To many, web on the mobile phone is still very much hoopla. It’s tedious, peripheral and simply impractical. But Nokia will soon be equipping its devices with a software that promises to silence even the keenest cynic. Will it really?
Like sucking on a sweet with its plastic wrapper on. That’s how I describe the whole concept of surfing the web on your mobile phone. You do it and you go through the motions but you aren’t really getting the juice.
Telecommunication operators, phone manufacturers and futurists have been trying to sell us the idea of mobile phone web surfing for at least a decade now. They promise your favourite websites wherever you go, right there in the palm of your hands. But judging from dismal take up rates of 3G and other mobile Internet services, consumers aren’t too convince over the whole idea. This includes your truly.
Why are people still not surfing the web on their mobile phones? The answer could lie on a very fundamental issue - there is a gross mismatch between tiny LCD screens and rich content websites. Let’s face it. How appealing does your favourite website look on the screen of your mobile phone? Would it be convenient to scroll all the way right with the directional keypad just to finish a sentence that you are reading?
Early web developers tried to solve this problem with "mobile device versions" of their websites. But these pages were visually unappealing and had too many restrictions to ever be a serious contender for mobile eyeballs.
But Nokia is good to address the issue now. It has introduced the browsing software known as the minimap. It is fundamentally a new mobile phone browser that enables users to read web pages without having to fit the entire page onto a small screen.
MiniMap was unveiled at Nokia’s Mobility Conference 2005 in Barcelona as part of its N series, and will be available on all new Nokia phones using Symbian’s Series 60 platform. The browser works by creating a tiny image of an entire web page and then allowing the user to move a magnifying panel over the section they wish to view.
"This is very different to any browser on the market at the moment," said Anssi Vanjoki, general manager for multimedia at Nokia.
"It’s a browser that will truly make the phone an Internet device. It’s bringing consumers a new way of browsing the web."Image
The browser supports dynamic HTML and RSS and allows for text searching of a web page from the phone.
"Safari WebKit’s performance, code base and support for open standards make it an ideal open source technology for projects like the new web browser for Symbian’s Series 60," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.
Nokia has said that the devices represent a leap from mobile phones to a form of handheld computer that can swap content with electronic equipment in the home as well as provide secure email.
The company launched three new handsets in Hong Kong last April which it describes as "multimedia computers" and not mobile phones. All the devices will feature the Minimap and are due to be available by the middle of this year.
Nokia hopes that this will help it grab a large share of the emerging market for ‘converged’ mobile devices. According to Nokia’s own figures, web browsing accounts for over 60 per cent of the data traffic for mobile phones and these figures increase further at higher data rates like 3G.
The software is still in testing stages and yours truly has yet to get a feel of its actual workings. But according to Nokia, user feedback has been great and minimap looks set to be the killer application that will bring Internet surfing on the mobile into mainstream usage. Will this finally be the silver bullet to slay the Mobile Web Surfing Monster? The verdict will have to wait.
This article is taken from here