Secure browsers for Android

Updated: December 29, 2019

2019. Opera for Android added built-in VPN



In 2016 Opera launched a free VPN app for Android (followed by an iOS launch) but the app was discontinued last year. Now Opera will offer the free VPN service again, as part of its Opera browser for Android. The feature is currently undergoing testing and is slowly rolling out to Opera beta users. Once you turn the option on, you can choose your virtual location — the choices aren't as good as you'd get from a commercial VPN service, but you do get to choose whether you want to be virtually located in Europe, America or Asia. Opera claims it's not keeping any usage logs. Opera already offers a free, unlimited VPN as part of its desktop web browser. Just like that version, the mobile browser also offers you to bypass VPN when accessing search engines.


2018. Tor Browser comes to Android



Anonymous browser Tor is now officially available for Android. But to run the app users will need to also download the Tor Project proxy app, Orbot. Tor Project’s anonymous browser uses a system of decentralized relays that bounce a user’s data to anonymize internet activity. This makes it almost impossible for ads, location trackers and even government surveillance to follow your tracks across the web. Following this release, Orfox, the longstanding Tor Project-approved browsing app for Android, said it will be sunset by 2019.


2017. Microsoft Edge comes to Android and iPhone



Microsoft announced the general availability of its Edge Browser (the followup to Internet Explorer) for iOS and Android. The mobile version offers many of its familiar desktop/tablet features, including Favorites, Reading Lists and New Tab Pages. The company’s also added some new tools. Roaming Passwords are now on-board, giving users the ability to sync passwords cross platform on mobile and desktop. There’s also dark theme. That’s basically what it sounds like, offering a black desktop instead of the default white/gray one, which should be easier on some eyes. The addition of Edge is an important piece of Microsoft’s new mobile strategy. At the very least additions like Edge and Cortana to iOS and Android will make it easier for Windows 10 users to have their existing smartphones play nice with their PCs.


2015. Opera redesigned Opera Mini for Android



Opera Mini, the little brother to Opera’s regular mobile browser, is getting a major makeover on Android. The new design, which is pretty much in line with the regular Opera mobile browser, is meant to give the browser a more native look and feel. As you know, Opera offers both its regular mobile browser and Opera Mini on Android. The major difference between the two is that Opera Mini features an always-on data saving mode that compresses data very aggressively. For the most part, Opera Mini manages to do so without breaking the layout of most sites, but sites will look a little bit sparser than usual because Opera’s proxies strips out some design elements and web fonts to save bandwidth. The regular Opera browser for Android also features a similar “turbo” mode, but it’s quite a bit more conservative in its approach.


2012. Chrome hits Android



As you know, Google develops two operating systems (with competing philosophy): Android (focused on native apps) and Chrome OS (focused on web-apps and browser). And even Google's management could never explain which of these philosophies corresponds to their strategy. Moreover, Android and Chrome are developed in the company by two separate teams which are competing with each other rather than collaborating. Today's news informs that the Chrome team managed to strike the opponent. Chrome browser is now available on Android. However, only on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Judging by the first reviews, the speed and usability of the mobile Chrome - is very cool. But it doesn't support flash. So the future OS forecast shifts towards the web-based apps based on HTML5.