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Dolphin Brings Voice-Based Web Navigation to Android

As Android grows older, we've seen several third-party web browsers appear to replace the bland stock version baked into Google's mobile OS. One of the first alternative browsers to appear was Dolphin (HD), developed by MoboTap and launched in 2010. It not only used the Webkit engine and relied on the native platform's rendering capabilities to make its footprint small, it packed features like smart gestures, add-ons and Flash capabilities not to mention a more visually appealing UI.

Now MoboTap is pushing mobile browsing a step further by introducing Dolphin Sonar, a voice-control feature that allows users to search the web and navigate the Dolphin browser using speech. The new feature is part of the Dolphin v7.4 update, which is now available for free in the Android Market worldwide.

"Our Gesture-based browsing function was a game-changer in terms of the way people browse on their mobile devices, and Sonar is the logical next step," said Yongzhi Yang, CEO of MoboTap. "Just as sonar is used by dolphins to navigate, Dolphin Sonar interprets sound to get you where you want to be online. We are continuously thinking of new ways to heighten our users’ mobile browsing experience with new and innovative features."

MoboTap claims that Dolphin users can simply speak to search the web and navigate the browser without typing a word. To activate Dolphin Sonar, users shake the phone or hold down the virtual Gesture button located the the bottom-left -- this produces a microphone icon that users tap to bring up the Dolphin Sonar screen. Then by stating something like "eBay Nike shoes," the browser will search directly on eBay and display a list of Nike shoes. The command "open new tab" will create a new tab in the browser, and so on.

So does the Dolphin Sonar feature work as promised? So far, that definitely seems to be the case. Say "Go to Tom's Hardware," and you'll pull up our mobile website. Sweetness. Say"Go to Facebook," and the browser loads the popular social website in all its HTML5 glory. Ask "What is poop on a stick?" and the browser will pull up a list of YouTube videos with that specific title as well as its listing in the Urban Dictionary. No lie.

To get the latest Dolphin Browser (HD) with Sonar, head to the Android Market here. Have fun.