It’s been a surprisingly busy week for Android browser makers — a redesigned version of Firefox for Android graduated from beta, as did Google’s mobile version of Chrome, and now the folks behind Dolphin have just announced their new Dolphin Garage program to spur third-party development for the platform.
And how are they actually doing this? By opening up access to nearly 150 APIs that allow developers greater access to the browser’s UI as well as the URLs, browsing histories, and data from the website currently being viewed.
To help celebrate the launch of their Garage program, Dolphin also pulled back the curtains on a handful of new add-ons from Evernote, Dropbox, Pocket that they’ve helped develop in response to user requests.
Though they’ve made much ado about fleshing out their browser with native add-ons, that’s not all that the team at MoboTap aimed for with Garage. They also wanted to put more of a focus on their efforts with HTML5, especially after they claimed their Engine Beta was the “highest performing HTML5 mobile browser” last week.
“We’ve done a lot of tuning in Dolphin for HTML5, and we want to show developers that it’s a strong foundation to build on,” said MoboTap marketing head Edith Yeung. To that end, they’ve also released a PhoneGap add-on for the mobile browser that enables it to play nice with thin-client web apps created using Adobe’s Phonegap framework. With PhoneGap support on board, Dolphin hopes that developers will create richer browsing experiences using HTML5 that can translate into the mobile space as well.
As Yeung told TechCrunch, with Garage they want to “promote this sort of ecosystem” to other browser developers in hopes that they’ll follow suit. On some level though they’re already preaching to the crowd — Firefox for Mobile has had support for 3rd-party add-ons since last year, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Chrome for Android would get that sort of functionality down the line.