The Future of Chrome on Your Phone Is the Desktop

By Sam Gibbs on at

Chrome 28 beta for Android has just hit Google Play bringing with it built-in Google Translate among other things. But what it really shows is where Google's awesome mobile browser is going. Chrome on your phone and Chrome on the desktop are headed for a collision, and it'll be awesome for all your phones and tablets.

It should be obvious now, from the nomenclature alone, that Google's planning to bring Chrome on Android and iOS up to par with Chrome on your desktop. But dropping Google Translate into the mix really shows how far mobile Chrome has come. It's one of the most useful features of its desktop brother, making the whole web, whether it's in English or not, available at the touch of a button in a language you can understand. Well, a machine translation into a language you can understand at least, which is a lot better than my Korean for instance.

So if you want to know where Android Chrome is going, you only need to look at the desktop. One of the biggest advantages a desktop has over mobile is extensions or apps. I currently have seven of the things loaded on my Mac, daily essential tools like a proper find and replace, Pocket, Feedly, and various other bits and pieces.

There's no reason Android Chrome couldn't integrate some sort of extension system, and given that todays phones are pocket powerhouses, I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen sooner rather than later. Unfortunately for iPhone users, the gimped Chrome you get because of Apple's draconian App Store rules means it's highly unlikely you'll get anything like that. Sorry!

Then you've got gaming and animation. We've seen quite a few examples of how far browser-based gaming and graphics have come, and there's no reason why you couldn't do the same with WebGL on mobile. Of course, you could just fire up an app for gaming, but there are all sorts of rich animation and fluid UI elements that could benefit from a spot of webGL, and that really would make the pocket web experience as good as a desktop one.

The question I have, is when Chrome on Android basically becomes a mobile UI-orientated version of Chrome on the desktop, what's the point of Chrome OS? In fact, I could easily see Chrome OS and Android merging at that point, benefitting Chrome OS users with a more fully-fledged OS and Android users more form factors.

At any rate, it's exciting to see how fast Chrome on Android and even iOS is evolving. It's leaving most of the others for dust, and is one of the strongest reasons to pick Android over Windows Phone, iOS or BB10. It got me hooked at least.

To get creative guides, app tips and the full lowdown on Samsung’s S4, Note 8.0 and Note II, check out Samsung’s Your Mobile Life over here.