Infinity Web Browser

The Android OS comes with a decent stock Web browser, but it lacks many features, such as tabs, text-to-speech, RSS feed subscriptions, and language translation, that are common to desktop browsers. Infinity Web Browser offers these features, but unfortunately, they are poorly executed.

I tested Infinity on two phones: a Sprint HTC EVO 4G running Android 2.2, and a Verizon Motorola Droid running Android 2.2. The user experience was uniformly poor. Crashes occurred frequently on both devices.

Infinity allows you to have several Web pages open at once in a tabbed interface. Unfortunately, the tabs are squashed so small that you can't read their titles or icons, and they are also difficult to navigate if you have large, stubby fingers. Another annoyance is that even though you can specify a home page in Settings, Infinity still insists on loading its home page every time you open the browser. It doesn't remember the tabs you had open in your last session.

Some Websites that utilize server redirects load improperly or not at all. Web video support is poor: YouTube doesn't play, nor does PCWorld Video or Vimeo. At least Blip.tv and The Onion do play, but two out of five is not a very good score.

The text-to-speech function works, sort of. It reads the URL of the page you are currently viewing, but not the text on the page.

The built-in RSS feed reader, potentially a great feature, is also disappointing. It does not auto-detect RSS feeds; rather, you must copy and paste the feed URL. There is no Google Reader integration and no OPML file import. Reading the feeds is also a disappointing experience, as the feed reader struggles and sometimes crashes while navigating the feeds.

Even the file download manager was a disappointment. When I tried to use it to download the Unofficial Ubuntu Guide, packaged in a .zip file, Infinity instead saved an empty file with a .php extension. The stock Android browser downloaded the same file without any difficulty.

Sadly, Infinity also lacks an important feature that the stock Android browser has: the ability to share a Web page via e-mail or text message.

Despite its promise, Infinity fails to deliver a better user experience than the stock Android browser--and in some ways, it is worse. If you need a more advanced browser, I recommend Dolphin HD or Skyfire instead.

This story, "Infinity Web Browser" was originally published by PCWorld .

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