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It's rare when an app in the Android Market gets a feature that its iOS counterpart doesn't have (especially a coveted one), but for the past month, Dolphin users on Android have been navigating their browsers with Sonar, the latest innovation for one of the most feature-rich mobile options around. But rejoice, iPhone users – the wait is over.
Dolphin Sonar – available as a $0.99 in-app purchase within the existing Dolphin Browser app – lets you control the browser without lifting a finger. Powered by the same technology that allegedly makes Siri so smart (but thankfully not limited to the iPhone 4S), Sonar pretty much blows Siri out of the water, at least as far as Safari is concerned. Where the Siri-Safari tandem is limited to basic Google searches, Sonar can negotiate a number of commands; and since Nuance's Dragon Mobile SDK is under the hood, it's surprisingly accurate.
The Sonar interface (also Siri-like) launches with a quick shake of your phone and is instantly ready to listen. A series of helpful horizontal scrolling commands helps get things started, and they all work as advertised: "New tab" and "close tab;" "Twitter Mac|Life" or "Facebook Mac|Life" (to specifically scan the social networks for people talking about us); "eBay iPhone" to search eBay for iPhones; or "Watch Steve Jobs keynotes" to round up YouTube videos. Sonar responded quickly to each of our queries and rarely missed its mark.
Dolphin links Sonar functionality with its own features, too. Saying "Speed Dial" brought up our favorites list and "add bookmark" worked, too, though we still needed to finish the process with a tap. MoboTap says that there are commands to move up and down the page, but we couldn't figure those out in our pre-release version.
Non-iPhone 4S users may feel like the shackles have been lifted, but even somewhat seasoned Siri users should find Dolphin Sonar to be a sound improvement over Safari's voice-activated features. The Sonar function is available now for Dolphin Browser on iPhone.