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Mozilla The Internet

Web Browser Wars Go Mobile 132

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the beep-beep-beep-beep-yeah dept.
alphadogg writes "A new generation of mobile Web browsers is finally making the Web a reality on handheld devices. The latest example is last week's beta launch of Opera Mobile 9.5, a native Web browser for high-end smartphones. It's an evolutionary release for the Norwegian software company, but it comes just days after Apple's iPhone 3G, with its highly capable Safari browser, went on sale. Other brand-new entrants, such as Mobile Firefox and Skyfire, are expected later this year, at least in beta form. But the evolving mobile browsers are only one part of the picture. Mobile browsing is affected by the client hardware, ranging from the processor to the kind of wireless network being used, all of which have improved markedly. It's also affected by the design of Web sites being targeted, and there's new attention being focused on optimizing these sites for mobile users."
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Web Browser Wars Go Mobile

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  • Opera Mini (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lord_mike (567148) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:50AM (#24276531)

    Opera Mini is the only way to go for mobile devices. It is a graphical client running on micro-java on your phone that talks to a proxy server which actually brings up the web page you want, then translates it into a highly compressed data stream, and then is presented on your mobile device in hi resolution goodness! Obviously flash doesn't work, and some Ajax (although a surprising amount is supported), but the web pages come up fast and in the same format as your browser. The same cannot be said of other mobile browsers, since they have to deal with the original data streams on very slow 3g connections. Opera mini is a much more pleasant experience. Try it!

    • gzip is highly compressed, too.
    • by MacDork (560499)

      Opera Mini is the only way to go for mobile devices

      Not on the iPhone. Opera's not allowed.

    • Re:Opera Mini (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mikael_j (106439) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#24276849)

      Are you kidding? "very slow 3g connections"? I guess you don't remember when 14.4 kbps modems were considered blazing fast because to me bringing up most websites in Safari on my iPhone 3G is very snappy unless I'm somewhere with bad coverage so that my phone has to resort to connecting using Edge.

      Also, the user interface when using Safari on the iPhone 3G is vastly superior to anything else I've experienced on a cellphone, including a bunch of Opera-using ones. My last phone came with Opera and I really tried to like it but the UI made me want to smash my phone into little pieces....

      /Mikael

      • by DrYak (748999) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:48PM (#24277599) Homepage

        Invent a better bandwidth and webmasters will come with even more junk to fill it.

        I guess you don't remember when 14.4 kbps modems were considered blazing fast

        The main difference on the intertubes is that back then, there weren't already java- or flash- based ads that take 1/4 of your screen estate and play video and audio.
        Speed of internet connection isn't the same as back then but neither is anymore the content of the pages itself (at least if you disable for a moment AdBlock / FlashBlock / NoScript or whatever is your tool to keep the web usable )

        because to me bringing up most websites in Safari on my iPhone 3G is very snappy unless

        This is one of the little situation where it is a blessing that the iPhone uses plain standard HTML/CSS/Javascript and has no (official) support for "thick clients" like Java of Flash. Which are currently the web <strike>vandals'</strike> advertisers' tools of choice to spit their scum.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)

          This is one of the little situation where it is a blessing that the iPhone uses plain standard HTML/CSS/Javascript and has no (official) support for "thick clients" like Java of Flash. Which are currently the web vandals' advertisers' tools of choice to spit their scum.

          Except for Flash/Java games. And YouTube. Now, YouTube is available on the iPhone but only some videos, and it is a lot easier and cheaper to just watch the music video on YouTube then to buy it on iTunes or hunt for the song on Last.FM or your favorite 'Net radio stations. And Flash games would just be awesome using the touch screen....

      • by petehead (1041740)

        Also, the user interface when using Safari on the iPhone 3G is vastly superior to anything else I've experienced on a cellphone, including a bunch of Opera-using ones.

        I'm guessing that you haven't used Opera 9.5 yet. Its much better than the previous versions that would have been on your old phone. This weekend, I messed around with an HTC Touch (EV-DO Rev A) using Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta and an iPhone 3G. Safari is not vastly superior. Some people may find it better, but not by much. Some also may find Opera Mobile better (assuming they work out the beta bugs). Of course, nothing can change the fact that the higher resolution and screen size on the iPhone made it m

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bios_Hakr (68586)

        Safari on the iPhone lacks "open in new tab" and it also forces a reload when you switch back to a tab. So no loading a tab in the background and switching to it once it's loaded. Also, no loading at home on WiFi and reading on the road.

        • reading on the road

          Well that's one way to do an end run around the no talking on your hand held cell phone in the car law.

    • Issues with Opera (Score:5, Informative)

      by c0d3r (156687) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:07PM (#24276881) Homepage Journal

      I was tasked with getting Opera to run on Set Top Boxes not too long ago, and the problem with opera is that its not just install and go like on windows or linux. Granted, it was a custom set-top-box build on linux, once you get the demo binary from opera, it doesn't run and says "cannot open fb0 frame buffer device". Apparently their business trick is to charge you for implementing every driver. They sell a very expensive sdk (more like a ddk), but then you have to develop all of your drivers. We were using a pretty well know SoC (system on chip) from sigma designs, but still didn't have the display drivers and ir drivers. I would suggest going with Mozilla or something that you have the source, otherwise a vendor will tie you in to their solution, and not even give you header files with which to get the embedded browser to work with custom hardware.

    • Re:Opera Mini (Score:5, Interesting)

      by toleraen (831634) * on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:11PM (#24276953)
      Except Mini can only interact with a very limited amount of the host OS. With 4.1 it can finally read and save files, but it's a pain. Its saved pages require converters to view on any other browser. I can't set links to open in Mini by default without serious modifications. It can only use a limited amount of system resources (can't display all images on "heavier" websites)

      The fact that everything goes through Opera's proxy server is good for speed (usually, I've had plenty of times where it sat processing for over a minute on large pages), but do you really want your bank info being pulled up there? And what is this very slow 3G connection you're talking about? Pulling up slashdot on Opera Mobile 9.5 on AT&T's 3G takes about 6 seconds. Formatted perfectly too. Mini is great for simplified browsing, but Mobile is just so much nicer for "real" browsing.
      • by tobiasly (524456)

        Mini is great for simplified browsing, but Mobile is just so much nicer for "real" browsing.

        Agreed... about the best thing one can say about Opera Mini is that it's better than PIE.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Opera Mini is great for Java-enabled devices with otherwise very limited capabilities (such as Nokia's S40 phones). It's not really designed for anything that can actually run a decent HTML renderer on its own (such as, well, iPhone, or any S60 or WM smartphone) - that's what Opera Mobile is for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rob Kaper (5960)

      It's nice, but the downside is that all ads (and other GeoIP/location-based content) are in Norwegian.

      Furthermore, Opera Mini uses the handheld media selector in CSS, which is odd because it's supposed to give you the full browser experience.

    • by krkhan (1071096)
      Safari also doesn't have a stronghold on any mobile devices other than iPhone. Opera Mini on the other hand is the preferred browser for many people on Symbian based phones (Nokia, Sony Ericsson etc.).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      High resolution?
    • by the JoshMeister (742476) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:31PM (#24277293) Homepage Journal

      Opera Mini is the only way to go for mobile devices. [...] Opera mini is a much more pleasant experience. Try it!

      Ugh, I've had a terrible experience with this browser on my Treo 680 (and before that on my Treo 650). I've tried various versions of Opera Mini starting with version 3, then 4, now 4.1, and each time it's been a pain to try to figure out how to keep it from crashing. I was able to get 4.1 working a little better using these instructions [typepad.com], but even then Opera Mini 4.1 still frequently locks up the device, forcing me to have to remove the battery. With earlier versions of Opera Mini 4 I've even reset my Treo to factory defaults and reinstalled everything, and that didn't fix the problem.

      Your mileage may vary, but Opera Mini has been extremely crash-prone and disappointing for me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ncc74656 (45571) *
      Tried it on my Treo 650...had a hell of a time just getting the damn thing to run at all, then found it didn't do substantially better at rendering webpages than Blazer. It certainly wasn't anywhere near a desktop-like browsing experience.

      Blazer works well enough for most quick data lookup purposes. I've knocked together a beer list web app [alfter.us] with it in mind, so that it runs reasonably quickly on my phone. While a more fully-featured browser in my phone would be nice, if push comes to shove, I can just h

    • I have to add a WTF to the person questioning your 'very slow 3g' comment. I get 50KB/s with 200ms round trip times on my mobile phone (which is now a generation behind what the networks are deploying), which is about the same speed as the broadband connection I had in 2001. Considering that some people still use modems to connect to the web, it doesn't seem too slow, being a complete order of magnitude faster than a dial-up connection.
    • by master811 (874700)

      Except Opera Mini isn't designed for Smart phones, its designed for phones with small screens and non-iphone/windows mobile/symbian devices - i.e the majority of mobile phones.

    • by Xoltri (1052470)
      I wasn't aware of all the fancy background stuff going on but I must say I really like Opera Mini on my Curve. It makes mobile browsing usable.

      For example, with my old PPC-6800 (WM6) device, it was a never ending scroll fest to try and find what I was looking for on the page, or god forbid try to read a Wikipedia page. You would have to scroll left and right for each sentence.

      However with Opera Mini you are presented first with a large overview of the entire page and your mouse cursor is a big recta
    • I get low end broadband speeds from my 3G phone (800-1 megabit per second. Even though I have a 15+ megabit FIOS connection at home I find 3G speeds to be quite acceptable and hardly 'very slow'.

    • I found Opera Mini to be a complete pain in the butt on my blackberry. You can't type in input fields, for example, it brings up a secondary input dialog, which you have to OK before you go to the next field or hit submit.

  • Just maybe, a browser will emerge for Windows Mobile that doesn't completely suck.

    Is the ability to actually SAVE files that difficult for this platform? IE and Minimo say so.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      I doubt that was a windows mobile IE supporter, must have been a mozilla fanboy.

      Really, try IE and Minimo on an otherwise fully capable Windows Mobile palmtop. Then see if you have a valid reason for modding this down.

    • by MC Negro (780194) *

      Just maybe, a browser will emerge for Windows Mobile that doesn't completely suck.

      Is the ability to actually SAVE files that difficult for this platform? IE and Minimo say so.

      I personally have been underwhelmed with just about every mobile browser I've used (Blazer, Mobile IE and Opera Mini are especially awful), but this Opera Mobile Beta [opera.com] is pretty much amazing. It goes out of its way to ape Safari Mobile - and it shows. The smooth scrolling, slick interface and zoom gestures are all lifted rather liberally from Safari. My only real criticism is that I'd like to see the finger gestures fine-tuned and further explored, but it's still a great browser.

      I'm not a huge fan of Appl

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tacvek (948259)

      Opera mobile does exist for WM5. I use it. It is far better than the other browsers, but does have a few small missing features. IIRC, there is no find on page feature for example. For the free trial see http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/products/winmobileppc/ [opera.com]

  • Poor writing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chairboy (88841) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:52AM (#24276563) Homepage

    The writing in the description is poorly constructed. When someone reads "It's an evolutionary release for the Norwegian software company, but it comes just days after Apple's iPhone 3G, with its highly capable Safari browser, went on sale" they would reasonably assume that in the context of the article, this "Browser War" has suddenly sprung up, and that all of the opening shots are being fired right now.

    Of course, the "highly capable" Safari browser has been out for a year on the pre-3G iPhones too, a distinction that the text confuses terribly.

    The 'browser war' has been mobile since the first day God crapped out a WAP-enabled cell phone, and just as humans went from sticks and rocks to atomic weapons, the years of mobile browsing 'warfare' has progressed to a point where the phones are almost within eyeshot of being as capable as the desktop machines.

    To declare this a 'new war' is disingenuous at best, and manipulative of page hits for the purpose of generating advertising revenue at worst.

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      While the first-gen iPhone may have been available in a handful of countries for a year it's not until now that it's readily available to a lot of people (there are lots of us who weren't too thrilled about having to jailbreak (and potentially brick) a non-3G phone).

      /Mikael

    • Ahem to that, brother.

      There are enough interesting stories out there that do no require writing sensational and ultimately misleading headlines and/or summaries.

      Won't someone think of the adults?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by osu-neko (2604)

      The writing in the description is poorly constructed. When someone reads "It's an evolutionary release for the Norwegian software company, but it comes just days after Apple's iPhone 3G, with its highly capable Safari browser, went on sale" they would reasonably assume that in the context of the article, this "Browser War" has suddenly sprung up, and that all of the opening shots are being fired right now.

      No they wouldn't. Why do so many people read things with the attitude of, "well, *I* understand what they said, but this is going to be confusing to the average reader [who is naturally not as smart as me] and thus I must step forward and defend these poor souls who will naturally draw wrong conclusions that only super-smart people [like me] will realize aren't true."

      Of course, the "highly capable" Safari browser has been out for a year on the pre-3G iPhones too, a distinction that the text confuses terribly.

      No it doesn't. It mentions that a new generation of iPhone is out, in context with a new version of Opera, and that entirely new browsers ar

      • It mentions that a new generation of iPhone is out, in context with a new version of Opera, and that entirely new browsers are coming. These are relevant facts, and there's nothing confused about them

        Sure there is. The comparison is between a browser and a device. It's a failure of parallelism at best. If the author meant to refer to the iPhone Safari browser, that's a product that has been out for over a year, but to say so would make Opera look pretty late to the party to someone who didn't know that Opera already made mobile browsers. If the author meant to imply that Apple just managed to get out a browser, making them late to the party, they're forgetting the past thirteen months. In any case,

    • by Sentry21 (8183)

      That may be true, but one has to consider that previous browsing experiences, be they through WEP or even through Opera Mini, were at best mediocre and at worst unusable. Websites didn't render properly, content was jumbled together, tables made things far wider than any mobile screen, text was illegible or far too big. It was just an all-around unpleasant experience, and one that I would rather do without than try to muddle through.

      This new generation is far different, letting people browse websites the wa

    • by DrYak (748999) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:32PM (#24278237) Homepage

      The writing in the description is poorly constructed.

      And by the way, they are confusing
      - Mobile Firefox [mobilefirefox.com] which is a 3rd party (not Mozilla-made) version of FireFox 1.5/2.0 repackaged in a way that make it executable from whatever computer you want, without installation, from a simple USB stick.
      It's mobile as in "movable between desktops", not as in "small protable device".

      (which is globally similar to Portable FireFox [framakey.org].)

      and the Mozilla projects :

      - MiniMo [mozilla.org] Mozilla's browser engine (Gecko) ported to portable devices running Linux or Windows CE

      - Fennec [mozilla.org] - Mozilla's effort to create a FireFox for mobile device.
      Given releases are announced very soon, I think, Fennec is the project the description was referring to.

  • Hallelujah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:56AM (#24276643)

    I've gotta say, it's a relief, because so far the situation was pretty abysmal. I regularly browse the web from my N95, both with the built-in Nokia-Apple browser as well as Opera Mini 4.1. The experience is quite abysmal.

    Both of them fare quite poorly at rendering the layout of web pages, the Nokia browser is incredibly bloated memory-wise and crashes silently all the time. Opera Mini is much more stable, but functionality wise pretty poor. And both have glaring flaws. For example, on the Nokia one, editing a comment on a forum will often duplicate it. On Opera Mini, it annoyingly leaves the pages everytime you have to type something into a form. Slashdot is pretty much broken in both iirc.

    So hallulejah for proper browsers! They're much needed.

    • by Yer Mum (570034)
      If you want to browse pages like Slashdot, why don't you try Opera Mobile instead of Opera Mini?
  • Though tiny web browser is handy at times, the laser keyboards [youtube.com] and displays will make small mobile device capable of complete web browsing experience anywhere. Hope the cost comes down for these devices.
  • Whatever... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Last_Available_Usern (756093) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:01PM (#24276759)
    As long as clicking links works and the screen can adequetely display fleshtones then I don't really care what else it can do.
  • Making the web (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vorlich (972710) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#24276853) Homepage Journal
    an expensive reality on a handheld.

    There. Fixed that for you.
  • WTF!? (Score:4, Funny)

    by krkhan (1071096) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:06PM (#24276859) Homepage

    Other brand-new entrants, such as Mobile Firefox and Skyfire, are expected later this year, at least in beta form.

    Where is Lynx?

    • by Rob Kaper (5960)

      Whereever you install it. I use [url=http://s2putty.sourceforge.net/]Putty for Symbian OS[/url] myself, but I'm sure SSH clients exist for most smartphones.

    • by mpesce (146930)

      Funnily enough, Lynx was one of the first apps I installed on my jailbroken iPhone 3g. Works like a charm. :-)

  • by xrayspx (13127) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:12PM (#24276975) Homepage
    Opera Mini kind of sucks, it gets all crashy on my Centro, yet no other mobile browser is coming out for Palm. I like the feel of Opera Mini, but the proxy, or the fact that it's Java, means that pages load much more slowly than with Blazer.

    Does anyone have any suggestions, beyond cranking up the memory available for Java apps and threads (which I've done, and it made a huge positive difference), that might make it more stable?
    • by linuxpng (314861)

      Preparing to be modded to oblivion....
      The safari browser crashes all the time too. No clue why it does this, but it does it on my wife's phone too. It would be a lot better if they'd allow some sort of adblocking on the phone. It's just painful to load pages on EDGE.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MC Negro (780194) *
      Xiino [mytreo.net] was the only thing that made my old Treo 650 anything close to usable for web browsing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I was able to get Opera Mini 4.1 working a little better on my Treo 680 using these instructions [typepad.com], but even then it still locks up the device, forcing me to have to remove the battery. You can try bumping up the memory to 8 MB instead of 4 like the TypePad article suggests. I haven't tried it at 8 long enough to know if it makes much of a difference. Hope that helps!

      Be sure to post again here with instructions on making it more stable if you come across any good tips.

      • by xrayspx (13127)
        Those are pretty much the settings I arrived at in my "More Memory = More Better" hunt around the phone.

        Prior to my initial bump to 4MB, the browser would crash whenever you hit the Menu button in Opera Mini, so bumping up the memory definitely helped a lot, but doesn't seem to have completely solved everything.

        I really like it, until it crashes and I have to take the battery out, which ends up being 1 in about every 20 sessions or so. I'd really like to see it work well, Opera Mini has a lot of pote
  • Are there any major phones out there with Java VM's that actually run applets? I have several applets implemented, but as of yet, haven't seen them running on cell phones. Someone told me that iPhones don't have Java.

  • Now there's two markets for browsing on mobile phones and there's no need to discuss what they are (because you all know)

    -So let's just say that Opera Mini has a strong hold in the one market....

    -And WebKit/Safari already won the other.

  • by netsavior (627338) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:37PM (#24277421)
    I was watching homestar runner on my 2001 pocket pc, but flash is still a pipedream for handhelds?? what the hell. many of the highly successful and even nerd oriented websites are flash required (yes I know iphone has a youtube client)... Why the hell am I still not watching zeropunctuation on the subway??

    It is super annoying that the palm client for flash (which still functions btw, just not the latest greatest) and the Pocket PC client for flash both have been around for half a decade, yet somehow the mobile internets are still "well yeah everything except the second most prolific format for web content"
    • Adobe wants their pound of flesh and neither Microsoft nor Apple is willing to give it to them.

      It's not a bad bet on Adobe's part to think Apple or Microsoft will pay up eventually. Everyone knows that Flash will be a "killer app" for either Windows Mobile or the iPhone. (As long as the other party doesn't have it.)
      • by Curate (783077)
        Adobe wants their pound of flesh and neither Microsoft nor Apple is willing to give it to them.

        It's not a bad bet on Adobe's part to think Apple or Microsoft will pay up eventually. Everyone knows that Flash will be a "killer app" for either Windows Mobile or the iPhone. (As long as the other party doesn't have it.)

        Well, Microsoft has a Flash competitor called Silverlight. By all accounts it is pretty slick, and matches or exceeds Flash in every area. Plus Microsoft owns it. So I don't think Microsoft

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fbjon (692006)
          The broad audience of Windows phones? Broad indeed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LilWolf (847434)

      Why the hell am I still not watching zeropunctuation on the subway?

      I just spent a few days at a cabin with my friends. Using my Nokia N73 we watched quite a few youtube videos(asshole mario is fun when you're drunk, even if the screen is smallish). Since there was no TV we also watched the latest news broadcast from the web with my phone. So Flash videos do work. All you need is an decent phone, though I suppose since you Americans are hailing the iPhone as the second coming of Jesus you lack such things..

      • by Graff (532189)

        Using my Nokia N73 we watched quite a few youtube videos(asshole mario is fun when you're drunk, even if the screen is smallish). Since there was no TV we also watched the latest news broadcast from the web with my phone. So Flash videos do work. All you need is an decent phone, though I suppose since you Americans are hailing the iPhone as the second coming of Jesus you lack such things..

        You DO know that the iPhone has built-in YouTube app and can view most YouTube videos, right? YouTube has been putting a lot of its videos in the H.264 format [macrumors.com] which the iPhone can use just fine.

        Honestly, I hardly miss Flash on my iPhone. Most sites that matter have put up JavaScript and AJAX interfaces which the iPhone works with beautifully. A lot more sites are going this way every day and I personally am cheering the fact that all the PITA Flash junk out there is finally getting thrown out.

    • by joeljkp (254783)

      Nokia devices have something called Flash Lite [adobe.com]. I'm not sure how that compares and if it can run animations.

  • As long as web developers can continue to design our sites to work with standardized code (XHTML, CSS, etc.) and not have to create a 2nd web site for mobile devices, we will all be happy.

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      The sheer volume of data one can display "per page" on the web versus mobile precludes that. It can be done but the problem is you end up with a generic page that can work on both platforms, specifically for the smaller resolutions and small memory footprint. So essentially you end up developing for the smaller and weaker platform.

      But in real life the user wants the best on both platforms and such compromises simply don't work. We end up using the same data to display a different view of that data. Fortunat

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:38PM (#24277431)

    I've got a Blackberry through T-mobile. The only time I use the internet on it is if I absolutely must have some information, like an address or phone number, that I forgot to write down before I left.

    It is so painfully slow it makes dial-up, which I haven't done in over a decade, look good.

    What is the appeal of wireless internet if this is as good as it gets?

    • That's not as good as it gets. Sorry that your service sucks but many of us have had better experiences with it.
    • put opera mini on it. I use mini's RSS reader all the time from my blackberry to keep up to date on stuff while sitting around in doctor's offices, car service, etc. Being able to easily make your own 'search engines' from a form on any web site is really nice too. Weather underground, IMDB for example. Google's mobile pages work great (movies, news) too. The killer app for me isn't really the web browser though, but google's calendar sync. And if you have a curve, or something with gps, google maps i

    • by ahoehn (301327)

      What is the appeal of wireless internet if this is as good as it gets?

      I know that was supposed to be a rhetorical question, but what you're missing is that your experience is nowhere near as good as it gets, or at least as it could get.

      When I tether my Sprint EVDO handset to my laptop, I get great data speeds. When I use my friend's iPhones I get great page rendering speed and quality. Once the two are combined (maybe now in the iPhone 3G, hopefully soon on EVDO networks with Android-based handsets or with mobile Firefox) mobile web browsing will be a much better experience

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by e2d2 (115622)

      I have t-mobile also but I use the built in wifi on my device and it's pretty fast. Over edge it's not something I want to do a lot, but on wifi it's nice.

      IMO the main hurdle is the fact that most of the web is designed for PC browsers on larger devices with not as many restrictions. We need better mobile design across the board. Some sites are really slick, but some sites are so heavy they become impossible over a mobile device. This makes the experience even more painful. But if every site had a lightweig

    • by Senjutsu (614542)

      What is the appeal of wireless internet if this is as good as it gets?

      That's not as good as it gets. The 'berry browser sucks rocks, and you're not on UMTS. It's like asking what the big deal about the internet is these days, 'cause it doesn't seem very impressive in NCSA Mosaic on your 14.4 dial up connection.

      • I suspected this was the case.

        But what incentive is there to go out and seek something faster? Rather, why don't I hear advertisements that quote bandwidth? There seem to be lots of trumpets blaring but everyone is light on details. "It's the Network!" Yeah, so what? What does it actually GIVE ME?

        I mean seriously. If I was tasked right now to go buy the fastest mobile internet service I would not have a clue where to start. If someone asked me to go buy the fastest home internet service I'd know just

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Senjutsu (614542)
          Mobile phone companies make it hard to figure out because... well, because they're mobile phone companies in the US, and lock-in and providing confusing non-information to consumers is in their blood. You have to make the effort to keep yourself informed.

          The fastest networks available in the US these days are the UMTS (3G successor to GSM) services, where you'll see speeds up to 1.4 Mbps, and CDMA2000-EVDO wireless services, with a max down of 3.1Mbps, max up of 1.8Mbps, More than fast enough for web bro
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sootman (158191)

      It's the browser as much as the connection. I have an original (EDGE) iPhone and a co-worker just got a BB which also runs on (AT&T) EDGE. For fun I put them next to each other and tried to open Slashdot on each. The iPhone took a bit, as you've doubtless seen--20, 30 seconds or so. The BB's screen went dark several times while I was waiting for it to load and I finally cancelled it after a couple minutes. Looking at a few other pages was literally a step or two above using lynx over ssh. THe iPhone, as

  • I've had it running on my Moto Q for several months. Buggy but usable. Better than the Internet Explorer that comes with Win Mobile 5.
  • I wanted to get a small website working with phones recently and it was hell. Some quite good browsers completely ignore the css for handheld, others insist in reading the css for screen whether or not handheld is specified. Others just do strange things with image or font size or colours that just have to be coded round. There's some sites offering a service to transform your pages to every browser type just to get round the problems. Opera is very good - boy would I like it if every phone ran it but they
  • Ugh, I hate this 'browser wars' and 'DE wars' and 'os wars' and '... wars' built for a competition that doesn't really exist. A war is a contest for property or argument, but there's no argument in software because it's not the goal to assimilate as many users as possible.

    These artificial EPIC BATTLES could only be if it were inevitable that all users would eventually use a single anything, one OS, one browser, one desktop environment, one everything. But that's not how it is or ever will be, there will alw

    • by AngryNick (891056)
      We learned in War Games [wikipedia.org] that "the only winning move is not to play". Building bigger and better browsers for a 2x2 inch screen isn't going to get anyone rich.

      For mobile browsing to work at any level you need speed and content worth browsing. Usability is nice when have lots of features, but how many features do you really need/want in a mobile browser? The focus for now should be on improving speed and making more content mobile-accessible.
      • by Aphoxema (1088507)

        That's a great point considering web sites have only gotten more and more bloated and HTML programmers only seem to be getting lazier. Business has been spoiled by broadband, leaving the millions of not-quite-56k users rubbing their temples.

        I like Firefox, but the only 'OMG' things I use with it is tabbed browsing and NoScript to keep flash advertisements from causing a leak.

  • I've been using the leaked version for awhile now. I like it alot better then Opera Mini or the Opera Mobile 8.65. The double tap zoom and overview makes viewing pages like slashdot alot easier then on say IE on my phone. Which is a HTC 6800 from Sprint. Anyway I like the way the whole Mobile browsing is headed. Plus the benefit of tethering to my laptop when needing a bigger screen or more power is an option also.
    • by uptownguy (215934)

      That's the problem. The LEAKED version is pretty stable. The Official Beta that was released last week (9.5 b1) has pretty atrocious Out of Memory errors which make using it on the Mogul (HTC 6800) out of the question. Stick with your leaked version. For now.

      I've used Skyfire, NetFront, DeepFish, Opera ... no one has YET found a way to deliver an acceptable end-user browser experience on the Windows Mobile platform. I kept hoping the folks who made PointUI Home might be working on a browser of their ow

      • by hkmwbz (531650)
        Opera Mobile is a beta after all. It's a lot of work to make it work properly on all phonest. Not everyone is getting the OOM messages.
  • Skyfire (Score:2, Interesting)

    by e03179 (578506)

    Skyfire is already in beta. I got my invite in April after I applied a couple of months prior.

    I'm using it on a Motorola Q with EVDO from Verizon. It's a really powerful browser. Finally, I'm able to surf just about any website and it just works. Flash embeds work perfectly. It really broadens what I can do with my phone while on the road.

    Skyfire does server-side rendering, therefore it's not really a browser. It's more like a viewer. Because of this, start up times are annoyingly slow (15 - 25 secon

  • The Safari browser on my iPod touch is entirely capable of displaying full, un-mobile-optimized sites just fine, thank you. It's irritating when a site detects that it's a mobile device and pushes out the lame, mobile-optimized version. As browsers improve on all mobile devices, seems like developers could just can the optimized version and have one-size-fits-all content.
    • by timster (32400)

      Personally, I sometimes like a mobile version, depending on the site. An example where I agree with you is CNN -- their mobile site is truly bad.

  • by miknix (1047580)

    I own a HTC Wizard which unfortunately came with windows mobile.

    Mobile IE sucks so much as entire windows mobile.
    All the UI design is a failure, one has to constantly move the horizontal and vertical scrollbars to view the webpage.

    If the screen wasn't small enough, Back/Stop buttons are extremely BIG which makes the viewport area even more small.

    Also, Mobile IE is unable to properly handle mime types, it fails to save binary files other than .zip

    And of course, like the desktop IE, Mobile IE is incapable of

  • I really don't care (and I've seen Safari on iPhone). Mobile browsing is just horrible.

    Give me a real simple site that does the things I might want to do on your site in a mobile context (so, Mr Railway Company, a "what time is the next train") and keep it real simple.

    • by miknix (1047580)

      Google

      • Yeah, Android is supposed to solve this. I think it's good news that we see all these legit browsers coming to the handheld devices though. Proven devs need to make their programs for the handheld if we ever want browsing to be easier.
    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      I disagree, I think the iPhone Safari interface is a HUGE step forward. It's still clunky in comparison to sitting in front of your desk, but the true test will be when I'd rather use my iphone to quickly access something as opposed to my computer. There has been a few times where this has happened. MUCH better then most mobile browsers.
  • Browser wars should fuel hardware advances on mobile devices, since it will likely follow that Flash, YouTube, and dare I say Silverlight (shill-verlight as I refer to it) will be expected to run smoothly. Some browsers are mostly there already, but there will be more hardware accelerated graphics, higher resolution displays (OLED plz k thx), more memory, and faster CPU's (et tu AMD?). And the sad part is that while the browsing experience will be great, all these companies don't give a crap about your batt
  • I've already tried Skyfire Beta and it sucks. It does some cool stuff, but ultimately it is too slow, and I have serious doubts about how it will ever be able to scale (Microsoft tried something similar and abandoned it). It also makes me nervous to send sensitive info since they are acting as a middle man.

    I would love to try the new Opera Mobile, but I got so fed up with my Windows Mobile device that I gave up and sold it on eBay already... sold it for $400 and turned around and got the new iPhone for $1

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