The Windows Mobile Browser Showdown. 5 way Battle Royale!
One of the nice things about Windows Mobile is its wide and open SDKs and options for browsing. Unlike the iPhone, where your provider will restrict ANY browsers, because they compete with their own software (And as Darwin said, evolution will not come fast without competition), Windows Mobile has a wide and varying option of browsers, and interestingly enough, ALL mentioned here today are FREE.
That’s right, by the end of this article, you can be crusing the web in 3G, and WiFi style on a free browser!
The following browsers have been tested on a Verizon Wireless X6800 (Touch Pro) Running MIGHTYROM 6. Results and compatibility MAY vary device to device, but all are tested were working for this device, on both Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.5
We will be doing speed tests, using the brighthub homepage and 3G. This is because 3G is slower than WiFi, which gives a good sense of typical mobile browsing speeds, since signal strength, and location will change people’s speeds. But this will remain a control, because device location or signal strength will not change through the experiment
Pocket IE (2 out of 5)
First up is our standard “control” subject, Pocket Internet Explorer.
Originally built for Windows CE and one of the most widely used embedded browsers, Pocket IE takes its design after IE6, and its usefulness is shown through that. Loading pages is SLOW,
Our load trial took 1:27 to fully load the page, and text was not visible until 1:08. Its important to also mention that pages are extremely zoomed in, and since its not touch-friendly (you need to scroll across), navigation is very shoddy.
Opera Mini (5 out of 5)
Next up is the latest edition of Opera Mini. The most downloaded mobile app ever.
Opera Mini is developed by the Browser developer Opera. Unlike the other browsers listed here today, its designed to be as
cross-platform as possible. It ranges in use from Nokia devices, to the Blackberry, and of course, Windows Mobile.
The reason for such wide support is due to the fact that Opera Mini runs on Java as a platform, and that the CAB is actually just java and opera mini rolled into one.
As a result of this, Opera Mini requires special setup and is a bit buggy with Windows Mobile (switching from portrait to landscape will screw the app up and you need to “unscrew” it). And you also need to configure downloading with the application, as it doesn’t allow downloading right away for a security feature, but we’ll explain in a bit why this is totally worth it.
Brighthub loads, in at a decent zoomed level, in just 5 seconds.
How does it load so quickly you may ask, Opera proxies ALL requests to visit a website through their servers, which compresses, speeds up and improves the site for viewing on Opera Mini. This goes for EVERY device, every time.
Also, content is inputted into the site on a ‘static’ input page, where you edit and make the text as you like before pressing OK and adding it onto the webpage. This makes logging in a little slower than most may like.
Hoewever, Opera Mini is a strong, SUPER fast, and awesome application. It makes web browsing a breeze, and is a must-have for most mobile phone users.
Skyfire (5 out of 5)
Skyfire, where would Windows Mobile Users be without it?
Well, we’d be without Youtube, Hulu, any mobile browser incompatible website, and any flash based game or website out there.
Skyfire is definitely the beast of mobile browsing.
A bit of background info for your consideration, when browsers attempt to access a site, they explain what kind of browser is being used to access the site (Mobile, Deskto
p, etc.), which allows the site to then organize the data a specific way, and also redirect (If mobile) to a mobile variant of said site. Skyfire reads all the rules, and breaks them
Skyfire reads itself as a desktop PC when it accesses a site, and has flash support. This means you can use all those sites you never could before, like Hulu, Youtube, and all Flash based sites.
Skyfire is also a cross-platform variant, but has much of its resources built around the Windows Mobile sector.
Skyfire loads Brighthub in 15 seconds, which is very decent, since it loads it as a Windows PC would, rather than Windows Mobile. Speed is not a concern, quality of content typically is.
Zooming and reading content besides special content (that other browsers can’t do ) is mediocre in Skyfire, its such a beast that it topples over on its own weight with simple text reading and other minor functions
However, Sky-Fire is the must-have, because there are times when you will encounter annoying sites that want nothing less than a desktop browser
Dorothy (3 out of 5)
What do you get when you take a small browser that few users have heard about, and give it a mixture of features from the others?
You get Dorothy.
orothy reminds me of an Opera Mobile Clone (Or IE Mobile, which is even a nameclone of Opera Mobile). It has a slightly faster load time option (25 seconds over 30), and has a very similar shape and design, excluding less clutter on the screen and a zoomin/out soft button. So you could say Dorothy is an improvement.
However, like many browsers alike, it doesn’t stand out to me and I rate it, average.
Conclusion: The Winner?
So, who’s the winner?
Opera Mini is fast, but lacks much support.
Opera Mobile makes up for what Opera Mini can’t do, but when you don’t want Skyfire’s muscle and Opera Mini’s speed.
In my opinion each browser offers it’s own functions. I would suggest using these three browsers in tandem for the greatest and fastest speeds and compatibility you can get when using both 3G and WiFi
Pickup; Opera Mini here, Opera Mobile here, and Skyfire here. (Note the touch pro being device of choice for the Opear Mobile and Skyfire photos.)