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Nokia pumps up Lumia browsing with Xpress

It's paradigm-busting, really it is

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Nokia's server-side compression platform is now open to Lumia users, in beta at least, providing a 75 per cent reduction in traffic, SkyDrive integration as well as an entirely new browsing paradigm.

Xpress has been available for the Asha series of handsets for a while, interpreting web pages in the cloud and delivering only the final layout to the phone just as most of the alternative browsers do (Opera, Bolt, Dolphin, etc.) But Xpress also adds translation, word lookup and SkyDrive integration as well as the paradigm-busting Magazine feature.

Magazine is basically an RSS reader with local caching, but displayed in the Windows Phone style. Word lookup is (unsurprisingly) provided by Bing, and SkyDrive lets you save a page for later reading, though you'll still need to be online obviously.

Server-optimised browsing is generally a good thing with few downsides. When Opera first introduced it to the desktop (as "Turbo") it was intended for markets where broadband wasn't prevalent, but many users have found the downloading pages faster is a good thing even when one has a broadband connection.

It does turn customers into ongoing cost centres; the cloud servers might be cheap but they still have to be paid for. The necessary revenue can be generated by tracking browsing habits and delivering targeted adverts embedded in collaborating websites (with user permission, unlike the Phorm/BT debacle).

But Nokia isn't doing that yet. Right now the plan is to see if Xpress works on the Lumia handsets and if it improves the browsing experience, so Nokia is inviting anyone with suitable kit to give it a go. ®

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