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Internet ready to invade mobiles

Posted: 14 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet? handset? mobile phone?

The Mobile World Congress kicked off the race for chip vendors, software suppliers and handset manufacturers to bring full-blown Internet into the consumer's pocket.

And the 800-pound gorilla at the congress this year, Google, with its Android platform, is promising to bring "desktop" Web experiences to the mobile world.

"Within a year, people will be doing YouTube and Facebook on their handsets," according to Rob Coombs, director of mobile solutions at ARM Ltd, a partner in the Android movement.

Describing ARM11 as "a tipping point," Coombs said the ARM11 core has already "opened the door" to people's ability to read e-mail on their cellphones. With the ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 2008 heralds an even bigger leap in performance in handset devices, he said, allowing a phone to "boot CNN in seconds," for example.

While Intel Corp. insists that the company's X86 is a must to allow the full Internet experience on Mobile Internet Devices, ARM argues that error-free browsing is a software issue, not hardware. In ARM's mind, "browsing on ARM equals browsing on Intel."

Opera Software is demonstrating its new Opera Mobile 9.5a full native browser. Many experts believe it could provide a browsing experience to rival, or surpass, that of Apple's iPhone.

Unlike the company's Opera Mini, which uses a remote server to pre-process Webpages before sending them to a phone in order to put the Internet on any device, Opera Mobile 9.5 makes a point of bringing an "iPhone experience to any feature phones and/or smart phones," noted a company spokesperson. This will allow users to interact with content exactly as they do on their PC, she added.

Opera Mobile 9.5's enhanced browsing features including zooming and panning that make it easier to navigate, loading pages quicker or saving pages for later offline viewing. The new software, however, is still a pre-alpha version, according to the company. Its beta version is expected for launch this spring.

Opera, which is not a Google Android platform partner, is making Opera Mobile 9.5 on all major platforms including Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux, as both a standalone browser and as an SDK.

- Junko Yoshida
EE Times

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