Chrome 51 For Android Goes Easier On Your Battery, Ditches Merged Tabs

There's a new version of Google's Chrome browser available for Android devices, one that includes "two barges full of performance and stability fixes." The new build, Chrome 51, also brings tabs back into the Chrome application rather than continuing to utilize the merged babs feature that was introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop in 2014.

The "Merged tabs and apps" feature made Chrome put open tabs in the app switcher instead of having them all in one place. It was a change that users generally disliked, and though Google included the option of disabling the feature, it was turned on by default. With the release of Chrome 51, Google's gone back to the previous tab layout as the default and removed the merged option completely.


Android users should also see better battery life when browsing the web with Chrome 51. Like the desktop release, Chrome 51 for Android includes optimizations to reduce power consumption by more than a third. Part of the way it achieves this through a retooled offscreen rendering scheme—Chrome 51 throttles rendering frames that can't be seen.

Overall, in this test throttling reduced power usage by 37 percent. The page with the highest power usage ( has several heavy per-frame timers, which could motivate a subsequent intervention to throttle timers for out-of-view frames," Google stated in a report summarizing the power usage impact of stopping running Blink's rendering pipeline for out-of-view frames.

Other improvements that Chrome 51 brings to Android include a new Credential Management API that allows developers to use Chrome's credential managers for more than just storing passwords, and improvements to scrolling.

You can download the new Chrome build from Google Play.