Why browsing on mobile sucks and what you can do about it

If you own a phone, chances are that you’ve tried to access the internet through your phone and you probably don’t wish to try it again. I will tell you why this is so and what you can do or use to get around it.

In my opinion the mobile internet beats desktop internet in that you can always get it on the go, anytime, almost anywhere there’s cellular coverage and I do that quite often including right now.

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Slow 2G Connections

So lets look at what makes accessing the internet on your phone frustrating. First, you are using GPRS to access the internet which is slow. However, the telecoms are upgrading to 3G, a faster standard but this will work only on high end smartphones.

Non Standard Displays

Secondly, you are browsing websites that are designed for computers that have wide screen displays, enough memory and processing power to display images, flash animations, videos embedded on these websites.

The PC also has a fully fledged standardized web browser that can handle new advanced web technologies while mobile phones on the other hand come in various models, and makes with different screen sizes, processing power, memory and non standardized mobile web browsers. This has made it extremely difficult for developers to create mobile websites and applications.

For example how  do you develop a browser for a Nokia 1100 which is black and white and has a small screen? and then a Motorolla W220 which has colored display but small screen and memory? or a Nokia N90 which has a colored and much bigger display and memory? Clearly, this non standardization of mobile phones has made it mission impossible to push the web to the phone.

Fortunately, there are mobile technologies and standards that have been and are being created to help alleviate some of these challenges. One of them is java mobile edition or JME2 platform by Sun micro systems to which most mobile phones are compatible with.

How WAP can help

The JME2 platforms enable developers to create mobile applications that can run on JME2 compatible phones. These applications have .jar or .jad file extensions and if you’ve ever downloaded a mobile application, then chances are that it was a java app with the mentioned extensions. The other standard developed specifically for the mobile web is called WAP (Wireless Application Protocol.) This is a standard that formats a desktop website for mobile mobile viewing.

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So whenever you request for a website like www.yahoo.com with your phone, the WAP gateway installed in the telecom network will format this website by removing huge images, videos, flash animations and present to your phone a webpage that can be displayed on your small screen low memory phone. So if you used your inbuilt [WAP] mobile browser, then you might have received a fairly good display of a website but not anywhere comparable to PC or desktop browsing.

Better browsers you can use

Fortunately, the mobile community has pushed in even further with the development of proxy aided mobile web browsers like Opera Mini by Opera software. Opera Mini is by far the most popular JME2 mobile browser ever downloaded on mobile phone. It’s faster than the inbuilt browser that comes with your phone. It has a very nice looking interface with very good features such as bookmarks, mouse scrolling, enable and disable images, save pages, content folding.

We also have another JME2 mobile browser called Bolt. It’s lightning fast, offers tabbed browsing, desktop full screen and mobile view modes and just makes surfing on your phone a lot more pleasurable. Then there’s UCbrowser. It’s feature rich with almost all the features that Opera Mini and Bolt offer. It has a download and password manager. Other JME2 browsers include Teashark, Skyfire. Since am not looking at smart phones, I’ll not discuss their mobile web browsers here.

Image: Peperonity


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