Got an Android 4.0 device? You might want an alternative browser

Google won’t be updating its Chrome browser past version 42 for older Android devices, so it can better focus on its mobile browser for more current phones and tablets. The company announced that it would freeze Chrome 42 for its Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) software, which debuted in December, 2011.

In the last year, we’ve seen the number of Chrome users running ICS drop by thirty percent. Developing new features on older phones has become increasingly challenging, and supporting ICS takes time away from building new experiences on the devices owned by the vast majority of our users. So, with Chrome’s 42nd release, we’ll stop updating Chrome on ICS devices. After Chrome 42, users on ICS devices can continue to use Chrome but won’t get further updates.

The latest stats from Google’s dashboard show that out of all of the Google Android phones and tablets that visited the [company]Google[/company] Play Store in the last week of February, only 5.9 percent of those ran ICS. That number has been greatly diminished as users replace old devices or get Android software upgrades installed.

As Google notes on the Chromium blog, you can still use Chrome for Android on your ICS-powered phone or tablet. The browser will still work, but it won’t get any updates, meaning no new features and — more importantly — no security updates as new exploits are found.

My recommendation: If you can’t get your ICS device upgrade to Android 4.1 or better, consider installing a third-party browser such as Firefox, Opera, or one of my faves, Dolphin Browser for Android.