Mobile browser wars in 2008 - Opera Mobile 9.65, Iris, Skyfire and Netfront 3.5

The PC Magazine takes a look on the latest squad of mobile browsers - Iris, Skyfire, NetFront 3.5 and Opera Mobile 9.5. Some quotes from review:

Iris - We installed a copy of Iris on a Sprint MOTO Q9c (which runs Windows Mobile 6 Standard) and were treated to a bare bones, flaky browsing experience. We doubled the zoom and entered full screen mode, only to find no way out; dropping to the home screen and re-entering the browser caused it to crash. Interestingly, while it handed full-blown desktop sites just fine, it stumbled on WAP sites.

Netfront - a high-resolution browser for, strangely, older Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC devices like the Dell Axim x51v. The new version includes vague usability improvements such as improved stylus accuracy, "first-draw time" and zooming speed, but it's hard to get excited over something that doesn't run on current smartphones. (The company suspended general Windows Mobile development back with version 3.3.)

Skyfire - appears to live up to its billing as the most PC Web-like mobile browser. It supports a wide range of rich media content including dynamic Flash 9, AJAX, Java, audio, and streaming video including QuickTime – much of this one-ups even Safari on the iPhone. The browser also supports zooming, full-screen view, and multiple page thumbnails.

Opera - significantly pumps up the existing Opera Mobile 8.6 browser. You can now zoom in and out of Web pages, looking at a zoomed-out overview to decide what part of the page you want to focus on. UI is sleeker,with attractive, gray menus and a full-screen mode where the menus disappear completely. Most powerfully, though, Opera Mobile 9.5 supports Web widgets, which are little applications developed in AJAX and HTML. Opera Mobile is still missing one major Web standard - Adobe Flash, which Skyfire supports.  Opera is exploring licensing Flash themselves to include it directly in the browser.

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