Microbrowser

From Academic Kids

A microbrowser (sometimes minibrowser or mobile browser) is a web browser designed for use on a handheld device such as a PDA or mobile phone. Microbrowsers are optimised so as to display internet content most effectively for small screens on portable devices and have small file sizes to accommodate the low memory capacity and low-bandwidth of wireless handheld devices. Essentially, they are stripped-down web browsers.

Contents

Underlying technology

The microbrowser usually sets up the cellular networks themselves and gets content written in XHTML Mobile Profile (WAP 2.0), or WML (WAP 1.3 which was based on HDML). WML and HDML are stripped-down formats suitable for transmission across limited bandwidth, and wireless data connection called WAP. In Japan, DoCoMo defined the i-mode service based on i-mode HTML, which is an extension of Compact HTML (C-HTML), a simple subset of HTML.

WAP 2.0 specifies XHTML Mobile Profile plus WAP CSS, subsets of the W3C's standard XHTML and CSS with minor mobile extensions.

Newer microbrowsers are full-featured Web browsers capable of HTML, WML, i-mode HTML, cHTML, plus CSS, ECMAScript, and plug-ins such as Macromedia Flash.

Pioneers

The so-called microbrowser technologies such as WAP, NTTDocomo's i-mode platform and Openwave's HDML platform have fuelled the first wave of interest in wireless data services.

Small-screen rendering limitations

As mentioned, not only do microbrowsers need to be small in file size, the display screen is also much smaller. Extreme care and meticulous detail must be considered in displaying HTML information onto such a small screen. Bandwidth is also extremely limited and so is the stability. Connections get cut off as with ordinary cell phones and PDAs that are wirelessly connected.

Popular microbrowsers

The following are some of the more popular microbrowsers. Some microbrowsers are really miniaturized Web browsers, so some microbrowser companies also provide browsers for the PC.

Default browsers used by major mobile phone vendors

User-installable microbrowsers

See also

External links

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