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UC Browser

UC Browser
uc 10.1.09 screenshot
Slogan UC Inside, World in Hand
Developer(s) UCWeb
Initial release August 2004
Stable release 10.7.2.645 for Android / September 29, 2015 (2015-09-29)
Preview release V10.7.2.645[1]
Operating system iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows RT, S60, J2ME, Windows CE, Bada, Microsoft Windows, MTK, BREW
Size 16 MB
Available in Chinese, English, Russian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, French (until V9.9.6.495)
Type Mobile browser
License Proprietary
Website .comucweb

UC Browser is a mobile browser developed by Chinese mobile Internet company UCWeb (also known as UC Mobile). Originally launched in April 2004 as a J2me-only application, it is available on platforms including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, Java ME, and BlackBerry.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

With a huge user base in China, strong adoption in India and continued growth in emerging regional markets, UC Browser reached 500 million global users in March 2014.[8]

Contents

  • Features 1
    • UC+: HTML5, WebApp and Add-ons 1.1
    • Download management 1.2
    • Data compression 1.3
    • Cloud system 1.4
    • Sharing 1.5
  • Platforms 2
    • iOS 2.1
    • Windows 2.2
    • Windows Phone 2.3
  • Localization strategy 3
  • Ecosystem partnership 4
  • Reception 5
    • Awards 5.1
    • Market adoption 5.2
    • Security 5.3
  • References 6

Features

The browser uses cloud acceleration and data compression technology. UC Browser's servers act as a proxy which compresses the data of web pages before sending it to users. This process helps load web content faster. The browser can adapt to different network environments and support multi-file format downloading. In addition, UC Browser has HTML5 web app and cloud syncing features.

UC Browser is available on several smartphone and feature phone platforms, but Android represents the largest user-base for the company, with 300 million of its 500 million total on Google's mobile OS.[9]

UC+: HTML5, WebApp and Add-ons

In July 2013, UCWeb announced the UC+ Open Platform. The platform consists of a WebApp store, an Add-on Platform and an Application Bookmark Platform. It went live with the launch of UC Browser v9.2 for Android.[10]

Developers can use an SDK provided to create programs that can be called on in different usage scenarios. Users can download them from the browser's add-on panel to get a more personalized internet browsing experience, like the sharing to SNS, webpage translation, augmented reality, voice control, etc.[3] The Application Bookmark Platform allows partner websites to put up a QR code on UC Browser for users to scan the code and add the webpage to their bookmarks. The UC WebApp Center was one of the first for mobile WebApps in China.[4]

Download management

The browser supports simultaneous downloads and includes a download manager, including pages for offline reading. It supports pause-and-resume downloads.[11] The new version of download manager has improved features to solve problems while downloading such as an intermittent internet connection and mislabeled files.[12] The download process will continue even after you completely close UC Browser and the download process will automatically resume if the download is interrupted for some reason, again, all in the background.[13] The download manager automatically sorts downloaded files according to their type and places them in the respective folders.[14]

Data compression

Data compression reduces data consumption while users are browsing. Since 2006, UC Browser has been leveraging more compression and rendering work on its server, similar to the operation of a thin client.[15]

Cloud system

The cloud system used by the browser distributes data from the closest servers. As a result, the loading process is quicker and smoother. A "View it later" mode caches web pages with their videos, images and text for offline viewing.[16]

Sharing

UC Browser can be used to share to Facebook and Twitter, with the WP version offering more sharing options. [17]

Platforms

UC Browser is compatible with a number of operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry and Symbian.[18]

Android represents the largest user-base for the browser, with 300 million of its 500 million total on Google's mobile OS.[9] There are three versions of UC Browser available on Google Play, including UC Browser Mini for Android,[19] UC Browser for Android,[20] and UC Browser HD for Android.[21]

iOS

UC Browser for iOS was first introduced in 2010. Now, there are two versions of UC Browsers available on App Store, which are UC Browser+ for iPhone [22] and UC Browser+ HD for iPad.[23]

Windows

UC Browser 5.4 is currently available for Windows.[24][25]

Windows Phone

UC Browser was released for Windows Phone in early 2012, and it is now the most downloaded third-party web browser on the OS.[26][27] Its popular features include Download, Incognito Browsing and Wi-Fi Sharing.[28]

Localization strategy

The company announced its "Going Glocal" strategy in 2012. By providing different versions for English, Russian, Indonesian, Vietnamese and more, the company hopes to better serve its growing international user base.[29] The company is taking advantage of its own server networks which enable the browser to deliver customized contents to users all around the world. Besides the technical issues, the company refers to local designers and experts to accommodate local cultures and tastes, according to CEO Yongfu Yu.[30] The logo of UC Browser was redesigned in December 2012, from a cute cartoon squirrel to a more abstract and stylized icon that's more in line with American designs.[31]

Ecosystem partnership

UCWeb customized its browser for Vodafone's Indian customers in May 2013.[32]

In May 2013, UCWeb announced a partnership with Trend Micro. Under the agreement, both companies will work to provide mobile web safety assessments in the browser.[33]

In August 2013, UC Browser provided distribution channels of companies like AppURL Initiative.[34]

In August 2013, with exclusive distributors, Gameloft licensed UC Browser to sell its products[35]

Reception

Awards

  • The 2011 Readers' Choice Awards Winners: Best Mobile (Non-iPad or iPhone) Browser[36] by About.com
  • The 2012 Readers' Choice Awards Winners: Best Android Browser[37] by About.com
  • Red Herring 2012 Asia Top 100 Awards[38]
  • Frost & Sullivan Best Practice Award 2013 was presented to UCWeb, the developer of UC Browser.[39]
  • The 2014 Readers' Choice Awards Winners: Best Windows Phone Browser[40] by About.com

Market adoption

UC Browser claimed to have reached 500 million users in March 2014,[9] which derives from benefit of its large user base in China (34.83% as of July 2013, according to StatCounter[41]) and their rapidly growing Indian market. In October 2012, it topped Opera in Google Play's free Android app download category in India for the first time.[42] According to a third-party web analytics firm, StatCounter, UC Browser surpassed Opera as India’s top mobile browser with 32.82 percent of the market share to Opera's 26.91 percent.[43] Google Zeitgeist 2013 revealed that the “Most Searched Mobile Apps” in India were dominated by messaging and browsing apps, with WhatsApp and UC Browser topping the rankings for the most number of searches on mobile in 2013.[44]

Security

In May 2015, documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) had identified UC Browsers as a security weak point. Its widespread use in China, India and Southeast Asia made it particularly attractive to ASD. In cooperation with its Five Eyes partners, ASD hacked the UC Browser and infected smartphones with spyware. In the process, it was discovered that another intelligence agency had also hacked UC Browser and was using it in operations targeted at Western countries.[45]

In May 2015, a research group named Citizen Lab published news about leaking of privacy details of several UC browser users.[46]

References

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  4. ^ a b UC Browser for Windows IPhone on Microsoft App Store
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  29. ^ About UCWeb - UCWeb Official Website
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