When I first tried out RockMelt earlier this year, I wasn’t able to use the browser because it actually kept crashing for me. In essence it was completely useless. While not completely useless this time around, it definitely needs some significant work, including the iPhone version that just came out.
Searches By Default
Let’s start with one of the more annoying features of the application that I found. For most web browsers, the bar at the top of the screen typically responds to URLs that are entered — not Rockmelt! Instead, you need to enter a URL, then select an option which says “Open URL” in order to get where you are trying to go. The fact that I need to click multiple times just to navigate to a specific webpage is an immediate product killer. I’ve found that the Google Chrome model is the best browser navigation interface in that it automatically determines whether or not you have entered a URL or a search query.
Missing The Click To Zoom
One of the greatest features of Apple’s default browser on iOS, Safari, is that when you are visiting websites with content, you can simply double tap on the screen to zoom in. Safari will then automatically determine what you clicked on and zoom to fit the content. While a web browser may not typically have this feature, this is critical on a mobile device. Once zoomed in, RockMelt appears to respond to my double tap, but I’m not quite sure what the browser is doing as it just zooms to a random point on the page.
Is Facebook Broken?
RockMelt’s key value offering is integration with Facebook and Twitter. In other words, it’s supposed to be the next “social browser.” When I went to go view my Facebook news feed and my Facebook notifications, nothing worked. Since this was supposed to be the core feature, it’s kind of surprising that it didn’t work. Then again, the product didn’t work for me on the desktop, so why should I expect it to work on my phone?
Overall It Sucks
While I’d like to be able to say that this app effectively reflects RockMelt’s $10 million in funding, this app is unfortunately broken. To be fair, I’d probably never switch browsers on my iPhone unless it was quicker or easier. For RockMelt, the company hasn’t accomplished either of these goals. Instead, it’s made the browser more “social,” something that I’m really not looking for on my mobile phone. Perhaps one of our readers can explain why they actually found RockMelt to be a useful product on their phone.