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Web Browser Wars Go Mobile

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the beep-beep-beep-beep-yeah dept.

Mozilla 132

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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132 comments

An interesting new reality (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24276511)

breaking news

I had a foot long chili cheese dog last night

this morning, I had a foot long chili like substance surge our of my asshole. Ahh, relief.

Re:An interesting new reality (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24276703)

Go back to Twitter, where people care about your shit.

Opera Mini (5, Insightful)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 5 years ago | (#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!

Re:Opera Mini (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276731)

Opera Mini is the only way to go for mobile devices

Not on the iPhone. Opera's not allowed.

Re:Opera Mini (5, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#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

Build a better mouse... (3, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277599)

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:Build a better mouse... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278089)

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....

Re:Build a better mouse... (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280491)

Actually I believe you can watch any YouTube video on the iPhone. I tried it out with one I had uploaded. I sent the link to the video in an email to myself and clicked on it. The video came up and played just fine. I was actually very surprised. I tried with another video and it worked too. That's just a sample of 2 but both were random, watched-by-few, videos.

Re:Opera Mini (1)

petehead (1041740) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277653)

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 more pleasant to use...

You fuckin' Mactard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24278315)

You're retarded

Issues with Opera (5, Informative)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276881)

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:Issues with Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24280455)

Why wouldn't you have to develop your own drivers with Mozilla?

Oh, and what happens if you get stuck trying to figure out how Mozilla works? You contact their support department? Or rely on public forums?

I would bet that Opera's SDK includes full support and maintenance.

Tied to their solution? You are pretty much tied to Mozilla if you start using it. It will cost time and money to switch regardless. Sounds like you are blaming Opera for things that aren't even specific to Opera, but applies to all solutions out there.

Re:Issues with Opera (2, Interesting)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280645)

Good point, the support might be worth it, but my point was that getting an embedded browser working on Linux isn't that easy. With the source code to a browser it considerably easier (assuming you have the skill set), and you aren't limited as much as with a pre-packaged browser. Granted, opera is in business to make money, so they charge for their SDK, which is totally fine with me. It might cost less for an unskilled team to have opera do the integration, whereas a more skilled team will be able to complete it for a lower cost via open source.

Re:Opera Mini (4, Interesting)

toleraen (831634) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Opera Mini (1)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277849)

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:Opera Mini (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278493)

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:Opera Mini (2, Insightful)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276957)

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.

Re:Opera Mini (1)

krkhan (1071096) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277085)

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:Opera Mini (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277347)

Uh pardon? All Nokia devices these days ship with a WebKit (essentialy mobile safari) based web browser.

Re:Opera Mini (3, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277793)

Although I'm not sure why this is relevant, it might be worth noting that the Nokia N60 uses WebKit (the same engine as Safari) by default, as will all the Android phones. It's also at the core of many other applications [webkit.org]. What's more, there have been several reports that Safari has the highest mobile market share in terms of actual use, rather than mere installed base.

Opera Mini works great... when it isn't crashing (4, Informative)

the JoshMeister (742476) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277293)

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:Opera Mini (2, Interesting)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277339)

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 have my notebook use the phone's Internet connection and bring up Firefox on that.

Re:Opera Mini (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277731)

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.

Re:Opera Mini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24278867)

Try it-that is if you are able to get the darn thing to install. This guy had one heck of a time trying to install it on a Blackberry, which is a fairly "state-of-the-art" smart phone: http://jonweber.wordpress.com/tag/crackberry/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Opera Mini (1)

master811 (874700) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280103)

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.

Re:Opera Mini (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280309)

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 rectangle. This rectangle is usually pretty good at automatically finding the meat of the web page, but if it doesn't you can move it around. Then when you click it zooms in on that area of the page. And the best thing is if the column of text is too large for the screen it will automatically re-size the column so you don't have to keep scrolling left and right to read sentences.

Re:Opera Mini (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280655)

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'.

Maybe (0)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276539)

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.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24276687)

Cry me a river. I'm using a BREW phone.

Re:Maybe (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277311)

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.

Re:Maybe (1)

MC Negro (780194) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277313)

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 Apple, but I hope the iPhone continues to light a fire under the collective ass of the mobile phone industry. Microsoft and friends need to get their shit together before Apple moves in on the business smartphone sector.

Poor writing (5, Insightful)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276563)

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.

Re:Poor writing (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276689)

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

Re:Poor writing (1)

Broken Toys (1198853) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276791)

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:Poor writing (3, Interesting)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276869)

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 are coming. These are relevant facts, and there's nothing confused about them, despite your assertion that people [other than you] will misread what was said.

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.

Yup. And with a new generation of devices coming out with certain existing browsers, along with entirely new browsers being released soon, it's going to heat up quick.

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

Good thing they didn't do that, then.

Re:Poor writing (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277029)

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 way they are intended to look, rather than some bastardized misinterpretation or unusable mess. Finally people can browse the web and actually enjoy it, rather than suffer through, and that's the war that we're now talking about.

Firefox product name mix up (4, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278237)

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.

Re:Poor writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24278527)

The 'browser war' has been mobile since the first day God crapped out a WAP-enabled cell phone

That may be true to some extent, but it really wasn't that relevant until people started expecting their phones to view normal web pages designed for desktop users rather than scaled-down versions targeted at mobile devices. There just weren't enough sites that cared enough about the mobile market to invest the time and money necessary to build a WAP site.

But now that the mobile devices have adapted to that fact and become capable of using the web proper, it's much more relevant. And I think it was Apple that pushed the envelope to the point where people now know that it's possible to have a browser behave very similarly to how it would on the desktop. Before the iPhone, even on smart phones, people were still expecting to have a much different browsing experience on a mobile device than the would on their home computer.

Hallelujah! (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Mobile browsers suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24276667)

I guess that means there's a lot of potential to outclass the competition. Most of these devices have more processing power and RAM than the desktops back when the web started. Sure, the small screens are a challenge, but that's nothing that a quick bird's eye view couldn't fix.

Re:Mobile browsers suck (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278027)

Sure, the small screens are a challenge, but that's nothing that a quick bird's eye view couldn't fix.

Which is one of the things the iPhone does right. You wouldn't believe how much of a difference it makes to browse on the iPhone versus Windows Mobile.

Laser keyboards (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276669)

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.

Re:Laser keyboards (2, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276993)

They only work if you have a nice flat, stable surface. It wouldn't work too well in the passenger seat of a car or on the bus.

Performance Tests (1)

cpaalman (696554) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276789)

Good thing I still have my US Robotics Courier V.Everything that I purchased for my BBS when I got the sysop discount.

Now I can put it back into operation to test web site performance.

And to think my wife wanted to toss it since it'll never be used again. Same reason I'm hanging onto my 5 1/4" floppy. I need a bigger basement.

WTF!? (4, Funny)

krkhan (1071096) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276859)

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

Where is Lynx?

Re:WTF!? (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276997)

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.

Re:WTF!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24280377)

Does that run on mobile devices? Would love to see lynx on my treo.

What's wrong with the Palm... (3, Interesting)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 5 years ago | (#24276975)

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?

Re:What's wrong with the Palm... (1)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277383)

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:What's wrong with the Palm... (2, Interesting)

MC Negro (780194) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277415)

Xiino [mytreo.net] was the only thing that made my old Treo 650 anything close to usable for web browsing.

Re:What's wrong with the Palm... (2, Interesting)

the JoshMeister (742476) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277563)

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.

Re:What's wrong with the Palm... (1)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278269)

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 potential.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24277207)

Who is claiming warfare? Opera has been providing the statistically best Web browser on every prominent OS and platform since before Mozilla, AOL, and Microsoft.

Java VM's in Browsers? (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277253)

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.

War? (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277307)

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.

why the hell is "no flash" a given (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 5 years ago | (#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"

Re:why the hell is "no flash" a given (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278001)

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.)

Re:why the hell is "no flash" a given (1)

Curate (783077) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278489)

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 will have any trouble putting Silverlight into their handhelds. Then they can tout to websites that switching to Silverlight will allow them to reach a broader audience.

Re:why the hell is "no flash" a given (2, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280065)

The broad audience of Windows phones? Broad indeed.

Re:why the hell is "no flash" a given (1)

Curate (783077) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280783)

The broad audience of Windows phones? Broad indeed.

I know that was supposed to be sarcastic. And I know this is Slashdot. However it's true. Ever hear of Pocket PCs? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocketpc [wikipedia.org]) They run an OS that used to be called Windows CE but has recently been rebranded Windows Mobile. Microsoft has been in this market for about a decade, whereas Apple and Google are getting into the market now. Just like in the desktop PC market, Microsoft makes the software and leaves the hardware to other companies (this appears to be Google's strategy too). Tons of smartphones out there run Windows Mobile. Such as the phone I've got, the HTC Mogul from Sprint. It comes with a very capable mobile version of Internet Explorer. (I have an unlimited data plan too. :))

Re:why the hell is "no flash" a given (2, Informative)

LilWolf (847434) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278975)

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..

Stick to standards, mobile browser developers... (1)

bjdevil66 (583941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277425)

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.

Re:Stick to standards, mobile browser developers.. (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278341)

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. Fortunately this has been a solid design pattern in UI design for as long as I can remember, the view.

For a good example look at www.cnn.com vs m.cnn.com and how different views call for a different design.

What am I missing here? (3, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:What am I missing here? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277829)

That's not as good as it gets. Sorry that your service sucks but many of us have had better experiences with it.

Re:What am I missing here? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277873)

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 is a must have app as well.

Re:What am I missing here? (1)

ahoehn (301327) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278061)

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.

an iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24278229)

The iPhone is a very capable internet device, and coupled with 3G it can provide internet access anywhere.

Re:What am I missing here? (2, Insightful)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278601)

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 lightweight version specifically for mobile, well it would help a lot.

Re:What am I missing here? (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 5 years ago | (#24279581)

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.

Skyfire is in beta already (1)

bangthegong (1190059) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277443)

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.

A nod at standards would be nice (1)

dmcq (809030) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277739)

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 don't.

Blah blah wars. (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277763)

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 always be different groups developing their own software and different people who use them. One day, Opera, Firefox, Safari and that one other guy will all be gone and there will be a whole different level of web access to replace them and make them forgotten, and there will still be idiots purporting a '... war' that doesn't exist.

Isn't it at all possible that maybe, just maybe, all these things can coincide and leave people to make their own decisions instead of always having to conflict?

Sure, Microsoft has forced itself on the computer market for decades, but it wasn't a conquest or an ideological reasoning. It was just business. When competitors came along, it wasn't a war, it was the big guy stepping on the little guy until the little guys got big. And occasionally on occasion eating the little guys.

Re:Blah blah wars. (1)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278381)

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.

Re:Blah blah wars. (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278563)

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.

Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta (1)

sacker12345 (1170159) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277925)

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.

Re:Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta (1)

uptownguy (215934) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278203)

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 own -- they've demonstrated that they GET interfaces -- but it doesn't look like that's what Project Mulder or Project Burgundy are about...

We'll see who crosses the finish line first. My money's on a dark horse no one's ever even heard of...

Re:Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280487)

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 (2, Interesting)

e03179 (578506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24277975)

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 seconds). But pages load really fast and I don't experience breaks in audio or video when listening to podcasts or YouTube videos while driving down the interstate.

I kind of like the idea of offloading page rendering/transcoding to a server. Then again, if the Skyfire servers ever go down I'm SOL.

I rarely use the browser because using mobile websites in pocket IE is good enough for 90% of what I do. If the Motorola Q was a touchscreen device, I would enjoy Skyfire more.

Don't want no damn mobile-optimized stuff! (2, Interesting)

woohootoo (904621) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278239)

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.

IE Mobile goes nowhere.. (2, Informative)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278309)

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 correctly rendering the "small" footprint html used on mobile webpages.

It doesn't support tabbing browsing not even multiple windows!!

I wonder what a piece of crap like this is doing on a PDA with GPRS/EDGE and WIFI

Skyfire and Fennec too.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24278333)

Wireless Week had a similar story earlier this month: http://www.wirelessweek.com/Article-Mobile-Browser-Question.aspx

Mobile Browsing is Horrible... (2, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278525)

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.

Re:Mobile Browsing is Horrible... (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#24278609)

Google

Re:Mobile Browsing is Horrible... (1)

thedistrict (1327685) | more than 5 years ago | (#24279091)

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.

Re:Mobile Browsing is Horrible... (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280061)

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.

Re:Mobile Browsing is Horrible... (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280319)

I don't mean to diss Safari. I agree, it's an improvement. It's just that I'm not convinced when people start touting the idea of "proper internet sites" on a small, weedy screen with lots of zooming in and out.

Opera and Mini-Mo already on Nokia N800/N810 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24278631)

Both work really well, and I know Mini-Mo on the N800 supports flash ok as well as adblock.

That should fuel hardware advances (2, Insightful)

caywen (942955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24279073)

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 battery life.

The browser is only part of the package (1)

LinuxFreakus (613194) | more than 5 years ago | (#24280113)

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 $199. Unless the whole phone is really usable, you won't notice how good the browser is.

I think one of the biggest obstacles on the mobile platform is the overall user experience, not just the browser. On Windows Mobile I had constant crashes, and freezes, and most of the features I frequently used were buried several levels deep in the OS. Very poor. Also the GPS would take like 5 minutes to get a signal. I pity the fool paid $400 for my phone on eBay!

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