Picsel – Better Web Browsing on Mobile Phones

Browsing the web on a mobile phone is still a less than satisfying experience – and that’s without taking connection speeds into account. Mobile phone browsers have always been simpler, less featured affairs due to memory and processor limitations. Consequently phone users are missing out on a lot of the internet: many site architects don’t bother testing with mobile browsers, or can’t be bothered writing for them. We can’t blame them either – often the browsers themselves are inconsistent, or writing for them is unimaginably painful. We wrote a WAP application a couple of years ago and we’re sure it’s responsible for some of the bad dreams we have still.

Picsel Technologies have a browser that uses their ePAGE multi-media content engine to give phone users a better experience on the web, without site providers having to write special portals for phones.

Instead of staring at tiny text on a page, the Picsel browser allows users to zoom in on any content and pan it about with Live Pan and Zoom. LPZ is compatible with a range of input methods, so you’ll be able to use it with a stylus or phone joystick.

The browser will also resize content to fit the width of the screen, avoiding all that tedious back and forth scrolling, just because someone doesn’t know how to properly set table widths in Dreamweaver. File filters for Microsoft Word and Adobe’s PDF are welcome additions, and should ensure that you can read the majority of things you get sent at the last minute for reading on the train to your meetings.

The first phone to feature the browser is Motorola’s A768 smartphone. The A768 is based on Linux, but Picsel will also be providing their browser for Motorola’s MPX smartphone which is based on Microsoft Windows Mobile.

How the browser works Picsel’s information sheet

Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?