What I don’t fully appreciate, obviously, is why anyone would bother to compete with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, or even Mozilla’s famous Firefox with another free browser? Those browsers are fast, packed with features, and free. What’s the business model for a competitor like Roccat Browser?
Odd Duck Out
If differentiation is a key to successful product marketing, then any new product to compete against industry standards and market leaders would need something different. Therefore, ipso facto, Roccat Browser thinks different.
It’s still free, and there’s both an iPhone and iPad version in addition to the Mac app, but Roccat has a few functions to differentiate itself from the browser leaders.
For example, there’s VisiTabs, an elegant way to view a thumbnail preview image of each website in a tab (it’s customizable and movable, too). Yet, Roccat takes a cue from Safari with the Roccat Reader mode for distraction free website reading. Rocket’s RClouds is a feature that lets you backup open tabs, browser history and bookmarks, plus other settings, online and available to Roccat on Mac, iPhone and iPad.
Roccat has a unique feature in Navigate Launchers which are bookmark-like shortcuts to favorite websites. The Flick feature lets you flick or share a website from Roccat on Mac to other Macs, iPhones, or iPads using Roccat Browser.
You also get controls over cookie management, bookmark import, hidden web browsing, and options to change the browser’s User Agents. Visually, Roccat has a few interesting effects, too, which glow on input fields or allow text fields to enlarge. The latest version has a feature called Roccat Draw which allows the option to draw on website pages displayed within the browser.
There’s an old saying among veteran software developers. No app is feature complete until it does email. That means Roccat Browser isn’t feature complete yet, but it does have an Email Link Previewer (which only preview the link itself, not a message). The built-in eBuddy Widget lets you chat with Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, and AIM friends.
In summary, Roccat Browser is decent, and the sync options between Mac, iPhone, and iPad make it worth usage right away. My worry is the business model. Why invest time and effort into a free app if it won’t be around in a couple of years. If ever there was an underdog browser, it’s this one.