Why do so few Mobile Web Browsers Offer a Distraction-Free Reading Mode?
I am having a problem, and you might be able to help.
Earlier today I set out to write a post which was going to round up all of the mobile web browsers and explain how to access the ad-free reading mode. I wanted to show you how to find a way strip out the ads and see something like this demo of the "Reading View" mode from Amazon Silk:
That looks a lot better than the average web page (which would likely be encumbered with ads), right?
I was going to write a post which explained how to find this kind of reading mode in all the leading mobile browsers, and that brings me to my problem.
Most mobile browsers don’t have this feature.
If you’re browsing the web from the iPad or iPhone, you can find a feature like this in Safari (it’s called Reader Mode). If you’re browsing from the Kindle Fire, Silk has a similar feature called Article View. And at least one Kobo tablet (the 2012 Arc) has this feature in the stock web browser.
But if you want to browse from Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Dolphin, you’re out of luck. None of those browsers have this kind of reading mode – not on Android, anyway.
Update: Or perhaps I am wrong about Firefox. Some versions of Firefox do have this feature:
@thDigitalReader In Firefox for Android, tap the little book icon in the address bar once the page has loaded.
— Felix (@felixplesoianu) May 2, 2014
There are Chrome and Firefox plugins that will add this feature, but I can’t find a version of those plugins which will work with the Android version of each web browser. And while Dolphin supposedly has a plugin which does the job, it doesn’t work for me. (If I missed a hidden feature on any of those web browsers, please let me know.)
This being 2014, I was expecting this to be a standard feature on all mobile web browsers, but it is turning out to be rather hard to find.
So here’s how you can help. Do you know of a way to access a distraction-free reading mode in a mobile web browser?
If so, share it in the comments. I would like to find alternatives, and I’m sure that I am not the only one. While most mobile web browsers are good enough that this reading mode is not required, I still like having the option.