Chromium Optimized for Snapdragon Devices
Optimized for Snapdragon processors, new Chromium browser aims to please
What in the world is CAF?
Remember CAF? You might have seen that name all over the forums back when kernel developers for Qualcomm Snapdragon devices maintained two separate forks of their work. One for code based on Google’s AOSP, and another based on CAF. Code Aurora Forum is maintained by the Linux Foundation, and is where Qualcomm releases the reference sources for their various platforms. Most OEMs base their kernel source off of what’s provided by Qualcomm. On the other hand AOSP works off of a fork of CAF for each Android software iteration, introducing new features for all Android devices along the way. Over time, CAF then introduces its own optimizations intended specifically for Snapdragon devices.
Chromium is the open-source version of Google’s Chrome browser. To little fanfare, a group of developers at the Code Aurora Forum have been working on optimizing Chromium for Snapdragon devices. You can follow their progress on their project page where you can also build the source code into an APK. Some users who have built an APK out of the source report that the Chromium browser version is only on v42, and is thus outdated. It is generally not advisable to run outdated browser software due to the many security flaws that are discovered and promptly patched between each version. However, it seems that the latest stable version of Chromium, v46, has recently been merged into the project source so you should expect to be able to run the latest version very soon.
The developers maintaining the CAF build have not only optimized the browser for Snapdragon devices, but have also introduced many key features that users on our forums clamor for from other web browsers. In addition to all of the features you’ll find in the official Google Chrome builds, the Snapdragon optimized Chromium browser includes:
- Night Mode
- In-built ad-blocker
- Power Saving mode that limits the number of processor cores and throttles core speeds to reduce power draw
- Revamped download page with the ability to select which directory to save each file
- Side-swiping ability to allow you to move forward/back depending on which edge you swipe from (right/left respectively)
Subjectively, it feels like the CAF optimizations have made the browsing experience much faster. I ran the SunSpider browser benchmark on Chrome Dev from the Google Play Store versus the CAF optimized Chromium build, and ended up with a score of 996.7 ms +/- 17.5% for Chrome Dev compared to 761.6ms +/- 13.8% for the CAF optimized build. For developers interested in making a web browser, the developers on CAF have provided a customization page with instructions on adding features such as a URL and DOM (Document Object Model) manipulator to hide unwanted content. Whether you’re a developer looking to build a new web browser or a regular user looking for a faster alternative to Chrome, this browser should definitely suit your needs.
Is Chrome your default browser? Have you tried this Chromium build? Let us know your browser preferences in the comments!