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Opera Software Brings Its Browser to Mobile Phones 207

13Echo writes "Now this is cool! Opera Software has presented a technology today that solves the problems of web pages on small screens. They have created a small-screen HTML rendering technique that slightly reformats web pages to fit within the bounds of small displays. Some screenshots can be found here along with extra details as to how they do it. A full press release can be found here. As a result, horizontal scrollbars are not needed, and it even features zooming abilities for magnifying web pages."
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Opera Software Brings Its Browser to Mobile Phones

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  • More info.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by GnomeKing ( 564248 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:45AM (#4461147)
    without the full press release is available at the register here [theregister.co.uk]
    • Such as:
      "Visually impaired users can zoom out on a page to achieve legible font sizes for reading."
      Zoom out to get legible fonts? Yeah.
  • MS beat them to it (Score:1, Informative)

    by supremebob ( 574732 )
    I hate to say it, but Microsoft beat Opera to the punch with their Pocket PC phones. They have been shipping with Pocket Internet Explorer for a few months now.
    • Opera was last of the 3 to come to the browser market, it's just amazing they're ahead of mozilla here. Besides, Internet Explorer is totally the wrong browser for a mobile phone, it's just too buggy, and to targeted toward dumb multimedia stuff instead of good page rendering. Besides, mobile phones and embeded stuff is usually more standard compliant, and IE has never been close.
      • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:02AM (#4461313) Homepage
        Couple of programming students from Bhosphorus University (http://www.boun.edu.tr),here in Istanbul implemented WAP rendered HTML pages for Turkcell, nr1 and a giant GSM company of Turkey and Turkish populated countries (http://www.turkcell.com.tr). The stuff is working on server side. Gets HTML pages for you and re-renders (codes?) for WAP (wml)

        I tried it on WAP. I know it was stupid :) but I wanted to see how idea works.

        The error on a highly non compliant site I just typed was "Sorry, site isn't W3C compliant".

        Webmasters ignoring W3C, that stuff is coming to you. Sooner or later. Code standards compliant pages and you will save from lot of headache later.

        Also WAP is going great way. All standards compliant. E.g. nothing refuses you because you are a Ericsson customer other than Nokia. Mobile stuff is free from non standards... Oh wait! Hotmail. :) Its the only non wap offering big mail provider. If you have MS POCKET PC IE, you can logon!

        BTW, commercial company (especially resellers) webmasters, you will block Opera from accessing to your site? I can understand all the dotcom troubles now, ignore a $2000 phone customer wanting to buy something from you... Yea,right.

    • Microsoft beat Opera to the punch how? Displaying any web page on a mobile device without having to scroll horizontally by reformatting each page dynamically? Creating a browser which does the same on desktop as on devices?

      I'm sorry, but Opera beat IE here. Not only was Pocket IE a crippled version of Desktop IE (is Pocket IE 6 still as crippled? Haven't checked lately), while Opera's handheld offerings have always had the same rendering capabilities as on desktop. This is why Opera seems to be the browser of choice nowadays: You get everything, not just a renderer which has been crippled because it is normally too bloated. Opera is small, you know.

      And now comes small screen rendering, where Opera basically gives you the ability to view any web page on your mobile device by doing some clever reformatting.

      How exactly did "Microsoft beat Opera to the punch"?

  • Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Penguinoflight ( 517245 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:46AM (#4461162) Homepage Journal
    Isn't changing the appearance of a copywrited material illegal? I know people talk about this when removing banner ads from pages, noting that removing the code for the banner isn't really right, but you can take out the actual image.. Here it's still modification to the user, so how's it any different?
    • Re:Illegal? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by koh ( 124962 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:58AM (#4461278) Journal
      It is illegal to crack a site and deface the copyrighted pages there, but you can reformat local content on your machine with no problem...

      If your reasoning was true, it would lead to not being able to write a little poem on the book you offer to your mother, for instance...

    • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by toriver ( 11308 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:58AM (#4461282)
      If the authors of the copyrighted (note spelling) work didn't want the appearance "changed" from some initial appearance, they shouldn't have used HTML in the first place.

      HTML is just text and markup - there is no appearance until it's rendered in a user agent, and one of the basic rules of the web used to be that the rendering was 100% up to the user agent: ALT-attribute if you cannot render images and all that.

      To complain that some content is transformed before display on a device is like complaining that you lose the colors if you use a B&W photo copier with a colored book.
    • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by henben ( 578800 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:01AM (#4461302)
      Isn't changing the appearance of a copywrited material illegal?

      By its nature, how HTML is rendered is up to the browser. An HTML document doesn't have a set "appearance". Or are you saying that opening a website in a text-only browser is some kind of copyright violation?

      I don't think ad-filtering proxies have ever been found to be illegal, anyway.

    • Try this:

      Drag the edge of your browser so that it's very very small. Watch as text and images probably just got moved all over the place. Once it's on your "machine" you can do with it what you please.

    • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      this is the fun part... I can do whatever I want with your copyrighted material.. I can mangle it, reword it so you sound like you support the cloning and worship of hitler, I can change every aspect of it I wish... I just cannot release it to the public or display it for anything but private use.

      so no it's not illegal, no matter what the lawyer turds say...
    • This is a great point. I personally agree that removing pop-ups or banners is unethical at best. If you don't want the ads don't visit the site. However, it becomes more tricky when your device can't properly display the ad. It's kind of like saying that not displaying a flash ad on FreeBSD is illegal, accept that there is no version of flash for FreeBSD (AFAIK). If there's no reasonable way to display a banner ad on a cellphone (the side scrolling would be rediculous), then I think it's legit for the browser to remove it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This should prove interesting. I really hope this surges opera forward in the mobile web browsing sector. Does anyone have an idea if IE for Windows pocket pc is to be implemented in current mobile phones?
    • "This should prove interesting. I really hope this surges opera forward in the mobile web browsing sector. Does anyone have an idea if IE for Windows pocket pc is to be implemented in current mobile phones?"

      Nokia is the king. Nokia chose Opera for mobile. MS Pocket IE is a joke now.

      Symbian is the king of PDA, they chose Opera.

      Opera is the current king of non PocketPC (WinCE) PDA/Phone environment. BTW, no reason that Opera won't be implemented on Windows CE too... Its a totally respected company too.

      Geeks, you don't have to hate Opera just to be c00l (the poster I replied, its not directed to you).
  • Tired... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Coplan ( 13643 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:46AM (#4461170) Homepage Journal
    I'm tired of the "jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none" hardware that's coming out these days. I personally find no need to have a web browser built into my phone (or for that matter, I have no use for a phone that CAN have a web browser built in).

    If you need to get on the 'net that badly, you need a life.

    IMHO, It's much more useful to use your mobile phone as an interface between your computer and the 'net. I do, and it works beautifully without any problems due to limited space. If it's a pain in the ass to set up your laptop to do this, then you really don't need to get on the 'net. Can't you wait the 15 minutes until you get home?

    Porn doesn't look good on a 1X2" screen.

    • by jbarket ( 530468 )
      I went on a kick for a while where I wanted to find one of these silly mobile devices that does everything. I bought an iPaq to replace an old broken Handspring, but instead of using it for contact information and such, I was watching Bruce Lee movies on it at work. What I finally realised is that even with limitless power, there is no way something with a screen that small and limited controls will ever be as useful as a real computer. Phones should make phone calls. The only real innovation I've seen lately is iSync from Apple, where you can syncronize addresses between your Palm, phone, and computer via bluetooth (not that I can afford a bluetooth phone). The rest of this is just silly.
    • Re:Tired... (Score:3, Insightful)

      No seriously. There are a multitude of options opening up with this. I am tired of the "doesn't work for me, why should it be useful for anyone else"-attitude that's evident in people who just can't keep up with technology anymore. (If it's too loud, then you're too old!)

      What if it's not 15 minutes until you get home, because you didn't have the train-schedule handy? What if a plane crashes into a building and you have no close by news source? What if you are plain and simply bored and want some fresh entertainment?
      • Re:Tired... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by doi ( 584455 )
        What if a plane crashes into a building and you have no close by news source?

        Well, if I'm near the building where the plane crashed, I kinda already know what's going on, what do I need CNN.com to tell me about it? Not to mention that a flaming cascade of debris is going to command my attention a hell of a lot more than getting the news from a web site. Dunno about you, but I'd be running away too fast to browse or even care about the news.

        And if I'm nowhere near that building, thank god, and I can wait to get home to see horrendous suffering replayed over and over and over and over again on my big TV screen instead of wondering how much that guy is really bleeding on my small PDA/phone screen.

        • Yes, but if you were about to board the plane, you could always browse on over to get your free psychic reading [psychicdreamsonline.com], for only $9.95 USD. That way, you'd know that it was going to crash before you even left the terminal.

          See. Browser phones are useful. Don't second guess my article submissions!
    • Re:Tired... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:53AM (#4461233)
      Porn doesn't look good on a 1X2" screen.

      Soooo...your equipment is too small then?
    • can't you wait the 15 mins till you get home to use a real phone instead of a cell phone?
      • Re:Tired... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eggstasy ( 458692 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:10AM (#4461379) Journal
        It's called travelling. You make it sound like you've never been more than 15 minutes away from home.
        If you're out in the middle of nowhere on a road that's not even on the map what do you do?
        a)Wander around aimlessly in hopes of making it back to the main roads?
        b)Call someone who knows the area better than you do?
        c)Download a better map from the web?
        d)Profit!? :)

        I'd love to have a web enabled phone thingy. It's much less clunky than a laptop, and it will soon be affordable to everyone. Most people nowadays fail to realize the potential of the web, seeing it as some sort of frivolous entertainment thing that you could do well without. The web is an extension of your limited memory. With omnipresent web access and well developed google skills you effectively know *everything*, it's just not on your brain yet. Computers (and the web), as foretold by Vannevar Bush, are increasingly becoming an indispensable expansion of your brain. Learn how to live with it, and you'll have a great advantage over those who don't.
        • I have a handheld GPS unit. I also have a mouth. I stop and ask directions (I know, I know, blasphemy for a male). I have a road map of just about everywhere I could possibly be (girlfriend's idea in case the GPS isn't working or something).

          I will own my first cell phone in a few weeks. I have to have it. It will be off 100% of the time I am sure.

          I travel quite a bit. I have NEVER had the need to use a phone.
      • Can't you use the 12 hours average of bright day light to read books instead of using those awful light bulbs? I bet it's bad for the skin, too!
    • If my iPaq can't run a quake server on emulated PalmOS while converting my mp3s to ogg while I watch a 160x120 AVI of the matrix on my 20-minute commuter rail trip, then the terrorists have already won.
    • Re:Tired... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:06AM (#4461350) Homepage Journal
      I personally find no need to have a web browser built into my phone (or for that matter, I have no use for a phone that CAN have a web browser built in).

      I have similar feelings and a simple solution for us both:

      Don't buy one!

      Just because you don't like the idea doesn't mean technology should stop right then and there. Sheesh.
    • I'm tired of the "jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none" hardware that's coming out these days. I personally find no need to have a web browser built into my phone (or for that matter, I have no use for a phone that CAN have a web browser built in).

      If you need to get on the 'net that badly, you need a life.

      Why have a radio in your car? Can't you wait until you get home to listen to the news/ballgame/music? What about mobil phones in general. 10 years ago, anyone with a mobil phone was just being excessive. Now children have them. Not that we NEED any of these things, but they are useful. They do make our lives more convenient.
    • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:22AM (#4461450) Homepage
      For example, I often use a web page [rejseplanen.dk]for finding the optimal connections for visiting my family by train and bus. Ot I might decide to see a movie after meeting some friends in the city, or we might decide to eat that place we have been recommended, but can't quite remember the location of. In all such cases, web access would be convenient.

      And no, I do not carry a laptop with me all the time. Did you just say someone else what in the need of a life?

      I do carry a cell-phone though, and WAP might have been the solution, had it worked. My phone has WAP support, but I have yet to make it do anything remotely useful.

    • So... You've never needed a map that you didn't have? You've never said, "I'll have to Google that when I get home"? You've never had to look up a phone number?

      Can't you wait the 15 minutes until you get home? You've never travelled further than fifteen minutes from home?

      You've never travelled anywhere without a laptop? If you travel everywhere with your cell phone, laptop, and cables hanging all over the place... I don't believe you should be lecturing people about not having lives.

  • by Sneakums ( 2534 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:48AM (#4461189)
    From the Opera Small-Screen Rendering [opera.com] page:
    Instead of presenting table content in columns and rows, tables are reformatted into a one-dimensional structure that better fits smaller screens.
    Come on, lynx has been doing this for years!
  • Does it cost more than your ipaq?
  • ok, next... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vkt-tje ( 259058 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:50AM (#4461205)
    ok, nice!
    The next thing we need is phones with slightly bigger screens.
    Small is beautiful, but I like it practical as well.
    Look at the first mobile phones (GSM style). They were thicker. That is not good. But they were broader than the current models without that ever being a problem.
    Why not go back to the slightly larger models and put a bigger screen in them?
  • by Mattygfunk1 ( 596840 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:51AM (#4461214)
    It would please me no end to see this implemented as an option in desktop browsers. I'm sick of web developers not only ignoring people with 800x600 screens but 1024x768 screens too!

    mmmmmm forced useability.

    thank god allmighty for tities and beer [wallpaperscoverings.com]

    • I've never encountered a website that didn't look good at 1024x768, in fact usually I run into more junk that was designed for 640x480, which looks terrible on 1024x768. Hey, there's always a bigger monitor..
    • This exists (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jbarket ( 530468 )
      Run Lynx or Links. Seriously.
    • by RailGunner ( 554645 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:58AM (#4461284) Journal
      Opera already can zoom in and out of pages, it also automatically scales both text and images for you.
      It's a drop down box on the right side of the address bar. Download Opera at Opera.com and check it out!

      It's a neat feature.. useful when pages use an 8 point font and the text is hard to read or when you follow the "Awful Link of the Day" over at somethingawful and have to scale down the 48 point yellow font on an orange background..

      • It has problems with zoomed/reduced images, though. It won't redraw them correctly when going back and forth in history, or changing windows. You get black bars or cropped images. It's been a problem for a while now, and reporting it as a bug does no good (they use the old saw of "other priorities").
    • What I hate is that web sites seem to be designed to be full-screen. I mostly use 1280x1024, but I do other things (like watch logs and builds) while browsing.

      On the other hand, it is the job of the web browser to deal with the dumb things that web sites do, since the browser actually knows how big the window is, and such. What would be really nice would be if the W3C actually got around to having tags for things that sites use tables inappropriately for, so that web designers could actually give good information to browsers. As it is, there's no way to specify things like sidebars, rather than specifying the details of layout for them. If you look at a newspaper or magazine article, you'll notice that all of the high-level layout features (drop quotes, sidebars, separated initial paragraphs, tool-bar-like things, etc) are missing from HTML, and can only be done by specifying not what they are, but where they go.

  • Drool? (Score:4, Informative)

    by BoBaBrain ( 215786 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:54AM (#4461248)
    True, nobody *needs* this, but it does do what is does well [opera.com].

    The only website I'd like to view on my phone is the yellow pages.
    • The only website I'd like to view on my phone is the yellow pages.

      I agree. There's nothing else I could need while I'm away from my laptop and DSL.

      Well, maybe movie listings. That's all, though.

      And maps. Maps are good sometimes. With directions.

      And flight schedules. And flight status. Trains, too.

      That's all anyone could need, I think.

      Restaurant databases might be handy. With ratings, reviews and notes. Linked to maps.

      That's all I'd want on my phone.

      News headlines could be good. And stock quotes. Tickers even. The ability to make trades might be nice. Oops, I forgot, my portfolio consists of two dying hampsters. Never mind the stock stuff.

      Slashdot might be good for those hardcore addicts. Not me, of course. Not me. I don't have a problem, you see. I can quit any time I want. Really, I can. I think.

      Anyway, I'm sure there's absolutely nothing else that would be useful on a mobile phone. No browser required, clearly.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Instead of presenting table content in columns and rows, tables are reformatted into a one-dimensional structure that better fits smaller screens. Opera can selectively scale down large images or remove those that are superfluous, as well as some other tricks that make the pages fit small screens. And as a result, the user has no need for a horizontal scrollbar.
    • Because of the way tables are written in HTML, the Lynx way comes just by ignoring the table-formatting tags. So it's not really revolutionary or innovative. I bet there are plenty of other tags which are silently ignored in Lynx (and similar browsers). Of course, leaving something out is not necessarily a bad thing.
    • As I wrote in another reply to a person with the same misconception as yourself:

      There's more to it that ignoring tables and images (which is basically what Lynx does). Remember that there are also images, colors etc. that need to be dealt with. If you read the article (I know this is Slashdot, but come on!), you will notice that Opera even tries to be "smart" when choosing what to display. It can even be set to block ads (which take up too much space on screen).

  • Also note.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fweeky ( 41046 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:56AM (#4461258) Homepage
    .. Opera's nice new redesigned website, using XHTML and CSS. No more tables.

    Now, let's see Mozilla.org do the same please :)
  • I guess this means I can /. on my mobile phone and be able to read without scrolling, eh? ^^;
  • scrolling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cacheMan ( 150533 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:59AM (#4461291)
    These phones better have a good way to scroll through pages.
  • Not for me yet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mattygfunk1 ( 596840 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:03AM (#4461320)
    Until 3G becomes a reality here (I'm in the great Southern land of Australia) I don't want to be downloading images on my mobile phone.

    High WAP charges, already slow download speeds (9.6k IIRC), and the Nokia featured in the story is by far the largest display on a mobile currently available here (most others are considerably smaller though PDAs will benefit), mean this wont be useful for me in the near future.

    that bong ba ba ba bong [wallpaperscoverings.com]

    • You can set Opera to not load images at all. At least Opera for desktop Windows/Linux/whatever. Not sure about all the handhelds out there.
    • looked more like a Sony-Ericsson P800 to me - pretty versatile handset, phone + Java + big screen.

      I've been using GPRS (w/ Telstra) and while not as fast as I'd like, its way faster than using plain ol dialup over GSM.

      I don't wanna be downloading images any time with the current pricing for data, downloading even a quick street map for directions would cost you as much as calling the taxi and the resultant fare (well, not really, but it'd be expensive).

  • How do Opera do it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by henben ( 578800 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:08AM (#4461370)
    Opera seem to be a generation ahead of IE now.

    In Opera 6, you can zoom pages from 20 to 1000%, switch to a custom stylesheet with one click, use mouse gestures, browse in tabs (long before Mozilla did it), highlight a piece of text and do a dozen different kinds of search on it with a single right-click...

    What did IE 6 add? Cookie management. And, uh ...

    Opera runs on a dozen OSs, IE has to target Windows environments only.

    Are Microsoft complacent, or is IE 7 going to incorporate some of these useful new features and maybe even innovate a little?

    • You can get IE for the Mac as well as Solaris. I'm not saying those versions are as good as the Windows version (especially not the Solaris one!), but they exist.
      • Completely correct. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Inoshiro ( 71693 )
        The IE for Macintosh is actually supperior due to its better handling of standards tests [thock.com] pages. IE for Solaris is officially deprecated, and has become abandonware.
      • The Solaris version is IE 3 [microsoft.com]. I don't think that's useful to anyone. As an add-on to Solaris users unused to the Windows world, MS gracefully added random crashes to its Solaris version. Regrettably, due to the unfortunate habit of Solaris' seperating browser and operating system functionality, the full experience of a system crash caused by IE was not availible, making IE for Solaris a wasted exercise.
    • by Ilgaz ( 86384 )
      "Are Microsoft complacent, or is IE 7 going to incorporate some of these useful new features and maybe even innovate a little?"

      Call me mad but I bet they will somehow trick people to get a passport user.

      Just like in XP, not forced but tricked.

      So, support Opera too. They didn't do anything bad, just they are a small company (still!) and they earn their food money from coding. So, its not GPL. Easy as is.
    • Yea you have to give Opera credit for innovation. But then again, when you are trying to compete in a market where the rest of the choices are free, you had better be creative.

      As far as IE falling behind. I had a nice flight yesterday and in an ironic move, my wife had slipped "The Road Ahead V 1.0 in my backpack, and it was the only thing I had to read. (For those that remember V1.0 was the version where Bill Gates stressed that the internet was just a "passing fad" and not worth Microsoft's time and effort.)
    • Opera still doesn't render quite as well as Mozilla, nor does it support proper pop-up blocking (although I'm kind of against this feature anyway). In Opera, you block ALL popups, whereas in Mozilla, you can block Onload and OnUnloads only, which is nice for sites that use it legitimately (eg: game sites that popup a screenshot window). Other then this, Opera is by far the best browser on the planet. It's extremely fast, extremely small, has a great UI, and is reasonably priced (*gasp*, pay for software?!!?). However, the rendering issues are just big enough to keep me with IE. However, the way IE has been "improving" lately leads me to believe that Opera can catch up with it's next major release.
    • Are Microsoft complacent, or is IE 7 going to incorporate some of these useful new features and maybe even innovate a little?

      The point of IE was not to build a better browser, it was to destroy Netscape. After that had been (apparently) achieved, I think most of the team were pulled in order to work on stuff like .NET

      Don't expect IE to move forwards now - why should they? Opera is not competition to IE, neither is Mozilla. Although they are both better, IE is there on the desktop, and Moz/Opera are not.

      I've given up hope of Mozilla beating IE on Windows. It will take over the world, but it'll be on the back of Linux, there just isn't enough incentive to switch browsers.

      • Don't expect IE to move forwards now - why should they? Opera is not competition to IE, neither is Mozilla. Although they are both better, IE is there on the desktop, and Moz/Opera are not.

        In the short-term, you're right. But I think there is hope for alternative browsers to increase their share. If Opera becomes ubiquitous on mobiles, it'll get a certain brand-name recognition and people might try it on the desktop. Also, I think OEMs and people like AOL might start bundling Netscape 6 or the free version of Opera.

        When people realise that other free browsers are becoming radically better (and less risky security-wise) than IE, I think enough of them will switch to end the IE monopoly.

    • Or is it "Slashdot won't work with Opera?"

      Half the time, when I click on a link on the main page to get to a story, Opera/Slashdot forgets who I am and I become Anonymous Coward. Especially irritating when I want to reply or moderate! Logging in again doesn't help: the login is accepted but ignored.
      I asked Opera but they don't know what is going on, and there doesn't seem to be any way of contacting /. to ask them; so I end up using Opera for most things but sometimes have to switch to IE when using Slashdot!
      I hope /. gets commission from MS for this...
  • Already been done (Score:4, Informative)

    by LiamQ ( 110676 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:09AM (#4461376)

    Reqwireless WebViewer [reqwireless.com] already solved these same problems almost a year ago, and with the added bonus that it works on many more mobile phones than what Opera appears to be targeting.

    Opera still seems limited to Symbian OS phones like the Sony Ericsson P800 and Nokia 7650, which Reqwireless WebViewer supports. Additionally, Reqwireless WebViewer works on phones such as the Motorola i85s, i95cl, Accompli 008, T720, V60i, Samsung SPH-A500, and RIM BlackBerry 5810.

    (Disclaimer: I work for Reqwireless and wrote most of WebViewer. I'm kind of annoyed that Opera is acting as though they've done something new.)

    • It's a fancy new technique called Marketing.

      But that doesn't make it any less annoying.

    • "Reqwireless WebViewer already solved these same problems almost a year ago, and with the added bonus that it works on many more mobile phones than what Opera appears to be targeting."
      But with Opera you get a better browser with more capabilities.
      "Opera still seems limited to Symbian OS phones
      Nope. They target embedded Linux and QNX as well.
      • But with Opera you get a better browser with more capabilities.

        That's hard to say with their Sony Ericsson P800 and Nokia 7650 versions as they're not released yet. I suspect that Opera will be considerably slower than Reqwireless WebViewer since Opera does everything client-side whereas WebViewer uses a transformation server to scale the images and reduce the data traffic required.

        "Opera still seems limited to Symbian OS phones

        Nope. They target embedded Linux and QNX as well.

        Right, but I was thinking of mobile phones, where J2ME is much more common than Symbian OS. The same Reqwireless WebViewer that works great on the Nokia 7650 also works fine on the Motorola V60i--a small, black and white phone with a 96x54 screen.

    • Bitstream's Thunderhawk [bitstream.com] is a Mozilla-based browser which one-ups Opera by using a server-based compression algorithm to speed the downloading of pages by a factor of 3, usually more. Not only is the display slick and very fast, but combined with the compression, you're saving money by using less bandwidth at the same time you download the page in less time.

      It's been available publicly for 6 months, and was fairly widespread in beta for the same period of time before its official release.

      Granted, it only runs on Pocket PC right now, but that's because the proprietary font which makes the small text so readable requires a sufficiently sharp display. They're beta testing a version to run on the Clie now, and other clients are coming as well.

      I posted to /. when Thunderhawk was publicly released, but didn't make the frontpage. (It's a great program that I thought deserved some press.) How come Opera has enough celebrity power to make it to the top, but Thunderhawk and other similar products don't?
  • by InodoroPereyra ( 514794 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:12AM (#4461392)
    I am one of the many people sickened by the "optimized for 'whatever x watever' resolution" web pages. A good web page should scale gracefully at different resolutions, and for different displays including text browsers. And this is doable. Just avoid this moronic 800 pixels wide table framing your pages, and use a good desing, and follow the standards.

    If enough people start surfing the net from small devices, web logs will show that and the web designers will have to listen.

    Other than that, this is the way to go. We don't need yet one more document format for small devices. Better use HTML/XHTML and adapt the rendering to the device you are using ...

  • I'd say that the first impression is that this looks very promissing. This combined with zooming will work with most textbased sites, but there might be problems with sites using tables to structurize a graphical menu (games sites, etc. not just p0rn :) ).
    Anyway, it will allow me to read /. on the train going to work instead of sitting here wasting my boss' time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    While the Opera browser is cool, the SmartTrust internet browser [smallerhttp] is even smaller - it fits on any standard SIM-card.
  • This Danger phone browser that I am using right now does remarkably well on sites with tables, spacer gifs, and other awful hacks. On some more modern, standard compliant pages it is quite broken. Go figure. Since it is proxy based, it saves a lot of bandwidth, and upgrades aer automatic. There is certianly no horizontal scrolling however. No spelling checker or cut and past yet either. (I can't overstate the usefull ness of the dangerphone/hiptop/sidekick though, mapquest becomes a killer app when you can use it on a device that's more portable than my wallet) I'm really glad to see more browsers for non pc form factors though. Maybe this will be another nudge to get designers to stop designing for IE only.
  • Bad idea... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stubear ( 130454 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:33AM (#4461545)
    As a designer I don't like this concept at all. I placed my content in two columns for a reason and when the web browser makes decisions to combine this data, they can ultimately change, and confuse, the meaning of the data. We don't need cell phones with full web page support, we need to start pushing the use of XML to push data to these devices in ways that are more practical. I hope there is a way to force Opera to render the page the way I designed it the way IE offers a meta tag that shut off the smart tags feature of their web browser.
    • Boohoo, your pixel-perfect layout is ruined. SFW? Use a PDF if you want you precious layot to survive. This "I designed this web to be 643pixels wide and use all kinds of shitty 1pixels imagaes to layout it exactly this way in IE, so screw other browsers". Please grow up. As a designer your job is to make the web look good in any browser. Not pixel by pixel.
      This attitude is starting to piss me off!
      • exactly.

        I can't help but feel that if more energy had been devoted to making designers more aware of how WWW differs from designing for paper, the web would have looked a lot better than it does today. not to mention that it would probably have depended less on outdated, kludgy techniques for forcing a particular look given a very narrow list of target user agents.

        whenever I read comments from people who abhor the idea of content being adaptable to a wider range of user agents, I can't help but feel that these people have missed the entire point and are very much part of the problem.

        perhaps what one should ask is how these people can be educated? how do you explain the basic idea of creating content that can be accessed on a wide range of user agents in a manner where the content can benefit from the feature richness of some UAs while still being usable on UAs that are more constrained?

        to me the biggest problems seem to be that a) people are too lazy to care, b) too incompetent to understand why this is a good idea and c) too occupied defending their suboptimal use of technology to sit down and have a good, hard think.

        besides, the rocks and sticks approach to "web design" doesn't exactly do wonders for things like getting browser developers to maximize the subset of CSS that actually works across products. the list of CSS-features that are broken in various browsers, and thus shouldn't really be used, is too long.

    • Re:Bad idea... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The problem with web designers is that usually they are neither real designers nor technologically advanced enough to understand the basic World Wide Web concept. They're sort of the leftovers from both worlds.

      Any halfwit with a few books on "contemporary typographical tastes" and some HTML-editing software can do "web design" these days and get away with it.

      The problem is that good web design is a lot more than getting a visually pleasing result on a very, very narrow set of configurations.

      Explaining "designers" that web pages have very little in common with paper is harder than explaining the concept of screw/screwdriver to a chimp that has just understood how to drive in nails with a hammer.

      If you are still concerned with the exact look of your web pages on various browsers you are in the wrong business. What's worse: you don't even know it yet. You should be more concerned with giving your users the option of deciding how something should look.

      And no, I am not talking about dynamic content generation where the user can vary how the HTML is mangled.

  • by LiamQ ( 110676 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:37AM (#4461586)
    If you've got a Nokia 7650, you don't need to wait for Opera's next-year release. You can enjoy the real Web today, with no horizontal scrolling (unless you want it when viewing full-size images), using Reqwireless WebViewer [reqwireless.com]. Also works with most other J2ME phones.
    • I've used WebViewer on my Samsung A500 (Sprint PCS phone) and found that I can't enter text in the search box on http://www.google.com/palm. This is a really bad limitation, and in spite of a lot of back and forth with the nice tech support folks, they can't fix it because they don't have an A500, and can't reproduce it on the models they have on hand. So J2ME is not exactly the standard platform (apparently) that everyone claims it is. I'm waiting for someone to put out a proper HTML browser for the Samsung, because the WAP 2.0 one built in to the unit just plain sucks.
  • Uh, hello Slashdot?!

    Espial Escape [java-browser.com] has had these features for years!

    Escape is a state of the art, pure-Java browser that dynamically fits HTML4 content onto mobile phones & TV screens. Check it out!

  • The article mentions the ability to zoom, but doesn't mention anything more. What I would like is the ability to look at the web page rendered in 640x480 dimensions, and be able to zoom in as necessary. The example pages are stripped down content, and that is a very cool feature without a doubt. But, sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to see what the page looks like in more native resolutions. Just think, zooming in from 10% of the normal size, to 500% to read the article...

    I had an old 486 DX/2 50 laptop I used for ages with Opera. It was great on the old machine, no slow down at all. But, it was 640x480. I would frequently have to look at pages 50% of their normal size to see everything at once (like big headers). Once I found what I was looking for, I would zoom in like 200% so I could read the article text. I imagine this feature would be even more useful on a cell phone, especially one running at at HALF the resolution I had on that laptop.

    The examples the article gives makes it seem like Opera is a super efficient automatic AvantGo. I want to be able to look at the real think on my PDA or phone using PDA technology.

  • by TA ( 14109 )
    I compared the screenshots with the original sites, and in my opinion the Opera rendering is better than the original, on ANY display, including my huge office desktop monitor. I want that kind of layout in my desktop browser!
  • There's a great option to Opera Small-Screen rendering - Plucker. While not yet ported to cell phones (and designed for offline browsing), the screen width is similar to a palm pilot, which Plucker is designed for, and the backend could be compiled to run on a phone. Plus the source is open and the license is GPL2! All it would take is some porting of the renderer, and you'd have an open-sourced small screen browser.

    Visit the Plucker web site [plkr.org].

  • Ad blocker? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I noticed the screenshots provided seem to have fewer ads then when I visit those pages on my desktop, such as The Register which is supposed to have four banner ads on above and to the right of an article. I wonder if future versions of Opera for the desktop will offer such technology even through it's not needed.

    It would probably be a bad thing though. Opera aleady has enough problems displaying pages properly (I still love it, though), I don't think they'll want to have a bunch of pissed off webmasters intentionally using non-compatible design.
  • by Dannon ( 142147 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @11:33AM (#4462030) Journal
    Opera in phone: Good.
    Phone going off at the Opera: Bad.

    Thanks for your attention.
  • by Serveert ( 102805 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @11:53AM (#4462187)
    This thing is still a huge hack. Only a few HTML sites can be displayed on phones.

    People don't realize why WAP was developed in the first place and why WAP is here to stay... WAP is a wireless protocol providing reliable transport over a wireless medium. Something TCP/IP can't do over the airwaves, sorry. Wap 2.0 supports WML which is optimized for small screens. It does exactly what this does.. but better. C'mon, rolling tables into 1 dimension is a hack. WML accomplishes this much better with decks. If you're familiar with WML you'd know this.

    In the future WAP 2.0 will support XHTML.. and HTML is merging into XHTML. Then, and only then, can we have one markup on websites and display it properly for all situations on both wireless devices and wireline devices.

    So, don't be surprised if carriers are using WAP for a long, long time despite all the FUD and bullshit.
  • Imagine what ICQ.com will look like on a screen that reformats everything so it only scrolls vertically. Page 1/1824, woo.
  • Great! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@NOsPAM.suppafly.net> on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @12:35PM (#4462577)
    Just what we need.. another reason for people to brag about how great gesture notation and tabbed browsing are.

    I can see it now.. people spasmatically jerking their cell phones around trying to get gesture notation to work.
  • Time to get an Opera icon for /. it is, mmm.:)
  • I hope it also recognizes the CSS media="handheld" attribute.

  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 )
    I've been using Opera on my Diamond Mako (Psion Revo+) for well over a year now. Is the version for the phones that run a Symbian OS that much different?


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