The Samsung Internet Android app surpassed half a billion installs earlier this week, as evidenced by its recently updated Google Play Store listing which estimates the mobile browser has been installed between 500 million and a billion times. Samsung Internet originally debuted in 2012, with its backend being transitioned to Google's open-source Chromium project a year later. While primarily designed for Galaxy-branded devices, the app is also compatible with many other models from third-party manufacturers, though such handsets and tablets aren't believed to make up a significant portion of its total install base. Samsung Internet has been the default web browser of the company's Android offerings for over half a decade now and is expected to have the same role on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, the upcoming flagship duo scheduled to be officially announced tomorrow.
As of late October and the release of the app build 6.2, Samsung Internet is compatible with the vast majority of phones and tablets running Android 5.0 Lollipop and later versions of Google's mobile operating system. Every pre-installed variant of the app counts toward the 500 million figure cited by the Play Store but with Samsung not disclosing its detailed usage statistics, it's presently unclear how many people rely on the firm's app as their mobile Internet browser of choice. The tool supported content blocking since early 2016, a feature that's only now making its way to Google's Chrome, albeit in a more limited capacity. On a fundamental level, Samsung Internet is described as running on almost unchanged Chromium with optimizations for Galaxy-branded devices.
The latest version of Samsung Internet hit the Google Play Store two weeks ago, debuting a new download manager, as well as a variety of bug fixes and performance improvements. Samsung's mobile app portfolio has largely been developed to rival that of Google and provide owners of Galaxy devices with a unique experience with comparable features. The Seoul-based tech giant was recently rumored to be working on its own messaging platform with social media features called either "Uhssup" or "Samsung Social," with some insiders even claiming the functionality will debut on the Galaxy S9 lineup, though that suggestion remains highly dubious and unconfirmed.