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Chrome for Android Beta: 3 Drawbacks

Google's mobile Chrome has a few letdowns for people who love Adobe Flash, Chrome extensions or are part of the 99 percent.

Google recently launched Chrome for Android Beta, a version of the search giant's popular desktop browser for Android smartphones and tablets running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. The new mobile browser includes many features that make Chrome so popular on the PC including speed, simple design, bookmark and open tabs sync, and autocomplete suggestions. But Google's mobile Chrome isn't all good news, there are also a few letdowns for people who love Adobe Flash, Chrome extensions or are part of the 99 percent.

No Flash, ever

Even though Android supports the mobile version of Flash Player, Chrome for Android did not ship with Adobe's plug-in unlike its desktop counterpart. Shortly after the new mobile browser was released, Adobe said it would not be supporting Chrome for Android. Adobe in November announced it would no longer be developing Flash Player for mobile devices at all and would instead focus on pushing HTML 5 standards for mobile browsers.

No extensions, at least not yet

Just like Mozilla Firefox, desktop Chrome offers tons of extensions you can add to your browser for extra functionality such as password managers, Facebook notifications, and ad blockers. However, extensions aren't making the jump to Chrome for Android Beta right now. But there are reports that Google is looking at how to bring extensions to Chrome for Android. Mozilla currently offers add-ons for mobile Firefox.

Android 4.0 only

Chrome for Android is currently only available for Android 4.0. That effectively means you can only get it if you own a Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Motorola Xoom or Asus Transformer Prime. Ice Cream Sandwich updates to Gingerbread and Honeycomb devices are slated for rollout later this year. Check out Computerworld's constantly updated ICS upgrade guide for information about getting ICS on your Android device.

Chrome for Android is available for free from the Android Market.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.


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