Tag Archives: Java ME browser
Opera Software has released an upgraded version of Opera Mini 4.n, its lightweight Java ME proxy browser for older and low end feature phones that can't run Opera Mini 7.1. The new release is Opera Mini 4.5 and it replaces Opera Mini 4.4 in the company's lineup. Compared with its predecessor, Mini 4.5 adds:
- The download Manager from Opera Mini 7.1 which supports pausing and resuming downloads and downloading multiple files simultaneously.
- Better support for touchscreen devices including kinetic scrolling and increased spacing between tappable elements.
- New skins including a new light default skin
- Added a private browsing option which hides your activity from the browser history and download history and deletes, cookies, cache and passwords when you exit private browsing.
I tested the new version on an LG LN 272 QWERTY slider feature phone. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a long standing bug with all Mini 4.n versions that caused to "tear" and become corrupted and unreadable when scrolling on this device was fixed.
There were a huge number of major announcements at the Mobile World Congresss (MWC) in Barcelona today. Somewhat lost in the barrage of press releases was that Bitstream has released Bolt 1.7. The main things that are new in this release are:
- The ability to post to Twitter from within Bolt. Posts are pre-populated with the current page's URL and are editable so you can add your own comments to the tweet.
- Widgets (images below) based on the draft W3C standard. These widgets run on the Bolt server and display in the browser rather than on the phone's idle screen. Currently there are nine widgets available
- Weather - which shows a four day forecast for any world city
Twitter Profile - displays recent tweets by a single Twitter user
- Twitter Search
- Bolt Forum - displays the last 10 posts on the Bolt user forum and lets you reply or create a new topics.
- A basic Calculator
- Calendar widget that displays a calendar for the current or any other month
- Wikipedia Search, Dictionary.com lookup and Bing search; each of which opens the respective site to display the results of the user's query.
- Weather - which shows a four day forecast for any world city
The widgets are installed from an on-device Gallery. I haven't been able to find any information on developing Widgets for Bolt or how developers can add them to the Gallery.
- New Spanish and Russian language versions
- New keypad shortcuts:
- zoom in (#2)
- zoom out (#8)
- Jump to page top (22)
- Jump to page bottom (88)
- New shortcut keys for BlackBerrys and other QWERTY devices.
- Bolt's server assisted streaming video which transcodes and displays Flash flv content from selected sites now supports YouTube videos embedded on any site plus CNN and ESPN videos.
- The Download Manager now allows multiple simultaneous downloads with pause and resume
- Improved handling of buttons on web forms
- Search for text in the page
I ran Version 1.7 through its paces on a Nokia N95. This release continues Bolt's pattern of steady incremental improvement which I've seen over the past year since the browser's first release. I'm particularly pleased with the new top of page and bottom of page shortcut keys in this release. I'd gotten so used to being able to quickly jump to the top and bottom of the page in Opera Mini 4.2 and missed that ability in Bolt (and in the Opera Mini 5 Beta which still lacks this essential feature).
Bolt is the only Java browser with more than two zoom levels, it has seven and the new zoom hotkeys make on the fly zooming easy.
I'm taking a wait and see approach to the widgets. None of the initial ones seem particularly useful but it will be interesting to see how Bolt's widget platform evolves. Hopefully Bolt will open widget development to third parities and provide a way to port web widgets from other platforms like Symbian and Opera.
Bolt is a reliable and fast browser that seems to to able to faithfully render even difficult sites that Opera Mini and UCWEB have problems with. It's still a little weak on features, lacking both tabbed browsing and a fit to width mode but is a fine choice for general browsing.
Users of previous versions of Bolt will be prompted to upgrade the first time they load a page. If you are new to Bolt, visit boltbrowser.com with phone or PC to download and install. Bolt is a generic Java application which runs on most phones. There is also a special BlackBerry version Bolt and a "Lite" variant for low end devices.
BitStream just gave me 500 referral codes for the Bolt Browser that I reviewed last Friday. If you don't have Bolt, go to http://boltbrowser.com click the "Download" tab and fill out the form, entering wapreview in the referral code field.
I also found out a little more about Bolt.
Versions and Upgrades: The initial release of Bolt was version 0.70, the latest is 0.73 - which is what you should have if you downloaded after 9 AM EST on Friday. There is another release in the works although I have no ETA. If you don't have 0.73, go back to the Download page and request a new download. I don't think you need a referral code for updates, the site should recognize you as a returning Beta tester based on your email address.
Bolt is based on Bitstream's ThunderHawk Browser. The underlying ThunderHawk technology supports BREW, Windows Mobile and Symbian and it is planned for BOLT to support these platforms in the future.
- J2ME MIDP2 (virtually all J2ME phones produced in the last three years)
- BOLT supports all common/standard screen sizes
- Approximately 150k storage space for application
- 500k of RAM to run application
Bolt Architecture: Bolt uses the WebKit rendering engine and Bitstream's proprietary fonts and font engine on the server. Content is compressed 23:1 before being sent to the handset, reducing data traffic and page load times.
Multimedia and Plugin Support: BOLT supports Flash video. The client/server architecture is used to transcode the video on the fly into 3gp format, then send to the device. In some devices (e.g., Motorola RAZR), video is played directly in the browser window as it would be on a PC. In others (e.g., BlackBerry smartphones), the video is played through the device’s native media player via the native browser. The device’s capabilities determine the process used to display video. Video that is in mobile 3gp format is sent directly to the device without transcoding. Bolt supports Ajax (except for timer events).
If you missed out on the first round of Bolt invites last week, now you have another chance. If your phone supports Java ME, I highly recomend you give Bolt a try.