Gadgets: Google brings Chrome to Android devices

  • Updated: February 18, 2012 - 3:22 PM
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A product shot the G-Form Extreme Sleeve 2 for the iPad, in an undated handout photo. The sleeve, like other G-form products, is made of "rate dependent material," which is a kind of soft foam that hardens temporarily under impact, creating an instant protective shell. (Handout via The New York Times) -- NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH STORY SLUGGED CIR-GEEK-NOTES. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED.

Photo: Handout, Associated Press - Nyt

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For years, people looking for a real browsing experience on Android phones and tablets have been left pecking through something Google called "Browser" -- an open-source-based browser that wasn't quite horrible but wasn't quite great, either. Now, for a lucky few, Google's own browser, Chrome, is available on Android devices, and it's a very nice upgrade.

First, the good news: Google Chrome is a considerable improvement over the old browser and features a "stack" system for collecting and sorting Web pages. It supports tabbed browsing on larger screens and the stacks let you organize pages on a phone or minitablet.

There is also an "incognito mode" for hiding your browsing history as well as improved page rendering. I found the whole experience a bit snappier, and I really liked the ability to synchronize tabs and bookmarks among various devices and desktops using a single Google log-in.

Now, the bad news: Chrome works only on Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, and it's available only in test mode, so there are still a few bugs. There are no plans to port it to the iPhone or iPad, either.

It is definitely a solid upgrade from the standard Android browser, and it should arrive for newer Android phones and devices as it reaches a more stable state.

FOR IPAD, A SOFT CASE THAT STILL PROTECTS

Extreme Sleeve 2, $70,

www.g-form.com

The G-Form Extreme Sleeve 2 for the iPad looks like something a budding X-Man carries homework in, as it's made from a polymer that could come from the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning.

The sleeve, like other G-Form products, is made of "rate dependent material," which is a kind of soft foam that hardens temporarily under impact, creating an instant protective shell.

Central to the protection is a polymer called Poron XRD, a foam generically classified as a rate-dependent material. That means the material behaves differently depending on how quickly it is compressed.

Poron foam is a collection of fluid molecules, until it is struck. Then the energy of the impact causes the molecules to freeze into a hard protective shell that radiates across the surface of the foam. Once the impact has dissipated, the foam returns to its original squishy state.

G-Form's innovation has been to bond the Poron to an outer layer of scuff-resistant material and a inner layer of soft material that won't scratch screens and cases. The foam is tough but not impervious. It is more effective against blunt force than penetration.

NEW YORK TIMES

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