Monday, September 12, 2005

Web Browsing on a Palm - UPDATE

"The current Web browser situation for the Palm is a catastrophe", says Tam Hanna, I say "there is no real legal way to get a usable web browser". All browsers I know have problems here and problems there. There are some free or buyable browsers like Eudora, PocketLink, Palmscape, Xiino - nothing special.

In the next weeks, I'll use several browsers, every browser for a week or so and review them here. After all tests I'll compare them and post the results. I'm going to test:

  • Web Browser 2.0
  • Web Pro 1.0
  • Web Pro 3.5
  • Blazer 4.x
  • NetFront 3.1
  • Picsel Browser 1.0
  • Opera (Mini) 1.0
  • Xiino
Do you know other browsers I could test?

UPDATE: I think that I'll test another, not so famous browser called "iPanel". It seems that it doesn't support HiRes because it's already two years old. But it is fast, faster than some other, new browsers.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would suggest you add Xiino to the list. It has become my regular browser on my Treo 650 and beats all the others you mentioned, IMHO. Take a look here: http://www.mobirus.com/eng/products/Xiino/index_html

Paul Biba

5:09 PM  
Blogger Ben Combee said...

navarra's nWeb browser is the updated version of the core used in Web Pro 3 (http://www.nwebwireless.com/get_nweb.htm). Blazer 4 uses the NetFront engine internally, as does PalmSource Web Browser 2.0.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi,
to anonymous: I had the program on my IIIc and liked it...
Ben-thanks for the detailled information. You really put stuff clear that always wondered me. However, if I may ask the following things:
a)How is Netfront related to nWEB?
b)Is Picsel related to any of the two above?
Best regards
Tam Hanna

11:49 PM  
Anonymous radius said...

what's particularly sad to me is that when I use Web Pro on the Tungsten T3 (downloaded from Palm's web site) to browse off-line web pages I have stored on the SD card, it actually feels SLOWER to me than using the web browser I had in my Psion Series 5 to browse on-line web pages over my 56k modem. And the Psion only had an 18MHz ARM CPU compared to 400MHz in the T3.

Granted the Psion only had to render in 4 bit grey scale, but I still wonder where all the CPU cycles on my Palm are going :(

7:49 AM  
Blogger Alexander Gratz said...

Hello,

@anonymous

Xiino isn't as famous as Web Pro or so, but perhaps I'll test it, too.

@ Tam:

NetFront, Web Browser 2.0, Web Browser 3.0 --> Access Co, Ltd. (in Web Browser 2.0 you can see the NetFront logo if an image isn't loaded yet)

Webpro 3.0, 3.5, nWeb --> Novarra

@radius: Yes, WebPro is very slow. I recommend NetFront or Blazer.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi Alex,
do you know anything about the relations of Picsel Browser to any of the others? What really makes me wonder is: the browsers use the same core, but create radically different output... .
About the Psion: I once used one for 5 minutes. It is incredible to see what the programs on the box did back in 199x-stylesheets in Word,... . DocsToGO et al still cant to that today!
Best regards
Tam Hanna

5:34 PM  
Blogger Dmitry Grinberg said...

Picsel browser is un releated to all of those. It is made completely form scratch by Picsel Technologies Ltd. using their ePage technology (hence the amazing scaling capabilities). I would say it is the best except the fact that you cannot use multi-line textAreas in it so no webmail.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous radius said...

Alexander Gratz: I thought you could only use Netfront on the Sony Clies? I couldn't find any available for download. It sure feels faster on a 133MHz TH55 than on the T3 though.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Alexander Gratz said...

I think there is no relation between Picsel Technologies and Access or Novarra.

@radius: You can download NetFront from www.sonyclie.org. Then copy it to your card and move it to RAM with "ZLauncher". Then install MakeMeClie and run it, and NetFront thinks that your T3 would be a CLIE.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi radius,
NetFront was locked to Cluie ahndhelds by reading the device feature memor locations that defined the type of device.
MakeClie changes that feature-so you can run it on a Tungsten T3,.. too as it doesnt need Sony API(except for DIA; you gotta use CodeDiver here)....
Best regards
Tam Hanna

4:33 PM  
Blogger Alexander Gratz said...

Picsels page viewing technology is almost incredible with its features: zooming, scrolling, antialiasing (I think it's called E-Page technology)... I think there is no other software for Palm OS which displays Word, Excel, PowerPoint, TXT, HTMl, PDF, ... so good, not even for Pocket PC (a few weeks ago I could test ClearVue (www.westtek.com) on a Pocket PC but I think Picsel Browser is better.

Alexander

7:52 AM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi Alex,
but there is one problem: A plain viewer isnt enough.
I personally liked the way how MobiSystems Office rendered word documents and excel sheets when I tested it half a year ago. But, both me and a teacher of mine saw that the truetype font rendering was improveable, as the fonts didnt look crisp at all. FontBucket did a perfect job on my IIIc years ago, its free,... . I wonder why nobody uses it!
Best regards
Tam Hanna

12:31 PM  
Blogger Alexander Gratz said...

Hello,

I know MobiSystems and FontBucket, I have had it a few time, but at the moment I can't test 100 programs ;-)) I remember that it didn't work on my T|C but I'll test it again. Its zoom can be so small that you see the whole page, but the viewer isn't as good as Picsel's one.

Alex

5:35 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi Alexander,
nonono;). Dont fret-I am not asking you to review!
If somebody tests MobiSystems, its prolly gonna be me as I have time. I wrote soo much text in DocsToGo up from version 3, I beleive I know the program by heart...
Best regards
Tam Hanna

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex -
How goes the testing?
Any idea when you'll have a report to post?
I'm both grateful you're doing one, and anxious to see it, since Blazer 1 & Blazer 2 are (soon to be) dead (if not already).
My interests are lie not with OS5 & Arms, but with an OS4 device...

9:13 PM  
Blogger Alexander Gratz said...

Sorry, I can't see comments on old posts immediately.

I WILL test them. Today I wanted to post the Picsel Browser test but then my card with screenshots crashed so I have to do it tomorrow if I have time then.

For Palm OS 4, there aren't so many browsers - Blazer (1,2), Eudora, iPanel, PocketLink and PalmScape are all I know for the moment, and, of course, web clipping.

Alexander

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex -
You can scratch off:
Blazer 1, Blazer 2, and Web Clipping. Palm(one) has killed off the servers for these services. PalmNet/Web_Clipping/PQA has been gone for a long time now.

Palmscape is now in a second re-incarnation as Xiino 3.xx from Mobirus, and it does support PalmOS 4. It is still limited to HTML 3 and requires their proxy to function (eg - no viewing HTML files directly from memory cards).

As for iPanel - is there anyway for mere mortal consumers to get iPanel??? If it is an enhanced/current version of what was EIS's web browser on the Kyocera 7135, that would be GREAT! Note - EIS does NOT stand for the very old but free "Eudora Internet Suite" and its fast but text only browser.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon -

iPanel is available from PalmGear or Handango.
The version is quite old, but newer than what is on the Kyocera 7135.
While it has a GREAT list of features, including proxiless operation, it can sometimes lock up or give errors everytime it is started. When this occurs, a possible solution if to delete its cache file with a 3rd party file manager (like Filez, which is freeware).
I don't know how to launch a local HTML file from card with it, but maybe you can?
I wish they would revisit this software and release a bug fix for it.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Alexander Gratz said...

Hallo,

is anybody here?!

I'm currently reviewing NetFront, but it can take some weeks as it's a very great programm with many features.

Alex

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Supertrucker said...

Opera Mini was too unpredictable on my Palm E2, it did render pages pretty well, and works really fast for downloading pages as everything is through one of Opera's proxies. The constant crashing, and the fact that it requires the Java Runtime is why I don't have it on mine anymore. The java runtime is just too big when the E2 only comes standard with 32 mb RAM.

Blazer and xinno will do for now I guess,

Supertrucker

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