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Some annoyances in life are so subtle that we hardly notice. But once you see one, it’s hard to ignore. Take what happens when you tap a link in your Android Twitter client: A browser pops open, of course. And then you patiently wait, staring at a blank screen, until the page loads. If you’re anything like most Android users, you do this again, again, and yet again — countless times over the course of a given day. Link Bubble is one browser that says it doesn’t have to be this way.

In a Nutshell

Link Bubble opens links in the background, letting you get on with whatever you’re doing until the link is fully ready for viewing. While the link is busy loading, you see it as a tiny spinning circle (similar to a Facebook Chat Head Chat Heads & Stickers - Check Out The New Features on Facebook Messenger [Weekly Facebook Tips] Chat Heads & Stickers - Check Out The New Features on Facebook Messenger [Weekly Facebook Tips] Have you already noticed the latest features of Facebook chat on iOS and Facebook Messenger on Android? Prior to the release of Facebook Home, Facebook's chat app received an update which included Chat Heads and... Read More ). When it’s ready, tap the circle, and you get a full browser window all ready for you to read. It’s a great timesaver, and it comes from a well-known developer: Chris Lacy, the same guy behind previously-reviewed Action Launcher Action Launcher, Reviewed: An Android Launcher That Tries To Be Truly Different Action Launcher, Reviewed: An Android Launcher That Tries To Be Truly Different Tap tap, swipe swipe, goes your Android launcher. No matter how "unique" and "alternative" most launchers try to be, they end up looking pretty much the same. Read More .

In Daily Use: Takes Getting Used To

I’ve been using Link Bubble for several weeks now, and for the most part, it works as advertised:

linkbubble-1

To top-left screenshot shows the way I have it set up on my device. Note that Link Bubble is not my default browser, neither is Chrome. That’s because I found that when I set Link Bubble as the default (i.e, tap “Always”), strange stuff tends to happen. This is most noticeable on email confirmation pages and API access permission pages (“allow this app to access to your Twitter account” and so on). By explicitly choosing Link Bubble every time, you lose some of the convenience but you gain in reliability.

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Not Completely Seamless

Some links were not meant for the browser. For example, when you tap on a video, you probably want it to open in a video player (YouTube or another app). Link Bubble forwrads you to the relevant app, and even offers to select which of your installed video players you want to use:

linkbubble-3

The top-left screenshot shows what happens when I tap a link to a video on my Twitter client (I still use the excellent Tweetings Tweetings, Reviewed: One Of The Best, Most Customizable Twitter Clients for Android Today Tweetings, Reviewed: One Of The Best, Most Customizable Twitter Clients for Android Today Twitter is loud. It is noisy, messy, fast, and random. But it can also be wonderfully human, inspiring, informative, and rewarding. It all depends on how you use it. Read More , by the way). Link Bubble knows I have alternative YouTube client Viral Pro How to Play YouTube Videos In The Background, And Even With The Screen Off How to Play YouTube Videos In The Background, And Even With The Screen Off It is not often a third-party developer gets to beat Google at its own game. And yet, the official YouTube video app contains some glaring annoyances that just cry out to be fixed. Read More installed, and so offers to use it as the default. This means that whenever I tap a link to a YouTube video and open it with Link Bubble, I’d get automatically transported into Viral Pro with the correct video loaded.

This worked well the first time, but did not hold for all future activations. The top-right screenshot shows the Recent Apps screen on my phone: You can see Viral first (with the original video I opened), then Tweetings again (where I kept reading my timeline), then YouTube (which Link Bubble opened next time I tapped on a video).

A Nice Complement For a Twitter Client

My main use for Link Bubble is when browsing Twitter:

linkbubble-2

I tend to tap on a link, scroll some more while it loads in the background, tap on another link, and so on. When a bunch of links finish loading, I tap on the Link Bubble circle and read them all. The top-right screenshot shows sharing: You can tap on one of the circles and drag it to either of the sharing bubbles (I have Pocket and Tweetings configured), or flick it down to remove it. It works, and it’s great.

You Should Try It

Link Bubble is an app you can’t decide about just from reading. You have to feel it on your own phone and see how it meshes with your own workflow. Give the free version a try, and if you like it, get the Pro version which allows you to open more than one tab and load links from all apps on your device.

  1. robbieD
    May 17, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amine D
    May 9, 2014 at 12:54 am

    It is a good idea, I wish seeing this app in IOS soon :)

  3. Tony Karakashian
    May 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I gave it a try on recommendation, and found I do like it. I use it primarily for browsing Google+ on my tablet, but since you're limited to one app in the free version I haven't bothered trying it elsewhere yet. The limitations of needing two browsers, and constantly having to select which one you want for a default could get tiring, though.

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