Feeds

MS dangles desktop-like browsing for mobiles

Trawling for Deepfish

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft has taken the wraps off a prototype version of a browser for mobile devices that it claims will make it easier and faster to view full-fat web pages on a small screen.

The Deepfish browser displays thumbnails on a web page as a point of reference. Users can then highlight a section of a page and zoom in or out as required to view the page in detail, as explained in a demo video here.

The browser is designed to maintain the page layout of web pages, rather than reformatting them to fit a small screen, making it easier for surfers to find menus or other navigational information.

Instead of expecting web designers to shoulder the burden of making sites mobile-friendly, Microsoft is working on the premise that client software should shoulder the work of presenting standard web pages on small-screen devices. The browser aims to recreate the desktop browsing experience on a mobile phone or PDA.

The software giant said Deepfish is faster at loading web pages than earlier browsers for mobile devices because it only loads only portions of a page a user is interested in. "It loads a thumbnail of pages initially and then only what is needed for more detail when requested or in the background as you browse the initial view, resulting in substantially quicker load times for most pages," a posting on Microsoft's Live Labs website explains.

The "alpha" software is compatible with Windows Mobile version 5 (or higher) and available for download as a technology preview on a restricted basis via the Microsoft Live Labs website. The software is a work in progress. At present there's no support for common web features such as cookies or JavaScript, for example.

There's no firm timescale for the roll-out of the product or even definite plans that the technology will be incorporated in the next version of Microsoft's mobile browser software.

Earlier this week, Microsoft said it was backing the launch of ZenZui, a firm focused on mobile device content. ZenZui's Zooming User Interface is based on technology from Microsoft's research labs. Microsoft's IP Ventures also helped ZenZui secure venture capital funding.

Against Microsoft's re-invigorated push into the mobile browser marketplace, rival Opera announced that downloads of its Opera Mobile Web browser increased more than 50 per cent on Opera's website from February 2006 to February 2007. Manufacturers, such as HTC and Toshiba, are preloading Opera on their handsets, it added. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.