Nokia's Browser Site Adapts Itself to Everything From S40 to the Desktop

Nokia Browser Site

Nokia has launched a mini-site at alerting users that there might be an updated browser available for their phone.  The site touts the features of the new Symbian and MeeGo browsers and Nokia's proxy based browser for recent S40 phones.

For Symbian, the site showcases the latest 7.3 version of  the Symbian browser and its improved JavaScript performance and support for CSS3 and the viewport meta tag.

According to Nokia, Browser 7.3 for Symbian is available for all Symbian 3 and S60 5th edition phones and for selected S60 3rd edition Feature Pack 2 (FP2) phones like the N79 and N96. Supposedly you can update the browser on these phones by running the Software Update app on the phone.

I ran Software Update on my N8 which still has the old 7.2 version of the Symbian browser but no update was available. I suspect that Symbian Anna is a prerequisite for the 7.3 browser.  Because my N8 is a NAM version, which Nokia seems to have forgotten exists, it's stuck for now on the old pre-Anna PR 1.2 firmware with neither Anna nor Browser 7.3.

In what most surely is a typo, the site refers to the Nokia N95 a FP2 phone and suggests that browser 7.3 is available for it. Of course, the N95 is a S60 3rd. ed. FP1 phone and as such is not eligible for the upgrade.

The MeeGo section covers the N9 browser's state of the art WebKit2 engine and support for HTML5 and CSS3. It's also the only Nokia browser that supports Geolocation. I'm hoping to eventually get an N9 review unit so that I can put, what by all accounts is the best current mobile browser though its paces.

The Nokia Browser (formerly the Ovi Browser) for S40 mobile phones looks interesting as well.  Like Opera Mimi, Bolt and the UC Browser it's a proxy based browser.  Web pages are pre-rendered and compressed before being sent to the thin Java ME client on the phone.

The proxy architecture cuts data traffic and page loading times by up to 90% making using the web fast, thrifty and enjoyable even on inexpensive feature phones on slow networks.

One thing that sets the Nokia Browser apart from other proxy based browsers is that it has the ability to run S40 Web Apps, which are Web widgets that run in the browser and are able to execute a subset of JavaScript, called the Mobile Web Library (MWL) in the thin client.   This is another browser I would like to get some hands on time with.  It's available through the Ovi Store for most recent S40 phones (click here for a list of supported devices).

The Nokia Browser site is interesting in that it's designed to adapt itself using JavaScript and CSS to the various Nokia browsers and to desktop browsers.  You can observe this  by changing the width of the browser window in your desktop browser (I used Firefox to make the screenshots above).  As the viewport increases in width the font size grows and the top image changes from a C3 running the Nokia S40 browser to an N8 running the Symbian Browser to an N9 running the MeeGo Browser. The transformation occurs without reloading the page. Pretty slick.



3 thoughts on “Nokia's Browser Site Adapts Itself to Everything From S40 to the Desktop

  1. PS ...

    Some of the upgrades I mentioned above were part of the earlier upgrade from browser 7.2 to 7.3 - my post was a little misleading in that sense. I've downloaded so many updates over the past week, I'm still a little fuzzy about what came with what :) Sorry about that.

    In short, if you're running browser version 7.2, you should definitely upgrade to 7.3 - and then download the additional Anna upgrades, which Dennis discussed in his post above.
    • Hi Dennis!

      Just a quick follow-up to this thread. Yesterday - November 10, 2011 - I discovered 2 new updates for the N8. One of them updates Nokia Maps, which, according to Nokia, enhances drive navigation. It is 16MB. The other is a smaller update of only about 1MB, which is called "Anna Service Pack Update" or something like that. Both are available by clicking on the SW Update icon, located in the Applications folder.

      Just wanted to let ya know ...

      Best regards,

  2. Hello Dennis!

    Thanks for the heads-up and Nokia update link.

    I ran the Anna update(s) on my N8 using the mobile web. A few comments for your readers: the update consisted of 3 separate components - 2 labeled 'Anna' and 1 labeled 'social' which I did not download. The 2 Anna updates are roughly 54 MB, so if you're planning to download it over the internet as I did, plan on 2 or 3 hours for the whole thing.

    The new browser is noticeably faster and easier to use. Hooray for the new address bar at the top of the page. Much easier to navigate now. The new portrait qwerty keyboard is also a big improvement over the previous number pad. The video camera interface also got a facelift and upgrade to 720p / 30 fps - really fantastic! Nokia maps also got an upgrade as well.

    So, in addition to the cosmetic changes to the icon set, this is a substantial update - and definitely worth downloading. It feels like a new phone - imho.

    Thanks again for the tip!

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