Amazon introduced the Kindle Lite app late last month, offering a similar experience as the full-fledged Kindle client for a fraction of the size. Now, the retailer has rolled out a lightweight web browser dubbed Internet (opens in new tab), which comes in at just 2MB and takes up just 26MB of storage space on your phone.
One of the key highlights with Amazon's browser is a private mode, which is essentially the same thing as Chrome's incognito mode. The homepage has a trending news section that refreshes every few minutes, with stories ranging from entertainment to sports (with a focus on cricket updates), and current events.
The homepage also has links to popular sites, including Amazon, Cricbuzz, Facebook, BookMyShow, and Twitter. Local handset maker Intex's site is also listed here for whatever reason, and it's likely Amazon has inked a deal with the manufacturer to pre-install its browser on Intex's phones.
The browser comes with a download manager as well (a must-have for markets like India), and while the default search engine is Bing, you can change it to Google from the settings. The URL for the Play Store listing suggests the codename for the browser is Garuda, who in Hindu mythology is considered to be the god of flight (he's also associated with speed, which is what Amazon is going for here).
As for the browser's performance, it obviously runs fine on devices like the Nokia 7 Plus, and it was just as fluid on the few entry-level phones I tested it on. It truly shines on low-powered hardware, and it would've been the ideal browser for the likes of Nokia 1, HMD's first Android Go phone. However, the browser isn't compatible with Android Go just yet, and hopefully that will change once it officially launches.
The browser went live sometime last month, and it has over a hundred installs — likely from Amazon employees dogfooding the app. TechCrunch spotted the listing yesterday, and it's likely we'll see Amazon make a formal announcement very soon. For what it's worth, Amazon undertook the same strategy with the Kindle Lite app: it was available for download on the Play Store for several weeks before the retailer officially announced it.
With the launch of Kindle Lite and now a lightweight browser, Amazon is expanding its ecosystem efforts in India. The Amazon Prime subscription in India is the best deal in e-commerce today, with an annual membership costing just $15 (₹999) in the country (opens in new tab).
Prime subscribers also get unlimited access to Prime Video, and Amazon recently rolled out Amazon Music in the country, giving customers the ability to stream millions of songs for free. With its foot firmly in the door when it comes to music and video streaming, it now looks like Amazon is set to increase its presence in India by introducing lightweight apps tailored for budget phones.
Download Amazon Internet from the Play Store (free) (opens in new tab)
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
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