Firefox. Internet Explorer. Chrome. Safari. Opera. We’ve pretty much all heard of them by now. They’ve been fighting for market share for the past few years (Internet Explorer has been fighting for it for a lot longer than that), and it’s unlikely any of them will ever come out the absolute winner. They try to be all things to all people. And that’s great.
What if you’re looking for a browser that does just the things you want to do online? What if you’re sick of all the browser-war hubub and want something that’s truly unique and different (and, maybe, works better than the mainstream options)? What then?
Well, there’s good news. There are more than a dozen excellent alternative browsers out there if you’re looking for something distinctive. Below are ten such web browsers, along with why you might want to consider using them.
Stainless is a browser created in response to Google Chrome. It utilizes multi-processing architecture like Chrome (which, at the time of inception, wasn’t available for OS X), but also has some excellent features not found in other browsers. One of the most interesting features is the ability to log into one website using two different accounts in separate tabs.
Why you should consider it: The ability to log into a site with different credentials in different tabs makes this an excellent option for many. It’s especially useful if you have, say, work-related Gmail accounts and personal Gmail accounts.
Current release version: 0.7.5
Operating systems supported: OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard.
Maxthon is a highly configurable browser that places an emphasis on security. It has a built-in Ad Hunter that blocks most ads, as well as security features to prevent spyware, malware, and viruses. It lets you fully customize your browsing experience (you can choose between using menus, hot keys, word aliases, toolbars, or mouse gestures, plus there are more than 1,400 plug-ins to add functionality). It has filters available to block irritating or offensive content.
Other Maxthon features include a built-in screen capture tool, URL aliases for faster surfing, a built-in feed reader, an online favorites service, advanced proxy rules, and an anti-freeze feature.
Why you should consider it: If you want a customizable browser, Maxthon might be what you’re looking for; it’s built specifically for power users. Between plugins, skins, filter packs, and other customizable features, it truly lets you personalize your browsing experience. For parents concerned about their children’s’ activities online, the filters for blocking content can be reassuring.
Current release version: 2.5.11 (the Classic Version is also available: 1.6.5)
Operating systems supported: Windows
Sleipnir is very popular in Japan with a majority share in the country. It’s a profoundly customizable browser that maintains speed and performance despite customizations. There are skins and plugins available for it, letting you change the design and settings of the browser to suit your needs. And as all good browsers should, it stresses on security and usability, and allows for tabbed browsing.
Why you should consider it: Sleipnir is an option if you want a highly customizable browsing experience.
Current release version: 2.9.2
Operating systems supported: Windows 98 and newer
Swiftfox is an optimized build of Firefox that’s faster and more cutting edge than the regular Firefox distribution. It works with Firefox plugins, making it remarkably extensible. The overall user interface is similar to Firefox, but is a bit more minimalist and clutter-free. Most other features are in line with what Firefox has to offer.
Why you should consider it: If you love Firefox but want something faster and lighter, then Swiftfox is your best bet.
Current release version: 3.5.6
Operating systems supported: Linux
Lunascape is the world’s first and only triple engine browser. That’s right: it’s a hybrid browser that runs on Gecko, Trident, and WebKit. It supports plugins and add-ons from Firefox, Internet Explorer, as well as their own plugin platform. It’s touted to be faster and lighter than many other browser options.
Why you should consider it: If you find yourself constantly switching back and forth between browsers (either for cross-browser testing of web designs or because of add-ons available only to Firefox or Internet Explorer), Lunascape is a perfect fit for you.
Current release version: 6.0.1
Operating systems supported: Windows
Konqueror combines web browsing, local and remote file management, and a universal viewing app that lets you view documents without having to launch other programs. It’s open source and HTML 4.01 compliant. It embraces Netscape plugins (like those for Flash or RealVideo). Konqueror also has a built-in FTP and WebDAV support.
Why you should consider it: If you’re a Linux user who wants a browser that can multitask, then Konqueror is definitely something to look into. It’s especially useful for those who want to be able to manage files right from within their browser.
Operating systems supported: Linux
Why you should consider it: For developers and designers, SeaMonkey has a plethora of useful built-in features. It’s also a great option for people who like to run the bare minimum number of apps.
Current release version: 2.0.1
Operating systems supported: Windows 2000 and newer, Mac OS X 10.4 and newer, and Linux.
OmniWeb is a WebKit browser created by the same people who created OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner. It aims to be fun and easy to use (like other Omni products) and shares a similar user interface. It has all the standard browser features we’ve come to expect (including tabbed browsing, bookmarks, and ad blocking), but also includes Workspaces, which lets you save browsing sessions to open later and includes an auto-save option and a built-in RSS reader.
Why you should consider it: For Mac users who want a browser that’s efficient and easy to use, OmniWeb might be just what you’re looking for. It’s appropriate for power users too, and the Workspaces feature is especially handy.
Current release version: 5.0.1
Operating systems supported: Mac OS X 10.4.8 or newer
Think of Camino as a Firefox build specifically for Macs, built on the Gecko 1.9 rendering engine. It includes phishing and malware protection, tabs (including a tab overview function that lets you see all your open tabs at once), “annoyance blocking” (which blocks ads, pop-ups, and Flash animations), Keychain support (to save your browsing credentials), and download notifications. It also includes AppleScript support, feed detection, session saving, recently closed tabs, and full keyboard access.
Why you should consider it: Camino is a great browser for Mac users who like Firefox but want something built specifically for the Mac.
Current release version: 2.0
Operating systems supported: Mac OS X 10.4 or newer
Flock is probably better known than many of the other browsers above, especially if you’re a social media addict. Flock was created specifically to make managing your social media activities easier from within your browser.
Flock focuses on staying connected through social media by making sharing and publishing things easier. It integrates directly with Facebook, Gmail, Digg, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, Delicious, Bebo, TypePad, Picasa, and more. Special features include a People sidebar, a Media bar (to browse photos and videos from your favorite sites), a built-in feed reader, a photo uploader, a blog editor, and more. There are also extensions and custom themes available for download.
Why you should consider it: Flock is a great choice for social media power users who want to be able to connect with all their social media accounts from one place.
Current release version: 2.5
Operating systems supported: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Blocking ads on your device is moral grey area, but it’s hard to argue that it has benefits. AdBlock Plus is one of the most popular ad blocking plugins for browsers available, and it works extremely well. And luckily for Android users, an official app has made its way onto Google’s Play Store.
Most ad blocking apps right now require root, but AdBlock Plus is a little different. It’s compatible with almost all browsers in the Play Store without root, but only over WiFi. If you want ad-blocking over 3G, you’ll have to root your device. There’s just a few listed limitations to keep in mind if you install this app:
- Rooted: Blocks ads over Wi-Fi and 3G
- Non-rooted with Android 3.1 or later: Blocks ads over Wi-Fi
- Non-rooted with Android 3.0 or earlier: Some manual configuration is required. Please visit our website to learn how to setup your own proxy: https://adblockplus.org/en/android-config#proxy
- Also, Android does not allow ads to be blocked on SSL encrypted websites.
There’s still a few features missing from the bigger version of ABP, like whitelisting, but it’s a new app. I’m sure that’ll come eventually. Anybody ready to get this installed and improve your mobile browsing? Hit the download link below.
In the tech industry today, “cloud” is the buzzword that is taking the market by storm. While many computer users have learned exactly how beneficial cloud computing can be, it is still a relatively new field in the smartphone niche. Since smartphones are basically like small computers, it’s no stretch to think that smartphone users would benefit from having cloud access on their phones. Here are a few of the top cloud solutions for smartphone users:
iCloud is one of the most well-known cloud solutions for smartphones. It is an Apple product and is only available for iPhone users or users of other Apple products. With iCloud, anything that you have on your iPhone will automatically become available on your computer or your other Apple devices. For example, if you take a picture on your iPhone, it will show up on your iPad or your home computer without having to do anything.
Binu is a service that makes it possible for any mobile phone to gain access to cloud services. It essentially turns any phone into a smartphone. With Binu, apps are run in the cloud and can be accessed on the phone. Data can also be stored in the cloud from the phone.
Google has a number of different services that can be integrated with cloud technology. If you have an Android phone, you can sync your contacts, appointments, documents, and other information to Google services for free. Other smartphones can also integrate into Google cloud services with the proper applications.
Dropbox is a cloud-based program that makes it possible to share files between a smartphone and any computer. Once the Dropbox app is on the phone, users can simply put files into it and they will immediately become available on any computer that is linked to the same account with the Dropbox program on it
When a company needs a large number of smartphones that can have access to cloud services, a data center may be in order. A data center is a facility that makes it possible for companies to remotely access servers that they house. Digital Realty is one example of a data center that offers this type of service. This is a large scale solution for companies who have many smartphones. With these cloud services and many more on the way, it’s possible for smartphone users to branch out and do more while on-the-go. The smartphone cloud market is just getting started, and will continue to expand in the future.
Guest Post: This article is written by Becky W. She is a freelance writer that loves to write on a number of different topics such as technology, health and sports. In her spare time she loves to try new dishes in the kitchen and maintain a healthy lifestyle.