Chrome Beta includes simpler tab switcher for low-memory phones

Behind all the visual changes and feature additions, Android 4.4 KitKat is all about optimizing the way Android uses memory, including a new API for handling devices with as little as 512MB of RAM. And it seems this focus has extended to Google's Chrome browser too — Googler François Beaufort points out on Google+ that the latest Chrome Beta includes an alternative tab-switcher for low-RAM phones. As you'll see above, it consists of just a text description and icon, as opposed to a full-page preview.

Beaufort says the new layout is designed to be simpler and is specifically targeted at "low memory KitKat devices." In the current Chrome 31 beta it can be enabled by navigating to chrome://flags/#accessibility-tab-switcher and flipping the switch manually. The idea, presumably, is that when entry-level KitKat phones begin shipping this new tab-switcher will automatically replace the traditional card-based layout, while leaving the standard interface in place on beefier phones like the Nexus 5.

Source: +François Beaufort

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.