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"Nightglow" Offers Tabbed Browsing For The iPhone/iPod Touch, But It’s A Resource Hog

May 19, 2009

12

Over the past few years, tabs have become one of those must-have features in a web browser. The mobile web is a bit different obviously, because the screen is so small, but some mobile browsers like mobile Safari give you the option to have multiple windows in which to browse. But let’s be honest, multiple windows are a pain, we want tabs. And with Nightglow, a new browser for the iPhone, you can get them.

Nightglow allows you have have up to four tabs open at any given time. They reside in the upper left (or right, if you change the settings) side of the window and each page is distinguished by its favicon. Tapping on that icon will quickly switch you from page to page. The method is a lot faster than using Safari’s page-switching option. But with this speed there’s a downside: Overall system speed — Nightglow is a resource hog.

I’ve been testing the app out today and a number of times I’ve gotten the system resource warning message. The only other apps that have triggered that in my iPhone before have been huge games like SimCity.

Something else which is slightly annoying is that unlike other third-party quasi-browsers on the iPhone (I call them this because they are really just new wrappers for the Safari browser), Nightglow cannot rotate the screen when you rotate your iPhone or iPod touch. Actually, that’s a point of debate right now at the TechCrunch office right now. Some of us love that auto-rotate feature, others of us hate it. I hate it because it makes browsing while lying in bed a pain. And Nightglow actually touts not rotating as a feature.

Nightglow also features an easy way to dim and brighten your screen, has options for finger gestures and has fairly nice way to easily search YouTube, Wikipedia and Google. Another nice feature is that Nightglow remembers the pages you last had opened in the tabs.

If you’re addicted to tabbed browsing, you should definitely check out Nightglow. I suspect that with subsequent releases they’ll fix the performance issues. I’m not a huge fan of the UI either beyond the tabs, but that’s just a matter of taste.

Nightglow, which was made by Synthereal Co., LTD, a Japanese development company, is available now in the App Store for an introductory price of $0.99. After that, it will be $2.99. Find it here [iTunes Direct Link]. And watch more about it in the video below.

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