Wednesday, March 23, 2011

iPad Browser Upgrade

The iPad needs no introduction.  It’s going to be the #1 selling tablet for 2011 with no doubts.  But the Safari browser that Apple includes is not a great experience.  Safari on the iPhone is fine, small screen you don’t expect much.  But with a larger screen things like tabs make life easy.  The HoneyComb tablet OS from Google includes a decent browser, so why not Apple?

Luckily the app store can save the day.  I tried a few browsers and this one stands out – Atomic.  It’s not free but at $.99 cents it’s not going to break the bank.  The main upgrade over Safari is tabs.  Once you understand the power of a tabbed browser there is no going back.   I am sure many already use FireFox and Tab Mix Plus (talked about here).   You can control when you click a site to a different domain if it opens a new tab.  When selecting tabs from Bookmarks there is a blue button which also opens the site in a new tab.  Atomic is not as powerful as Tab Mix Plus, but it’s not bad.  

Atomic has another great feature – ad blocking.  When this is turned on it will eliminate most ads when viewing web sites. When you launch Atomic it supports options to display bookmarks, homepage, last page viewed and last session (all open tabs).  You can select which search engine to use, it supports Amazon, Bing, Ebay, Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo and Youtube.

There are options to create action buttons with dozens of functions like Font Size, Home page, Reload, Page Bottom, Page Top, Quick Menu, share link to email, Facebook or Twitter, downloads, clear tabs and many more.  It has options to create your own MultiTouch gestures.  Things like two finger swipe left, right, up or down can be assigned to a dozen possibilities.  It’s amazing how tunable this browser is.

Atomic also has integrated support for DropBox.  DropBox is a very popular app to share files across computers.  When you download a file in Atomic, you press the blue button next to the downloaded file and there are options for DropBox, email, open external app or view.   

I did not cover every option in Atomic, you will need to try this app to realize how feature rich this is for the iPad.  I did discover a few missing features I would like to see.  The tab options could use some more features like open a new tab when using the search bar.  I also don’t like the blue button in Bookmarks for opening a new tab, it should just be an option in the tab control selections.  I also found no way to whitelist a site from Ad Blocker.  I use this for some sites because I want to know about special bargains.  The biggest disappoint is no bookmark syncing with tools like Xmarks.  This is huge.  I don’t think any other iPad browser offers this but Atomic should!

Go here to download:
Atomic Browser at iTunes

I made a video of Atomic Browser

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