The Dolphin web browser for Android offers a number of features you don’t get with the standard Android web browser, including support for browser tabs in Android 2.3 and earlier, support for add-ons, gesture-based commands, and voice commands.
Now the developers have released a public beta of Dolphin Browser 8 with a new toolbar and improved add-on navigation.
The first thing Dolphin users will notice is that the menu bar has been redesigned so that it no longer looks like something designed for Android 1.6. The new menu features a new, lighter color scheme and simple icons. It also takes up less of the screen when it slides up from the bottom of the display.
Dolphin Browser lets you view your bookmarks by swiping from the left edge of the screen or your add-ons by swiping from the right. In earlier versions of the web browser, the add-ons bar was a thin strip showing only icons for your browser plugins, but now the Dolphin team has added text to the add-ons menu so that you can easily tell one from another.
That means the new menu takes up more space than before, but since you’ll only bring it up when you want to access an add-on or add a new one, that’s not really a big problem. The menu hides when you’re just surfing the web.
Dolphin Browser 8 beta also lets you access the Gesture and Sonar (voice command) screens by tapping the Dolphin icon in the lower left corner. If you don’t need to use these functions often you can hide the icon and access the menus instead by hitting the Menu button and then choosing the “Dolphin” option.
You can download the latest beta from the Dolphin Browser website. If you’re already running version 7 or earlier, the new app will overwrite it, but your settings should be saved. Once the beta test is over, Dolphin Browser 8 will likely be available from the Google Play Store.