Google has released a long-awaited beta version of its Chrome web browser for Android-powered phones and tablets, but the software only works on devices running the latest version of Android.
The test version of Google's popular Internet browser was made available for download today in the Android Market.
Notable features of the software include the capacity for tabbed browsing, the option to browse the web in "incognito mode," accelerated page loading, and the ability to sync bookmarks and passwords between users' other devices on which they use the Chrome browser.
Unfortunately, the acceleration technology these features require means the browser is limited to the few Android mobile devices that currently use Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of the Android operating system.
Those devices include the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Asus Transformer Prime, Business Insider reports.
But experts expect Google Chrome to dominate Android devices in the future as users upgrade their phones to ones capable of running the newest Android operating system.
"Even in beta, it's a compelling browser at least on the Galaxy Nexus I tried it on, and it's and a much better match for Apple's Safari on iOS," Stephen Shankland wrote in a review of the software for CNET. "And eventually, its success is all but assured when it simply becomes what ships with Android."
Today's beta release caps off a three-year effort on the part of Google engineers to converge Android and Chrome, the company's two fastest growing products, according to Mercury News.
Both products were launched at the end of 2008 and soon became favorites of many users and developers.
Android is currently the world's most popular mobile operating system, while Chrome recently shot past Mozilla Firefox to become the second most popular Web browser behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
Early feedback from users reviewing the software on Android Market has been largely positive, with the first 500 commenters giving the software an average rating of 4.3 stars out of five.
Check out a slideshow of screenshots below:
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