mobile browser

UC Browser, an alternative web browser for Windows Phone, has been available on the platform for some time now. Since then the app has been updated a number of times and has now been bumped to version 2.7. It's worth noting that this is not a simple IE wrapper either. UC Browser is the real deal, offering a serious solution for those who wish to use something other than Internet Explorer. 

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We love the beautiful web that is emerging, especially Microsoft with IE9 and IE10. We have seen tests and examples displaying what modern browsers can do with HTML5 and the benefits of hardware acceleration, now it's time to see all this on a mobile scale. Introducing the Mobile Test Drive.

The features of this testing environment are as follows:

  • Audio Player (from MIX11)
  • Geolocation
  • Border Radius
  • DOM Local Storage
  • Scalable Vector Graphics
  • CSS3 Media Queries
  • DOMContentLoaded
  • FishIE Tank
  • Speed Reading (from MIX11)
  • Animated Text
  • HamsterDance Revolution
  • Business Charts
  • IE Logo
  • Video Panorama
  • Browser Control Themeing

More samples will be added to the mobile test through the upcoming months to Mango and beyond so keep an eye out for changes and additions. If you're a web developer you can see how your websites will look on Mobile IE9 by downloading the Windows Phone Developer tools. Pretty neat if I do say so myself.

Source: Microsoft Blog

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This past summer we reported that Skyfire would begin scaling back operations and development on Windows Mobile and Symbian products. While development stopped on this popular mobile web browser, the company continued to offer support for their products in select countries.

Skyfire has now announced a complete phase out of their Legacy 1.0 products for Windows Mobile and Symbian effective December 31, 2010. Skyfire products will no longer be available or supported for Windows Phones.

In the press release, Skyfire's CEO Jeff Glueck stated,

"We do expect to bring Skyfire 2.0 to additional platforms, and have begun discussions with some carriers and OEMs to decide which will be our next OS. Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 and Nokia’s MeeGo platform are both shaping up as platforms with a lot of potential and the recent launch of the new Blackberry OS 6 with a WebKit browser core makes for interesting potential for a future release of Skyfire 2.0."

While Skyfire will quickly become a thing of the past with Windows Mobile, we may see it as a part of Windows Phone 7 in the future.

via: Skyfire

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Skyfire has announced that they will be scaling back operations and development beginning July 1, 2010.

The decision appears to be the result of demand out pacing resources. Skyfire users have grown 400% in the past year and Skyfire has been approached by several vendors and wireless providers to become default browsers for their handsets.

The scale down will call for a stop for all future development on Skyfire 1.0 (only used on Windows Phones and Symbian phones) architecture and focus on Skyfire 2.0 as the flagship product. Additionally, Skyfire 1.x will no longer be supported outside of North America and Western Europe.  Skyfire 1.0 and 1.5 will remain available as a free service in the following countries after July 1st: United States, U.K., Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Korea and Taiwan.

Jeff Glueck, CEO of Skyfire, stated, "We know this decision is an inconvenience to many Skyfire 1.5 users in emerging markets, and while it’s a free service, we appreciate how important and valuable Skyfire has become to people. We have read the many impassioned messages from users in affected countries, and the choice to focus on our flagship product does involve trade-offs which are never easy."  Skyfire will move forward with continued development for Android phones, submit a version to the iPhone App Store and hopefully have a product available for the Windows Phone 7.

You can find the full announcement here.

[via: phonescoop.com]

 

 

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Bitstream has recently updated it's Windows Phone browser, Bolt, to version 2.1. The update adds support for HTML 5 Video and throws in a little Facebook integration.  The Facebook integration in Bolt 2.1 allows users to paste links directly to Facebook accounts and work the Facebook's instant messaging.

Bolt 2.1 continues to utilize the server-side rendering of pages to speed things up. Version 2.1 has a little more zip to it than previous versions. The first 25% of pages does take a few seconds to load, then the remaining portions load in a flash. Also, remember that Bolt is a Java App and will be installed within your Java program.

The layout still needs some work (fonts still a little on the small size even when set to XXLarge) but the speed is definitely present. You can download your free copy of Bolt 2.1 by going to http://boltbrowser.com/bolts2.jad from your mobile browser. Additional installation instructions can be found at the Bolt Browser website.

[read: jkontherun.com]

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The mobile browser battle is heating up again, and Skyfire is bringing it. The release of Skyfire 1.5 brings full-screen action, smoother scrolling and an even deeper experience. Here's the full rundown of what's new:

  • Full VGA Support. Skyfire now provides native support for the VGA and wVGA resolutions as seen on many recent Windows Mobile phones.
  • Smooth Scrolling. Kinetic scrolling has been added to Skyfire. Flick and you will see that scrolling has become very smooth.
  • Finger friendly UI. There are many UI updates to enable finger friendliness, increase the ease of use and add a bit of fun to the Skyfire experience. We updated as well the start page to be simpler-to-use with high-resolution devices
  • Full screen mode. For touch screens we have a mode that will completely remove all UI elements from the screen to provide maximum visibility onto the page. Tap the bottom right corner to bring back the toolbar.
  • Auto-Move text entry. This keeps any text entry box visible when the virtual keyboard is used. This convenient feature assures that web site forms are easy to use, in case the SIP (i.e., virtual keyboard) covers it.
  • Latest versions of Flash 10 and Silverlight. 1.5 has been updated to the newest and most stable versions of both rich-media formats.
  • Performance enhancements.  Both Skyfire’s client and servers have been upgraded for faster, more responsive browsing.

That enough for ya? Check out Skyfire's official video after the break, and download the new version here.

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13

Opera Mobile 10 beta 2 now available

Opera Mobile 10 (see our video hands-on and full review) has hit the beta 2 stage of its life. Here's what's improved, via the Opera Moble Blog:

  • Opera Link.
  • Download manager.
  • Improved UI for finger touch.
  • You can now manage search engines.
  • Remembers page position and zoom state.
  • Column snapping on touch.
  • Better memory management.
  • Fix for mobile view crash.
  • Start page available from touch menu.
  • Clear cache setting.
  • Asks whether to set as default browser.
  • Fix for startup crash (on some devices due to encoding in imported bookmarks).
  • Shortcut support.
  • Other minor bug fixes.

That enough for a beta 2 release? We're definitely happy to see better memory management -- that was our chief complaint of the early beta. And for what its worth, we're now getting 99 out of 100 on the Acid3 test, down a point from the first release. But as this is still a beta release, there are bugs. Peep a list of them after the break. Now, what about you guys? This latest release of Opera Mobile 10 working for you? Grab it here.

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Mozilla Weave hits V1.0b

The lines between desktop and mobile computing just got a little more blurry. (That's a good thing.) Mozilla's Weave service, which, in a nutshell, syncs your browser data — including bookmarks, passwords, history and even open tabs — just his 1.0 beta status. Why is this important for Windows Mobile, you ask? Because Mozilla's been working on its mobile browser (codenamed Fennec) for some time now, and Weave will play an integral part in it.

If you've been using a desktop browser sync, you already know what we're talking about. Your data is seamlessly synced between one or more computers and the cloud. Weave goes a step further, also syncing the data with the Fennec browser. I've been using Weave off and on with Firefox for a while now, and it's steadily improved. And v1.0b is even faster and more transparent. Now we just need to see Fennec get out the door (and get much faster), and we'll have a real browser war on our hands. [download Weave via Mozilla Labs]

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First there was Opera Mobile 9.5 beta, which gave way to Opera Mobile 9.7 beta. Now, enter Opera Mobile 10 beta for Symbian. And it looks like a likely progression and brings much-improved password management, among a host of other features. Question is, will we see Opera Mobile 10 on Windows Mobile? Wmpoweruser says yes, unofficially, even though there's zero mention of WinMo in the Symbian release. So, we'll just have to see. [Opera Mobile 10 beta]

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9

Bolt Browser comes out of Beta

The Beta tag has been removed from the mobile browser Bolt and is reported to be faster and more reliable than the Beta versions.

Bolt 1.5 includes such features as the ability to stream videos of any length, a dedicated search bar, a download manager that downloads files directly from Bolt, improved navigation and a caching feature that enables browsing back to a previously visited page without waiting to reload.

We took a look at the Beta version of Bolt some time ago and had mixed feelings. While download speeds were fast, the layout of the browser was a little lacking. Menus were small and hard to read and touch navigation was choppy.

To see if the production version of Bolt is an improvement over the Beta, follow the break.

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The folks at Mozilla have released the Alpha 3 build of Fennec, aka the mobile Firefox browser.

Much-improved, says Mozilla's Brad Lassey (read our early Q&A with him) are start-up times, better panning, and some support for phones other than the HTC Touch Pro.

Go get the CAB file here, and if out there's running a brand-spanking new Touch Pro 2, let us know how it looks on there. (And remember, you can play with the Fennec lastest desktop emulator here.)

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3

Mozilla VP talks Firefox mobile

We're still eagerly anticipating the release of the mobile Firefox browser, and the boys and girls at Mozilla are hard at work. Vice President Jay Sullivan recently talked with Lifehacker about plans in the mobile space.

"What we're seeing happen in mobile is just what we've been seeing on the desktop for the last five years. That's migrating from more client-heavy applications to more web-based applications. Fennec is built on the latest version of our browser engine, and has support for offline storage and things called web workers, which enables threaded applications that can run faster. All these technologies make it possible to build a first-class, HTML5-based application."

And in case you missed it, we also had our own interview with Firefox mobile's Brad Lassey some time ago.

Lifehacker: Mozilla VP on What Firefox Mobile Means for Your Phone

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1

Firefox mobile browser hits Alpha 2

When Firefox released the first Alpha build of its mobile browser -- aka Fennec -- in May, it left a lot of you underwhelemed. Hey, it was an Alpha build. Don't say we (and Mozilla) didn't warn you. But work has been progressing, and Mozilla just released the Alpha 2 build. Here's what's new in Alpha 2: [via Pavlov's blog]

  • Improved panning performance
  • Newly designed theme
  • JavaScript error console is now built in
  • Improved add-on support
  • Numerous bug fixes
  • Improved UI polish

As per the usual, Mozilla is developing for the HTC Touch Pro. So back up your info, and get to testing. Here's the download link. (Don't have a Touch Pro? Try out the desktop versions.) And let us know in the comments how things look.

Update: Here's one fairly big known bug worth noting:

Allow panning/scrolling in iframes - Websites that display large amounts of content in IFrames, including Google Mail and Reader, will be very hard, if not impossible, to use.

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We mentioned some time ago that Opera was going turbo. Well, the popular mobile browser has done just that with the release of Opera 9.7 Beta. According to the news release:

"Opera Mobile 9.7 beta is now available to accelerate the mobile browsing experience for Windows Mobile-based phones. Speed is at the heart of this beta release due to the addition of Opera’s recently launched technology for faster surfing, Opera Turbo. Opera has also included its newly upgraded browser engine, called Opera Presto 2.2, for faster page loads and better overall performance. With the added bonus of Opera Widgets, Opera Mobile 9.7 gets you the Web content you want in fewer clicks and less time."

We had the opportunity to test drive the Beta Release over the weekend. Follow the break to see our initial impression of Opera 9.7 Beta as well as information on Opera Widgets Beta and a demo video.

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6

Released: Skyfire 1.0

Earlier this year, we took a look at the Beta version of the mobile browser Skyfire for Windows Mobile Touch and non-Touch Screen phones.  We liked the potential Skyfire had but found it to be noticeably slower than the competition.  Well the developers over at Skyfire have been working diligently to iron out all the bugs on the mobile browser and today released Skyfire 1.0 for Windows Mobile Touch and non-Touch Screen phones.

According to Skyfire,

"Skyfire remains committed to providing everything the PC web has to offer in a mobile experience with blazing fast speeds. For the first time, consumers can use their phones to watch any web video and live events, stay connected with friends, share web pages instantly, and use the full-featured PC versions of their favorite websites. Skyfire is the only mobile browser to support popular web standards and plug-ins such as Flash 10, Silverlight 2, Ajax, Javascript and more, so the rich media on websites work on phones just like the PC. Known for its speed, Skyfire launches quickly and loads web pages quicker than other mobile browsers."

"Skyfire users can customize the start page with RSS feeds from their favorite websites. In addition, they can integrate their Facebook and Twitter accounts to import status updates and tweets, and easily publish their status to these networks. Skyfire is the only mobile browse to share and publish any web page to Facebook and Twitter networks with one click."

Follow the break for some screen shots and our impressions on the Skyfire 1.0.

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Work on the Firefox mobile browser — aka Fennec — has been marching steadily ahead, and the team has released an official Alpha build. The highlights:

  • New Add-Ons Manager
  • New Downloads Manager
  • New CSS based theme
  • TraceMonkey, Mozilla's new JavaScript engine
  • jemalloc, the memory management library used by Mozillla.
  • Faster application start-up time
  • Faster panning
  • Faster zooming
  • Initial implementation of bookmark folders and bookmark editing

Just like with the pre-Alpha and nightly build versions, this was built and tested on an HTC Touch Pro, so there's where you're likely to have the most success. That said, this is Alpha, and bugs are likely.

Says Mozilla's Brad Lassey (read our interview with him here) in his blog:

It is not yet recommended to use this release for daily browsing tasks. Certain performance problems will become immediately apparent to the user. Panning has a noticeable delay between the user first touching the page and the page moving. We are certain that other less obvious bugs exist and we invite you to help bring them to light. You can find detailed information on how to file a good bug in bugzilla , our bug tracking system, here .

So remember, folks. This isn't a finished version, but a pretty big step in the process. Get your download on here (or here directly from your phone), and let us know in the comments how it works for you.

Update: Video of the Alpha release after the break.

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Woo boy, another browser has entered the fray. This one is called Mach5 and hails from Hong Kong and is currently available as a trial. It seems NetAcceler has eventual plans to charge for the browser sometime after May (when this demo expires).

Anyways, Mach5 is like a combo of Opera Mobile 9.5 and Skyfire in that it can render full sites and even do YouTube/media, all proxied through a remote server to compress the data.

From my experience, it's pretty darn good. Graphics are nice, options are plentiful (but not overwhelming) and speed is pretty fast. Watching a YouTube video opens a unique media player (see above) that goes full screen — very nice touch. Downsides? Like Skyfire, this thing will zap your battery, and reports from users say that it makes their devices hot as a microwaved burrito. On the plus side, it looks fantastic on VGA screens.

But don't count Skyfire out just yet. For one, Skyfire plans to remain free indefinitely, and two, look for v1.x coming soon with a slew of new features and improvements — so don't count it out just yet. Still, it's good to have some competition to keep the Skyfire team on its toes. Download/Register here and after the jump, check out a video demonstration.

[via PocketNow]

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