Chrome for Android Gets a Beta Channel, New Versions Coming Every Six Weeks

The Android version will keep up with the desktop one, Google promises

By on January 11th, 2013 08:34 GMT

Google has a history of launching things in beta. Gmail stayed in beta for years. Chrome launched as a beta on Windows and the first stable version came months later. Now, it's taking that tradition to Android with the launch of the beta channel with Chrome 25 inside.

Chrome pioneered the three tiered approach to development and releases, most users rely on the stable channel releases, that's what Google advertises and that's what it pushes to most people.

For those wanting to stay ahead of the curve, there's the beta channel which gets the new Chrome six weeks in advance of the stable one and a new Chrome every six weeks.

Finally, if you want the cutting edge, there's the dev channel which gets relatively stable versions of the latest active development builds.

Google's starting to deploy this model on Android with the beta channel. What this means is that there will be regular updates and a new Chrome every six weeks or so, that's the hope at least.

Unlike on the desktop, you can run Chrome beta alongside the stable Chrome, which is nice if you run into bugs or problems.

You won't find the Chrome beta by searching in the Play Store, you have to know the direct link. This is to prevent users from accidentally installing it and running into problems.

For good reason too, while it's labeled as a beta, Chrome 25 for Android has plenty of known bugs, more than the desktop beta releases.

Performance isn't up to par, you may get freezes on some devices, yahoo.com links don't work on the Nexus 7, for some reason, and the bookmark editing feature doesn't work.

As such, this is not your standard beta so you need to know what you're getting yourself into. There are plenty to like in the beta release though, for one it's on par with the desktop version.

In fact it's ahead, Chrome 25 is only in the dev channel on the desktop. Chrome 25 Beta for Android is also significantly faster than the stable Chrome 18, at least it will be once the bugs are ironed out.

Google promised last year to start updating Chrome for Android more often. In fact, it promised that it would start keeping up with the desktop version and offer experimental builds, which it's starting to with the beta channel.

Unlike with the previous release, Google promises to provide regular updates, but we'll have to wait and see. If it pulls it off, you should get Chrome 25 in the stable channel in six weeks or so and Chrome 26 in the beta channel soon after that.

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