Teleca’s New Browser – Wow!

I spent a few minutes playing around with the new LG Voyager (VX 1000) at the Verizon store on Market St in San Francisco. The Voyager is Verizon’s answer to the iPhone. I wasn’t too impressed with the phone as a whole, it’s just a tarted up BREW based feature phone, but the browser is something else entirely. It’s labeled as the Teleca Browser V 3.8 and is a full web browser in the style of Opera Mini and Mobile, Nokia Webkit and the iPhone’s Safari.

The new Teleca browser is a worthy competitor to those other browsers as well. It loaded the front page of this blog in 10 seconds on EVDO beating the Webkit’s 17 seconds and only slightly slower than Opera Mini’s 8 seconds; both recorded on a Nokia N95 using 1.5 mHz Wifi. This is a 369 KB page, (151 KB after Opera Mini’s server compresses it). Teleca’s rendering was perfect. This page uses pure CSS, including floats, for positioning and colors and there are png’s with transparent backgrounds so it’s not exactly a trivial page to get right. The page looked gorgeous on the phone with rich colors and attractive and readable fonts. Webkit’s rendering was just as good. Opera Mini was good too, but the fonts were a little ragged looking and the horizontal menu was clobbered rather badly. The Teleca browser has both a mini-map and fit to width and you can zoom pages from 50-200%. Webkit’s zoom only goes up to 125%, too small for easy readability of some pages, and lacks fit to width, which I really miss. The mini-map helps but it’s still keyhole browsing where you scroll around a big page both horizontally and vertically, a very inefficient way to actually read text. I find myself using fit to width 90% of the time with Opera Mini. It’s so much easier to read text without horizontal scrolling.

The browser has at least some JavaScript support as my AdSense ads are visible. I didn’t have a chance to try any Ajax pages though.

This browser is the represents a huge turnaround by Teleca, a company that’s been in the mobile browser business since 1999. Teleca, which started life as AU Systems, created some truly awful browsers in the early years. Their first xhtml-mp browser, on the Ericcson T68, was so buggy that wise mobile developers sent wml to T68 rather than trying to work around the “features” in the xhtml support. But Teleca/AU, which is also known as Obigo, has redeemed themselves by creating one of the best current mobile browsers.

The use of the Teleca Browser on the Voyager marks a major change for Verizon too. The carrier, the US’ 2nd largest with 63 million subscribers, has specified the Openwave V. 6 browser on all their non-smartphones for what seems like forever. That browser was introduced in 2002 and while it was one of the best back in the day it’s now totally outmoded, with a 20-30 KB page size limit, poor CSS and no JavaScript support and problems handling redirects. Verizon users are stuck with Openwave too as the phones don’t have Java and Verizon offers no alternate BREW browsers for download. I’m hoping this will change and Verizon will standardize on the Teleca browser for all their future handsets; although I noticed that the LG Venus, a high end feature phone launched simultaneously with the Voyager, still has the old Openwave browser.

7 thoughts on “Teleca’s New Browser – Wow!

  1. Can we update teleca browser and how if we could because my lg voyager web browser says it needs to be updated but i dont know how

    • Does it gives you a link or button to click to update? If not call your mobile operator and ask them if there is a firmware or browser update available for your phone.

  2. Too bad Obigo doesn’t support the viewport tag, transparent PNG’s, or half of the other things all of the other webkit browsers support…

    • Too bad indeed. However Obigo/Teleca isn’t Webkit based. It’s a lightweight embedded browser for feature phones and uses its own proprietary browser engine

  3. As a cell phone the Voyager VX-1000 is a huge failure. To make a simple phone call you have to access the phone icon… no biggie, but then when you dial a number your keypad display disappears and your phone asks for you to unlock it. So you have to unlock it and then hit the phone icon again to launch the dialer interface. So say if you call into Verizon for tech support, you have 4 touch screen clicks just to be able to enter the 5 layers of numbers for tech support..2…5…4…etc…etc..while driving..very dangerous. Plus the touch screen is un-responsive. After entering 3 digits it tends to hang, and then puts out all the cached digits you’ve entered in frustration. You can not drive when using this beast, it’s not safe. This is clearly a premature release in a faint attempt to match the iPhone. The Voyager doesn’t come close from a usability standpoint. If you like all the other BS things this “phone” does, then go or it, as long as you’re willing to pay the high monthly fees for all the goodies. But beware its internet browser display is about 10% the quality of the iPhone/iPod Touch and you have to pay extra for their very nice 3rd party e-mail client app. And no WiFi. And don’t ever expect to look at your exchange/outlook e-mail over this pig browser. I just wanted a decent phone and I liked the QWERTY keyboard for checking e-mail on the road and I thought this was “IT”, but as a phone, this “lock feature” is a deal-breaker.

  4. Advanced full Internet and mobile browsing (OMA 2.3)

    Supports HTML 4.01 AND CSS2.1
    JavaScript 1.5 and DOM2
    Frames support
    Quirks mode
    Full content support, including embedded video and SVG

    Rendering: Handles all rendering of markup and scripting including

    Text Optimized Rendering
    Screen Optimized Rendering
    Text Only
    Navigation: Thumbnail, Hot Spot, SnapToText.

    Supports 2way. 4way and touch screen navigation

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