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Third Party Mobile Browsers – part 5: Dolphin

This is the fifth in a series of posts on interesting third-party mobile browsers. This post focuses on Dolphin for Android and iOS. Read part 1: Opera Mini, part 2: Opera Mobile, part 3: NetFront Life, and part 4: Firefox.

Screenshot of mob browser Dolphin's gestures screenDolphin is one of select few mobile browsers that is available for both Android and iOS. It is known as Dolphin Browser HD for Android, and simply Dolphin Browser on iOS. Dolphin browser was developed by MoboTap Inc.

Unlike browsers like many other mobile browsers such as Chrome or Firefox that have their own desktop counterpart, Dolphin is purely a mobile browser.

Mobile Browser Focus

Dolphin recognizes that it is a mobile browser and focuses on things that only a mobile browser can do. Its Gesture feature allows you to load a web page by drawing a gesture with your finger. From my testing the gesture feature is pretty intelligent. As long as you are making a similar motion it knows to do the right thing.

With a product named “dolphin” there is very little wonder that a voice related feature called Sonar. If you load the browser and shake the phone then you will be taken to a voice assistant. This assistant is not as powerful as Siri, but it is pretty useful. You can tell it commands that control the browser such as “back”, “forward”, or “close tab”. You can also speak commands such as ‘YouTube Tim Tebow’ to load YouTube videos of Tim Tebow. If it does not understand the phrase it will do a Google search. The Sonar feature was pretty spot on when I was issuing it specific commands, but it seemed to have trouble when it fell back to a Google search. For example, every time I tried to search for this website it would search for the “grand builder company”. Not exactly what I wanted.

Despite focusing on mobile, Dolphin recognizes that many users need to load the desktop version of a site. Like Chrome and recent versions of Android, Dolphin has a user agent switcher that lets switch between Android, Desktop, iPhone, and iPad modes. It even lets you create custom user agent strings if you need it.

User interface wise the application has tabs at the top that actually make it feel like a desktop browser. You can disable these tabs by loading the Full Screen add-on by swiping to the right to load the sidebar. The sidebar allows you quick access to your settings where you can enable the Private Browser mode.

Similar to many other mobile browsers, Dolphin has a Speed Dial feature for quick access to your favorite bookmarks. It also has a Dolphin Connect feature that lets you use your Facebook or Google accounts, or let you create a Dolphin account, to share your bookmarks with your other mobile devices (i.e. share your bookmarks on your phone and on your tablet).

I have found the Dolphin browser to be a fun little browser. It’s simple, yet powerful, and shows an innovative approach to building a mobile browser. It is worth checking out. If you have used Dolphin please let us know your thoughts.

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About

Brian is the Director of Development and Social Media for Brand Builder Websites where he oversees the development, strategy, and goals for our software development. He is also a huge fan of Android.

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