Dolphin dives into iPhones

The popular Web browser for Android migrates to new waters. Will iPhone users take to the Dolphin Browser and its gestures?

Gestures on the new Dolphin Browser for iPhone. (Credit: Dolphin)

The Dolphin Browser made a name for itself on Android, carving out a space as a zippy alternative to the default browser while rapidly building a robust feature set. Dolphin for iPhone, released today, brings most of those features to iPhone owners. The most notable one is gesture-based browsing, which makes it the only iPhone browser to support custom gestures.

Another interesting feature that Dolphin brings to the iPhone is its Webzine. It's the browser's in-house version of the streamlined, ad-free reading experiences that turn multipage stories on the web into a single vertical flow. Webzine includes works on more than 120 "channels," based on the sites' RSS feeds.

The browser bakes in a lot of tools that other browsers require you to reach for add-ons to get. The Twitter icon allows you to share via Facebook or Twitter, tabbed browsing replicates the popular desktop browsing option, and the built-in desktop agent allows you to force a site to render in its standard desktop view. There's also the Speed Dial, for quick one-tap access to your most regularly visited Web sites.

Unfortunately, Dolphin faces the same restrictions that other third-party browsers suffer on iOS. There's no way to change your system's default browser, and unlike on Android--where the default browser faces stiff competition from Firefox, Skyfire, Dolphin, and other rapidly-developing alternatives--you can't change the default browser from Safari to another app. That means that even if you use Dolphin for all your self-initiated Web browsing, opening links from other apps will always return to Safari. Also, iPad users are out of luck, as the browser has yet to be optimized for the tablet.