Developer: Cake Technologies, Inc.
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Mobile browser apps like Safari and Chrome have gotten very good at translating the web browsing experience to a tiny screen. But they’re still essentially rooted in the old desktop browsing era.
Cake is an app that sets out to rebuild mobile web browsing from the ground up. It’s heavily focused on modern concerns like mobile navigation, privacy, and data security.
At the heart of Cake is an innovative swipe-based navigation system. When you initiate a web search from its home page (you can choose your search engine from Yahoo, Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo) the app will essentially load up its top hits in separate tabs. You can then navigate between these pages with lateral swipes.
This bypasses the fiddly process of scrolling down through text-heavy search results – a process that dates back to the early days of the public-facing internet in the ’90s.
It’s a weirdly liberating process, particularly when you’re browsing on the move, where it becomes a true one-handed experience. However, it can also be fairly imprecise. You might well find what you want, but it could be a circuitous route to get there.
Cake’s recent update (v5.0) added a more traditional results page offering a list of results. This does dilute the purity of the Cake concept somewhat, and you might even see it as conceding defeat to the old way of thinking.
But it also makes Cake a far more useful and flexible web browser. Especially when you factor in all of its other attributes.
The app looks great, for one thing, with chunky fonts and clear UI elements. The home screen offers clear and immediate links to essentials such as Favorites and History, as well as trending terms and suggested sites. It also gives you a handy Collections tab, which lets you bunch multiple web pages into themed folders.
Navigating web pages is a speedy and intuitive experience, though an awful lot of functionality here is stashed behind the ‘more’ button at the bottom. You’ll need to press this to gain access to sharing buttons, favorite options, and the ability to unblock ads for the site among others.
Speaking of which, Cake also goes big on privacy. Its ad blocker is turned on by default, and you can set the app to require authentication before it even allows you to use it.
There’s a Private browsing mode, and we particularly liked the quick and intuitive ability to shut down any private tabs after three minutes of the app being closed.
Cake’s creative rethink of mobile web browsing norms might not tear you away from Safari and Chrome, but it is a genuinely appealing alternative if you’re fed up of funneling all your web traffic through the usual suspects.
- Fluid swipe-based navigation
- Neat privacy options
- Decent customisation
- Core system fairly imprecise
- Overloaded 'more' button