Outcoder, the software development company behind other popular apps such as Intellicam just released a significant update for Surfy, a feature-rich web browser app that combines innovative speech capabilities with a desktop like tabbed browsing experience.
Surfy was one of the first web browser apps for Windows Phone. It was first released in early 2011 to some controversy; being mistakenly rejected from Marketplace certification because it was a third party browser. (http://wmpoweruser.com/surfy-alternate-ie-shell-for-wp7-having-a-hard-time-getting-to-market/)
Since its initial release for Windows Phone 7, it has been completely overhauled and re-released for Windows Phone 8. According to the lead developer Daniel Vaughan, the company delayed publicizing Surfy for Windows Phone 8 due to stability problems caused by an issue in the Windows Phone operating system. This issue has since been resolved with the GDR2 Windows Phone update, which most users now have.
The latest version of Surfy (version 2.3) includes voice command support. This allows you to launch your favorite web pages using your voice. Simply hold down the Windows button on your phone and say, for example, “Surfy, open Facebook.” In addition, when you add a favorite, the title of the favorite is used as the voice command phrase. Voice commands are only supported when the phone’s Speech Language is set to English US or English GB.
In addition to Surfy’s voice command feature, the app supports text to speech, which allows you to listen to a page while you browse other pages. This is great when you are multitasking or on your way to or from work. The text to speech technology in Surfy works offline, and is designed to be multilingual. The app selects the appropriate speaking voice according to the detected language of the page that you are viewing. This is especially useful in places like Europe, where many users tend to view pages both in English and in their native language. In this scenario, Surfy seamlessly switches its reading voice from e.g. English to French, without having to change any app settings.
Another subtle feature of Surfy that shouldn’t go unnoticed, is Surfy’s full-featured browsing experience when visiting Google owned sites, such as Google search and YouTube. Surfy impersonates an Android device to enable you to log in to Google, an option which is not available on most other browsers including Internet Explorer for Windows Phone.
Surfy comes with a myriad of other features, including:
- Mobile optimization that reduces data usage to save you money and time
- Disable images
- Private browsing prevents your history from being saved
- Full-screen support
- Save images via a context menu
- Open links in a new or background tab via a context menu
- Change the UI language and the language of requested pages
- Set website viewing preference to mobile or desktop
- Night dimmer, which decreases screen brightness when viewing pages in the dark
- Pin pages to the phone’s start screen
- Autocomplete – Surfy suggests links by searching the web as you type in the URL box
- Landscape and portrait support – with the ability to lock orientation via an onscreen lock that becomes visible when the orientation changes
- Fluid interface with desktop like tabbed browsing
- Listen to pages using any of the phones installed languages. Surfy detects the language of the page and selects the appropriate Text to Speech voice
- Play videos
- Fast app resume allows you to quickly restore the app after you’ve switched out of the app
- Hide or show the system tray
- Share pages via Email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
The free version of Surfy provides three browser tabs. While the paid version provides 6 tabs and the ability to increase the number of tabs and enable other features via in-app purchases. To celebrate the new release of Surfy, the paid version of Surfy is now half price, at 1.49 USD reduced from 3.00 USD.
See a video demo after the break.