Feeds

Opera on Palm OS? Sort of...

With a little Java

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Spare a thought for poor old Palm. Nokia has succeeded in convincing analysts, and portions of the press, that its $399 Linux Wi-Fi tablet, the Nokia 770, is "an entirely new device category". Even the Wall Street Journal said so.

But for a hundred dollars less, Palm will also sell you a Wi-Fi tablet, only one with a vast range of third-party applications, a built-in personal organizer and an MP3 player. The Palm OS has been powering Wi-Fi tablets for three years, of course, only the world calls them PDAs.

But the limitations of browsing on a Palm device have been all too obvious. The built-in Blazer browser is good for about two task switches before crashing the device - and that's if you can get it to start at all without hanging the PDA. The browser appears to be only vaguely aware of what to do with a local cache, and it only allows one page to be viewed at a time.

So Palm fans have long petitioned the champ of mobile browsers, Opera, to bring its sophisticated, multi-window browser to the Palm OS.

Now, in a very roundabout way, those wishes have been fulfilled.

Opera today opened its Java-based Mini browser to world+dog, and there's a version available for Palm OS. While Opera first released this last summer, it only did so on limited availability - you had to be in the right place (preferably Norway) with the right carrier. Now anyone can try it.

So what's it like?

To begin with you need IBM's WebSphere JavaVM, a free 1.7MB download. Then it's off to the races. Opera Mini dynamically resizes according to your screen size - a promising start. On loading a page, a large thick red bar at the bottom of the screen flashes annoyingly until the page is loaded. Fortunately that isn't too long, for Opera's proxy servers break up the pages into chunks - the New York Times' front page is split into four, for example.

The browser doesn't automatically restart a connection that Palm OS has suspended to save power, and gives up in some situations. And the lean and mean Mini aspect is negated somewhat by having to load the JVM into RAM. But for Palm diehards, it's another welcome option.

The Palm OS is now in the hands of Japanese browser company browser Access, so there's a possibility mobile browsing on Palm will improve. Then again, Access is on a fixed licence fee retainer for the next three years, whether its licensees use the Palm OS or not, which doesn't exactly give it an incentive.

What Palm fans really want to see is some indication that Palm OS 6 Cobalt - now being built on Linux underpinnings - will see the light of day. But that's anyone's guess. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.