Palm Unveils its Own Web Browser
At CeBit, Palm Inc. has announced that it will soon be releasing the Palm Web Browser. This is a full Web browser which allows to user to access any URL on the Internet, bookmark and categorize favorite sites, save information for offline viewing, and cache a history of visited sites. Pages are reformatted to make them look better on a handheld's small screen. It will be available in the U.S. on April 8 for $20.
The Palm Web Browser has compression technology that speeds up downloads of text and the browser displays that first, so users can search and read information while multiple graphics continue to load from a page. It is not yet clear whether it makes use of a proxy server, though it seems likely.
The browser will be available in Europe at the end of April, and in other regions some time after that. It is localized in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese.
The Palm Web Browser is available for wirelessly-enabled Palm m125, m130, m500, m505, m515, and i705 handhelds, which seems to indicate that it requires Palm OS 4.
This is another sign that Palm is moving away from its Web Clipping technology, which was created to allow users to download small amounts of targeted information rather than whole Web pages. However, the conditions Web Clipping was designed to deal with are going away. It was created to allow users to quickly get the information they need at a time when wireless networks were very slow and charged by the amount of data downloaded. With 3G wireless networks on the horizon, those limitations should soon be a thing of the past.
Palm hasn't dropped Web Clipping yet. The new Palm Web Browser has support for it built-in. There are still plenty of users of slow wireless networks for which Web Clipping is a good solution.
"Our web clipping approach is ideal for quick hits for specific information; the new browser affords the additional freedom to explore any website and save important information," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president and COO of the Solutions Group at Palm, Inc.
The first sign of the move away from Web Clipping was when the i705, Palm's new wireless handheld, came with a full Web Browser as well as Web Clipping support. When it was released, rumors surfaced that Palm would be announcing an improved version, which this apparently is. It is not yet known if i705 users will get this app as a free upgrade.
This is far from the first Web browser available for the Palm OS. Handspring makes Blazer 2.0 and AvantGo has one built-in.
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