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Handspring Blazer 2.0 Review
By Davy Fields
Blazer 2.0 is a Web browser for the Palm OS. It offers support for color graphics, personalization, bookmarks, and strong security. It supports all major existing standards, optimizing HTML, WAP, and cHTML content for viewing on a handheld display.
Blazer also has a great bookmarks scheme, and you can save a hundred different ones. This leads to one of my problems with the whole wireless Web, because, frankly, I only have 20. Fortunately, Blazer's default home page (which can be switched), is set to an incredibly useful search/mobile directory page made by Handspring with lots of different sites.
The colors in Blazer are also fantastic. 16-bit images looks just as nice as the ones you can load in SplashPhoto, and that's one of the best parts. Most other browsers can only support up to 256-colors, which isn't pretty on an m505, but 16-bit photos are great looking.
Also, if you don't go to a native Palm site, the content is still very viewable. Blazer automatically shrinks down the images to viewable sizes, and preserves most of the order. What's especially cool is if you go to a page with frames, Blazer will allow you to pick which one to view. Needless to say, you won't be getting any pop-up camera ads.
My only real problem with Blazer is the caching system, because it's not done very intelligently. It uses a strange method of caching images, as well as whole pages. For example, Blazer is not an off-line browser but it saves lots of pages to a cache. That wouldn't be a problem with a static page, but with a news site that constantly changes, Blazer often just goes right to the cached page instead of checking whether there's a new version online.
Another problem is clicking Refresh to actually check for new content makes all the images reload too, which is a real pain. A great example is ESPN, which has a never-changing banner of links at the top, and a picture and a story in the middle. Every time I go, I'd have to refresh every image, doubling the amount of time it should take. Eventually, I just set the cache size to zero so it wouldn't hold any pages in memory.
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