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Rockmelt launches Android app with enhanced navigation

The social browser creates a unique Android app that introduces navigation for bigger screens and "elevator buttons" for improved scrolling.

Rockmelt's Android app. Rockmelt

After tinkering and perfecting, Rockmelt has finally released its app for Android.

The company announced Wednesday that to get this app ready for the public, it had to make sure it was "the right experience for Android users and not merely a port of an iOS app."

So, what are the differences between the social browser's Android and iOS app? A lot.

First of all, the Android app is tooled for bigger screens, which means navigation is at the bottom of the screen in portrait mode and on the right in landscape mode. Also, as users scroll through the app, the navigation disappears to show-off more of the app's content -- and then reappears when needed.

There are even more Android-specific features. Here's how Rockmelt describes them in a blog post:

One of the next features we added to Rockmelt for Android makes content consumption easier. How many times have you scrolled past numerous stories when a notification for new content presents itself? We can't resist tapping on that button to see the delight that the Internet may offer. But after glancing at the new content, returning to the previous place in the app is sometimes just too much work! We added something pretty simple but so easy to use - elevator buttons.

Tap the up arrow to see new content and when you're ready, tap the down arrow to return to where you were. We hope this inspires others to implement something similar on any content service because as content streams become more prevalent, we could really use this in more products.

When users flip their phones into landscape mode for texting, game playing or video watching, it's a shame not to take advantage of that option. Just turn your phone to the right and you'll see twice as many stories. Navigation moves over to nestle under your thumb when you do this.

Rockmelt is an Internet browser launched by Tim Howes and Eric Vishria in 2010 (it's still in beta). One of its backers is the king of venture capital Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape.

Instead of being all-inclusive like other browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, Rockmelt emphasizes social features -- especially ones relating to Facebook. Users can update their Facebook status and Tweet, and chat with their friends all via the social browser.

Rockmelt debuted its iPad app last October and released an iPhone app redesigned for a smaller screen in December.