t significantly improve their offerings for the holidays, it will have an even stronger head start.

5 reasons Google will rule small tablets

Three cheers for Android browser competition

There are reasons iOS and Windows RT hobble third-party browsers, but CNET’s Stephen Shankland prefers the open approach Google takes with Android.

by 

Firefox, back with a new native interface, now runs again on Android tablets with the beta of version 15.

Firefox, back with a new native interface, now runs again on Android tablets with the beta of version 15.

This morning, I installed the Firefox 15 beta on my two favored Android devices: a Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and an Asus Nexus 7 tablet.

Big deal, you say. Installing a browser. Ho-hum.

It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is — because you can’t install Firefox on an iPhone, an iPad, or a forthcoming Windows RT tablet.

But on Android, Google has chosen to let any other browser compete directly against its own. For that reason, I regularly use Opera Mini and Opera Mobile alongside Google’s Chrome. TheDolphin Browser HD, installed more than 10 million times, is another widely used option.

Kudos to Google for not being afraid of competition.

Google could easily have banned other browsers from Android or raised significant barriers the way Apple and Microsoft have chosen to do.

Google is certainly working hard to ensure Chrome’s success, pushing the browser hard enough that the company sometimes raises rivals’ hackles. For example, try to load the Chrome-promoting browser-based art project with the Tate Modern museum, This Exquisite Forest, and non-Chrome browser users will see an explanatory YouTube video and a message: “This site has features your browser may not support. Please try Google Chrome.”

That’s the kind of thing that harkens back to the bad old days of the last-generation browser wars of the 1990s between Internet Explorer and Netscape, when the Web was plagued with incompatible Web sites and some publishers would proclaim their loyalty to one faction or another. “Ah the ‘Made for IE6’ badge for a new generation,” tweeted Mozilla Product Manager Dave Mason upon seeing the message.

On Android at least the other browsers have a fighting chance. The European Union favors the browser choice of the personal-computer market.

On iOS, browsers must use an Apple-supplied version of the WebKit browser engine to process and display Web pages. Not only that, but that UIWebView version of WebKit, which third-party software must use, is slower when it comes to running JavaScript programs than the WebKit in Apple’s own Safari.

And on Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows RT, the version of Windows for the ARM processors that dominate the mobile device market today, other browsers don’t get access to the same deeper hardware controls that Internet Explorer gets.

Firefox and other non-IE browsers on Windows RT don't get the same privileges that Internet Explorer gets.

Firefox and other non-IE browsers on Windows RT don’t get the same privileges that Internet Explorer gets, a reality that has caused Mozilla some distress.

In both cases, there are security and user-experience reasons that can justify Apple’s and Microsoft’s choices to restrict third-party browsers. The effect, though, is to hamper those browsers’ abilities.

The difficulties of hobbled browsers
Google nonetheless decided to build Chrome on iOS, and Mozilla has begun an iOS browser experiment called Junior. But building a browser under such circumstances has challenges.

Differentiation from Safari still is possible; for example, Chrome has its distinctive tabs-on-top look, has Google’s SPDY technology for boosting Web performance, and synchronizes tabs, bookmarks, and other settings through people’s Google accounts.

“Chrome for iOS has some pretty major technical restrictions imposed by the App Store, such as the requirement to use the built-in UIWebView for rendering, no V8, and a single-process model,” said team member Mike Pinkerton in a mailing list message. V8 is Chrome’s JavaScript engine, and a single-process model means that Google had to drop its approach of isolating tabs in separate memory compartments. He also listed areas where Google was able to bring some of its Chrome technology, though.

Peter Kasting, another Chrome member, was more specific in a comment in a discussion about unflattering JavaScript benchmarks for Chrome on iOS.

Chrome for iOS doesn't use Chrome's usual browser engine for things like processing JavaScript and HTML, but it does use Chrome's network abilities, including support for SPDY for faster Web response.

Chrome for iOS doesn’t use Chrome’s usual browser engine for things like processing JavaScript and HTML, but it does use Chrome’s network abilities, including support for SPDY for faster Web response.

“We support aggressive prefetching, especially for the omnibox [Chrome’s combination search and Web address box] and top search results, which really does have truly enormous effects on actual usage that are harder to capture in a benchmark,” Kasting said.

But it’s not using all of Chrome — which is why visiting This Exquisite Forest works in Chrome for Android but gives the warning message with Chrome for iOS.

It’s a problem that Mozilla’s Robert O’Callahan mentioned. “I’m surprised you’d risk dilution of Chrome’s brand this way. There’s going to be plenty of confusion among Web developers and users about what ‘Chrome’ means. Lots of features that are ‘in Chrome’ won’t be in iOS Chrome. Some sites that ‘work in Chrome’ won’t work in iOS Chrome,” he said.

Kasting acknowledged the problem in his response.

“The Web developer fragmentation effect has definitely been a real concern, and not everyone on the team has felt like the overall benefits of iOS Chrome outweigh the costs,” he said.

Another challenge: on iOS, third-party browsers can’t be set as the default browser, so for example opening a Web address in an e-mail requires copying and pasting if you don’t want to use Safari.

Firefox on Android
Even where full-power third-party browsers are allowed, it’s not easy. Mozilla had to restart its Firefox on Android project to use a faster native interface, and it’s still used in vanishingly small numbers because it’s not preinstalled.

The overhauled version only recently arrived on Android phones, and it’s only in beta on Android tablets, but I like it so far. It loads pages fast, with my combination of an unscientific eye and Nexus 7 tablet. It pans and zooms smoothly. It pulled my browsing history in after a sync and generally got out of my way. Some problems, though: It needs user multi-tab interface work, and it crashed when I tried to log into Flickr.

So no, it’s not perfect. But it’s real, and at least Google gives these other browsers a chance.

I suspect that Google’s approach won’t just be to the benefit of Opera, Mozilla, Dolphin, Maxthon MobileUC Browser, and all the rest that.

Given the vigorous the browser market’s present vigor, I think Chrome will benefit from the competition, too.

Three cheers for Android browser competition

Tools For The Internet – Tools For The Internet

gregorylnewton – Welcome to Newt1956

Five Best Android Web Browsers

By  Alan Henry

Five Best Android Web Browsers

There are dozens of great web browsers available for Android, depending on the features you’re looking for. Whether it’s syncing with your desktop, or super-speedy browsing, or support for flash navigation, you have options galore—some of them popular, others not so much. This week we’re going to look at five of the best Android browsers, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week, we asked you which Android browser you thought was the best. We tallied your nominations, and while there are plenty to choose from, we only have room for the top five.

Five Best Android Web Browsers

Firefox

Firefox for Android has come a long way since its days in beta. It’s fast, it’s free, it fully supports Firefox Sync, so if you use Firefox on the desktop, it’ll bring in your bookmarks and passwords. It’s the first mobile browser to truly support Do Not Track, and the “Awesome Page” start screen that shows you all of your recently visited tabs helps you get right back to what you were doing if you had to put your phone down. It even supports add-ons and Personas, although there aren’t too many of them yet. A few more options, and Firefox would be a good contender for our favorite, but it’s clearly already one of yours, and for good reason.

Five Best Android Web Browsers

Chrome

Chrome for Android finally left beta late last month, which means now it can go on to be the new “stock” browser on Android devices…assuming you’re running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. If you are running ICS or Jelly Bean on your device, Chrome for Android is a must-download. It supports Incognito Mode browsing, bookmark syncing via Chrome Sync, and in its most recent updates, now supports search syncing, tab syncing, and more—anything that Chrome can sync on your desktop will be right there waiting for you on your Android device. Chrome for Android is also optimized for mobile, meaning it’s blazing fast. The only downside is that Google hasn’t made it available for phones running Gingerbread or tablets stuck with Honeycomb.

Five Best Android Web Browsers

Dolphin Browser HD/Mini

Dolphin Browser is our favorite web browser for Android, and for good reason. Dolphin’s options and tools are unparalleled, even when compared to the big name browsers, supports dozens of third-party plug-ins and tools to extend its features, has built-in speech-to-text thanks to Dolphin Sonar, supports on-screen gestures to open bookmarks and navigate around pages, and comes in two flavors: the “HD” version for phones that can handle all of its features, and a “Mini” version for device owners who want speed and snappy performance over options. Even if you gravitate to one of the big names, Dolphin is worth at least trying.

Five Best Android Web Browsers

Boat Browser/Mini

Back in the early days of Android, one of the first browsers to challenge the stock browser was a now-vanished app called Miren. Miren was a great and feature-rich browser, but for reasons unknown, it’s tough to find these days. If you liked Miren, Boat Browser is its spiritual successor. Fast, lightweight, and completely free, Boat is intuitive, supports add-ons, and has a powerful voice control engine (so you can say “Facebook” and the browser will bring up Facebook for you). You can even skin and theme the UI if you like, customize the speed dial start page with your favorite sites, and more. If your phone can’t handle the full version—or you just want a lighter app (which is hard to believe), Boat Mini is there for you.

Five Best Android Web Browsers

Mini

If you’re a fan of Opera on the desktop, Opera Mobile will suit you perfectly. Opera Mobile supports Opera Link, so you can sync your bookmarks, speed dial, and other user preferences with your desktop Opera install. Aside from that, Opera Mobile is fast, free, and goes out of its way to compress data in the background so you can browse your favorite sites without blowing past your wireless carrier’s data caps. Opera even has its own mini-app store, full of third party add-ons that improve the browser or games that make it more fun to use. Have an older device? Opera Mini might be a better choice—you get most of the features, but even more speed.

There you have it: your picks for the five best web browsers available for Android. Now it’s time to decide which one is the best overall.

This week’s honorable mention goes out to the stock Android browser: the one that ships on most phones pre-Ice Cream Sandwich. It varies from OEM to OEM, but many of you said that you just didn’t need to download another browser, and the one that came with your phone is good enough for you. That’s fair, but we’re looking at alternatives here!

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your favorite keyboard, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week.

Five Best Android Web Browsers

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Is Google prepping a 10-inch tablet?

With its new 7-inch Google Nexus shipping next month, the company reportedly plans to launch a 10-inch version, claims DigiTimes.

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Is a 10-inch version of the Nexus 7 in the works?

Is a 10-inch version of the Nexus 7 in the works?

Is Google eyeing a 10-inch version of its new Nexus tablet?

Citing the usual “industry sources,” the folks at DigiTimes say the search giant is reportedlyplanning a 10-inch Android tablet with display panels to be supplied by Wintek and AU Optronics. Wintek is the manufacturer behind the touch panels for the Nexus 7 and has already picked up orders for around 500,000 panels from Google for the 7-inch tablet, according to the company’s chairman.

No details were revealed as far as launch date, features, or possible pricing.

And of course, DigiTimes has a decidedly hit-and-miss record at forecasting future products. So this report should be taken with the usual grain of salt.

Comments made by Patrick Brady, Director ofAndroid Partner Engineering for Google, would seem to discount the possbility of a 10-inch tablet. In an interview with CNET’s Maggie Reardon, Brady said that Google specificallychose the 7-inch size for its portability.

“We thought a lot about how we’d design the software and hardware to fit a number of use cases,” Brady said. “For instance, I think 10-inch tablets are too big for gaming and reading books. We wanted it to be portable. And we wanted it to be great for reading books and magazines as well as playing games and watching movies.”

Of course, should the Nexus 7 take off in the marketplate, Google may decide that a 10-inch version could appeal to consumers as well. But for now, we’ll have to see if the 7-inch model makes as big a splash in the Android tablet arena as some are predicting.

Is Google prepping a 10-inch tablet?

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