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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). 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.
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:
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.
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:
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, by the way). Link Bubble knows I have alternative YouTube client Viral Pro 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:
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.