Tag Archive | "browser"

Chrome for Android Ups the HTML5 Ante; Now Scores Highest of Any Mobile Browser

Chrome Beta for Android phones and tablets was launched just last week by Google. Unfortunately, it’s restricted to Android 4.0 and beyond, which means in all likelihood, only about 1% of you currently have access to it. Although the default Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich browser is Chrome-like in many ways, the Chrome Beta brings the Chrome aesthetic to the Android platform along with an emphasis on synchronization and a big boost to web-standards compatibility.

In addition to syncing your bookmarks from desktop to mobile and back, Chrome for Android also lets you open tabs on your phone or tablet that are currently open on your computer. Unfortunately, this isn’t a two way street (you can’t access tabs currently on your phone/tablet from the desktop browser). You can also command pages to open on your phone using the Chrome to Mobile Beta extension, although this feature has always been possible with the older Chrome to Phone extension which only requires Android 2.2+ to use.

With Chrome for Android, your familiar omnibox comes with you as well. If you frequently visit a site through Chrome on your desktop, your omnibox will pick up on those queues on your mobile as well, helping you get to the site you want more quickly. There’s also incognito browsing on Chrome for Android, but this feature is present in the default browser as well, so it won’t be anything new if you’re already on Android 4.0+.

Chrome for Android actually makes perhaps its biggest stride in a mostly invisible, but utterly important area: web compatibility. Just the other week I published a story showing which mobile browser had the best compatibility with the still-evolving  HTML5 standard. At the time, RIM’s in-development browser was at the top of the list with a score of 329 from HTML5test.com, while the highest scoring currently-released browser was mobile Firefox (available for multiple versions of Android) with a score of 313. Although Chrome for desktop has long led or been consistently among the top most compatible HTML5 browsers, the default browser on Android was actually far behind the curve with a score of only 256 for the Android 4.0 ICS version of the browser, and just 182 for the Android 2.2/2.3 version of the browser which the vast majority of smartphones are running.

With the release of Chrome for Android, Google has make a significant improvement to HTML5 compatibility over the default browser, improving by 87 points over the Android 4.0 ICS browser and a whopping 161 points over the Android 2.2/2.3 version. At 343 points, Chrome for Android now stands as the #1 most compatible HTML5 browser. This isn’t quite as high a score as the desktop counterpart, which currently scores 373 in the test, but it’s a good sign of things to come.

Chrome for Android uses the same rendering engine as the default Android browser as far as I can tell, so you likely won’t see any major performance gains (although I am noting a ~200ms improvement in Sundspider between the default browser and Chrome). However, the user interface is more interactive and offers many improvements over the default browser (especially if you’re using the pre-ICS browser). Another new feature is a link preview box which automatically pops up when Chrome is unsure which link you’ve clicked (where there are many links close together). You’ll see a little box pop up which magnifies the links and makes them easier to click. This is handy, but half the time I can’t even get it to come up on purpose which makes me question how well they are able to detect when it will be needed.

I’ve got the Galaxy Nexus on hand and I’ve been trying Chrome for Android since it came out. While I’ve got issues with a few user-interface inconsistencies and a stalling omnibox (hopefully to be fixed post-beta), it’s undeniable that Chrome for Android can provides a much richer and more ‘hands-on’ experience thanks to a rethought UI.

I don’t have a tablet running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich handy so I haven’t been able to get a feel for Chrome for Android in that form. Fortunately, our pal Ritchie from Ritchie’s Room has the Asus Transformer Prime (now upgraded to Android 4.0 ICS) and put together a great video showing what the experience is like (his written thoughts on the browser are here):


As you can see, it looks very much like Chrome on the desktop. This is a great thing because it really extends the Chrome browser experience across multiple platforms; not just in terms of synced bookmarks, but also in look and feel. Imagine how close to a desktop experience you’d get if you were running Chrome for Android on a tablet hooked up for use as a desktop computer!

One thing I wish Chrome for Android would do is sync your ‘Most Viewed’ sites that are shown when you open a new tab. At the moment, the ‘Most Viewed’ section exists on Chrome for Android, but it only considers sites that you’ve viewed on your phone, not those on the desktop as well. This may be intentional (as one might browse differently when on desktop or mobile), but it also might be attributable to the ‘Beta’ tag currently adorning this initial release of Chrome for Android. Also not currently functioning in the browser is Flash. Again, this might be a beta thing, or perhaps Google is putting the final nail in the coffin.

It’s unclear if Google intends to eventually turn Chrome into the default browser for Android, but I think you’ll agree with me in saying that it would make a lot of sense. The boring default browser has long lacked any thoughtful tab management or much of a user interface; Chrome for Android feels like a big (overdue) step in the right direction. It would be odd if Google maintained two separate mobile browsers for Android, but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility — it likely depends upon the organization and cooperation of the Android team and the Chrome team within Google.

If Google treats the Chrome Beta like most products they’ve ever labeled with ‘beta’, be prepared to see that beta tag for years to come!

Which Mobile Browser Has the Best HTML5 Support?

No matter how fast your tablet or smartphone is, without proper web-standards support, you may run into roadblocks while trying to do various online tasks. It’s hard to pin down one single instance where lack of standards support is going to hurt you, but for me what it really comes down to is confidence in one’s browser. By this I mean: when I leave the house and have only my smartphone with me, I might need to do something through the browser that I’ve never done before (and thus don’t know whether or not it will work correctly); I should have confidence that my phone will be able to handle it.

I’ll give you one example: several years ago I was standing in a long line to buy lift tickets at a ski resort. Only after we’d been standing in line did we come to know that you could get a discount if you pre-purchased the tickets online. Smartphone-in-hand, we went to the resort’s website and pre-purchased lift tickets for the group while waiting in line. Had my smartphone not had sufficient browser standards support, it’s very likely that I wouldn’t have been able to properly interact with the resort’s website — whether it be a drop down list, radio button, or form-entry mechanics, which just might not have worked quite right, preventing me from completing the task at hand. Having the confidence that you’ll be able to do nearly anything through the browser of your smartphone/tablet that you could do from your desktop is an important factor in anyone who is serious about mobile productivity. And while my example above obviously wasn’t a very big deal; imagine yourself in a business situation where some vital task needs to be accomplished in a pinch, and you’ve got only your smartphone with you. Screw it up and miss the deadline and you’ve lost the big account — only because you weren’t able to do what you thought you could through your mobile browser.

HTML5 represents the latest version of standardized web language. A browser that fully supports HTML5 and a website written properly with HTML5 means that there should be perfect parity between the functionality of the website and the ability of the browser to interpret that website — and allow you to do pretty much anything from your smartphone/tablet that you could do from your desktop browser. With this in mind, you may be interested, as I am, in seeing which mobile browsers have the best HTML5 support to date. Be sure to note that HTML5 is still under development, so ‘full compatibility’ is a moving goal post at this point, and scores are being improved with every browser/OS update. Before you look at the results, why don’t you guess which platform/browser will have the best HTML5 support. Go on, guess!

HTML5 Test Mobile Browser Scores

I mostly kept the most modern version of each operating system’s browser on the chart, except I kept Android 2.2/2.3 and 3.0/3.1/3.2 because the vast majority of Android smartphones are still running 2.2/2.3 while most Android tablets are running 3.0/3.1/3.2.

Unlike what I would have expected, even as of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the default Android browser is not leading the pack of HTML5 compatible browsers. Actually, currently in the lead is the second version of RIM’s tablet OS which scores an impressive 329. Of course, this is still in development and even when it’s released, it won’t be running on all that many devices (burn! sorry, RIM). In that case, the real winner at the moment is actually Firefox Mobile 9, which sort of puts Android in the lead by a loophole (their platform allows such apps to exist!). Firefox Mobile 9 scores 313 which is doubly good because it can run on any Android device with 2.0 or beyond. After Firefox Mobile 9 is Safari on iOS 5 which trails not far behind with a score of 305.

So what does one take away from this? Well, if you’re on Android (even if you’re using the very latest version), it might be in your best interest to have a copy of Firefox installed for those times when you absolutely need a website to work. It’s fortunate for Android that Firefox is stepping up the game with HTML5 compatibility as the current most popular Android installs have relatively weak compatibility, and even the very latest build isn’t in the top 5.

And Then There’s Internet Explorer…

Oh, Internet Explorer. What a reputation you’ve earned for yourself. I’m so glad the world is no longer oppressed by your reign of terror; now we’ve got excellent alternatives like Chrome, Firefox, and others. It seems like Microsoft is doomed to have an inferior browser — even their new mobile offering, Windows Mobile 7, can’t escape the curse.

Though I still cringe when I see the IE icon on the Windows Phone 7 start screen, the browser actually works pretty well. It’s unobtrusive and quite responsive. When it comes to compatibility however, it doesn’t impress. When I first tested Windows Mobile 7, Internet Explorer scored a paltry 17 on the HTML5 test! The most modern mobile incarnation of Internet Explorer, found with WP 7.5 (Mango), still finds itself at the very bottom of the charts, scoring only 141 points.

The saddest part about this is that Windows Phone needs browser compatibility more than any of the others. Why? Because the platform is having a hard time attracting triple-A app developers. For users, this means that they may need to fall back to web-apps to make use of their favorite services. Without good compatibility support in the browser, web-apps aren’t guaranteed to work, even if they were designed to be multi-platform. The whole point of HTML5 as a standardized language is that being able to build one website that is fully functional, regardless of which device or browser is being used, is advantageous to both web developers and users. Because WP7 is one of the less adopted mobile platforms currently on the market, it’s unlikely that web developers are going to have custom-made web-apps created to function with the proprietary nature of IE on WP7. Instead, they’re going to make a web-standards compatible site that can work across multiple devices (especially considering that the most widespread platforms [Android and iOS] are among those with the best browser compatibility).

Acer Iconia Tab A500 And Honeycomb 3.1 in Productivity Test

I’ve had Honeycomb 3.1 on the Acer Iconia Tab A500 for a week now and as I did with the Compaq Airlife and Toshiba AC100 last year, looking for signs that a smartbook is finally happening. The signs are there, yes, but there’s still a long way to go.

Check out a similar A500 productivity test by Jerry at Carrypad

I predicted that 2011 would be the year we would finally see ARM/Android devices move into productivity scenarios and it looks like the ASUS Transformer has achieved that with many recommending it as one of the best Honeycomb tablets out there. With its weight and price though it loses two features that the Toshiba AC100 had going for it but we’re moving in the right direction with the core operating system and that’s more important than weight and price right now.

Let me talk about a few of those core features in relation to my testing on the A500.

Keyboard / mouse support

Not only does the full-size USB port on the A500 support a keyboard but it supports USB hubs, hard drives, USB sticks and mouse pointers. With the core operating system being keyboard and mouse ‘aware’, there’s a surprisingly smooth transition from desktop OS. Double-click to select a word works although there are clear limitations when it comes to drag and drop, especially between windows. It’s something I do a lot with text and images as a blogger. Importantly it seems to be stable and relaible too. Keyboard and mouse continues to be an important input and control mechanism for nearly everyone so let’s hope this gets improved.


That keyboard and mouse support extends to the browser too. The tab button switches to the next input field for example and you can scroll within a box without the whole screen scrolling with it but there are still critical issues. Input fields are hit-and-miss and my personal test of using the WordPress back-end, a complex web application, fails misserably. That’s an ExoPC in the image above with the A500 off to the side! Mouse-over functions aren’t working 100%, input fields are an issue and drop-down menus appear randomly in the WordPress back-end. Stability seems reasonable but you’re looking at a content consumption browser, not a full web experience. Firefox doesn’t do any better. Mouse-over still doesn’t seem to work and using the WordPress back-end I couldn’t even enter text or resize the Ajax input field.  I’m seeing similar brick walls in other complex web applications too.

The performance when browsing web-app pages is also noticeably slower than on a netbook, to the point where it becomes annoying.  Netbooks aren’t fast but in most cases, they’re acceptable. The wordpress back-end takes seconds longer on the A500 and tests patience. Sunspider is 150% as fast on a N450 single-core netbook than on the dual-core A500! (13ooms on ExoPC vs 2300ms on A500.) Genera processor power is still an issue on ARM devices. A 1.5Ghz dual-core or a 1Ghz quad core solution should be high on your list if you want to test productivity on devices like the A500 in the next round.

For those of you needing the full web experience, I can tell you now that you don’t need to read any further. Honeycomb is a fail in that respect.

Acer Iconia A500 information page. Includes links to reviews, gallery, articles, alternatives.

On the bright side, progress is being made and yes, many people don’t need web apps. Here are some of the improvements I’ve noticed,

  • Rotating homescreen works in portrait mode. Small but welcome change.
  • Re-sizeable widgets really help improve information flow on home screens. A major advantage and in my opinion, a real lock-in feature.
  • Stability improvements help but I’m still seeing more app crashes on the A500 than I do on the Galaxy Tab 7. Windows 7 on a netbook is way, way better in comparison.
  • English language support. A problem with the German version of the A500 I bought – it now has English language support. Not many people will have noticed this issue!
  • USB support for hard drives, hubs, keyboard, mouse, USB drives works well.
  • Browser now supports desktop user-agent for viewing full versions of websites.
  • UI speed and smoothness improvements.
  • Additional apps – Kobo reader, LumiRead, Zinio Reader, Movie Studio.
  • In general, battery life on the A500 has always been very good along with the screen quality.

So we’re at a place where the experience is better than Toshiba AC100 but still a way away from productivity use. The browser and stability need to be improved along with a general improvement in speed and in applications which doesn’t seem to have happened in the last months. Honeycomb isn’t getting enough growth to spur developers to write Honeycomb applications yet and that’s a major worry because it is falling further behind the iPad and if it remains that way, there’s little incentive to write apps for it until Android 2.x and 3.x versions are merged in Ice Cream Sandwich.

One other thing – there’s that Movie Studio application. I’ll try and write a little more detail about it in another post because I’ve just edited a 720p video made on the Nokia N8 with it. It wasn’t a nice experience!

How long until it works?

For some, it works well enough today, for others, Android will never have the feature-set required because Honeycomb doesn’t aim to cover all niche scenarios. It’s a consumer, mass-market operating system designed to help Google make money through advertising in its applications. We musn’t forget that the core OS is actually free although there’s clearly quite an expense involved in getting it suited and booted for the consumer.

For many, Android is getting close. We are seeing adoption in productivity scenarios already and the more apps that appear, the less the browser is required and the less of an issue that browser becomes.

For me, Android is probably a year away from being production ready. I look to the iPad to see how the video software and hardware works well together, how stability is less of an issue and how quality, stable applications solve more and more requirements.  I’ll be looking to test Android on a smartbook or large format tablet in the next round which we should expect to be readily available in early 2012.

Now, does anyone want to buy my A500?

Milestone, N900, Omnia Pro in Side-By-Side Photos.


Last week I had the chance to check out the Milestone, the GSM version of the Motorola Droid. With its powerful processor and what I call a ‘dynamic’ operating system (which basically means you can load up apps and mess around with fun widgets) it is definitely a leading light in the web-centric smartphone for me. I own an Omnia Pro and I’ve got the N900 here as a test device so although I only had a short time with the Milestone I managed to take a quick set of photos which I’ve put into the gallery.

IMG_1254 IMG_1255

IMG_1253 IMG_1252

IMG_1251 IMG_1259

Full Motorola Milestone Gallery here.

The Milestone is noticeably thinner in the pocket but you don’t quite get the keyboard experience that you do on the Omnia Pro and N900. While the N900 keyboard is small, it’s very well designed and offers good key separation feeling and feedback.

The advantages of the capacitive screen can’t be ignored though. I loved the light-touch and haptic feedback and the rugged glass front is going to be a huge advantage over time. I’m really not interested in having my smartphone screen look like something on a Nintendo DS!

I also took the Archos 5 Internet tablet and compared a couple of websites. Its easy to see how you lose effective space on a small screen. Fonts have to be big enough to read so looks what happens when you do that…


Motorola Milestone and Archos 5 Internet tablet. Both running Android. Both 800×480.

Smartphones are getting really good at providing a solid web experience but with physical issues like this, it leaves the door open for dedicated devices that can provide a much more comfortable experience.

Next week i should be getting an HTC HD2 to test for a week. I’ve had a quick session with one and the screen is incredible but it’s extremely expensive and leans towards the business user. I can’t see too many ‘normal’ people buying one to be honest but we’ll see. I’ll be doing some videos and am planning a live vodcast with JKKMobile. We’ll let you know as soon as we have a date and time for it.

Opera Next. The next generation of mobile browsing?

Update 18.: It’s Opera Mobile 5 Beta. I’m testing on an Omnia Pro right now. Fast, good features. No complaints yet! Have you tested it?

It’s a question that Opera is going to answer very soon. The next generation in mobile browsing. There are few clues from Opera as to what it could be but Will Park of Into Mobile has had a preview and he says that the headline will soon make sense. The puzzle is gradually being completed (the image is being completed) as time goes on at the Opera teaser site. Right now you can see the right-edge of a device being held in two hands. The ‘alt’ text for the image is ‘Opera Next.’


Is it going to be a new Opera Mini or Mobile product and what features would take it to the next level? Opera has already pushed the boundaries with their proxy, widget and sync features so what could be next? Touch friendly UI? Flash 9.5?

Support for more operating systems (Android has been promised) would be good but that’s hardly groundbreaking. How about location-enabled browsing? will the next Opera Mobile or Opera Mini app include the Geo API? Will Park says that there are clues in the teaser page and references ‘source code.’

Personally I think we’re looking at Opera Unite for Mobile based on what I read at GigaOM last week.

If Opera reveal one piece of the puzzle per day, we’re looking at a completed picture on Monday 28th September.

Google Chrome OS. Round-Up, Podcasts, Thoughts.

chrome_logo On the 7th July, Google announced that they are developing an operating system called ‘Google Chrome OS.’

“Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.”

“…redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates”

“..Google Chrome running within a new windowing system”

“…Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips.”

The world of Internet journalism went mad and Techmeme lit up as a result of the announcement. Thousands of blogs responded too. It was quite an interesting response for what is essentially another Linux distro. Perhaps it reflects the desire for a real consumer-level alternative out there. It certainly proves the power of the Google brand and that could be the most important aspect of the whole product.

Read the full story

Thoughts on proxy browsers.

This post is based on some notes I made in 2008. Following the release of the Opera 10 ‘Turbo’ preview client and the announcement of Opera Mobile 9.7 with ‘Turbo’ (Proxy) option I thought it would make sense to publish the notes.

turboOpera 10 preview with ‘Turbo’ Option

Disadvantages of Proxy-based browsers

  • Scalability. Size of server farm. Global distribution?
  • Business model – Pay-for browser or will the operator ‘tweak’ advertising? Carrier controlled server farm? Free value-added service by carriers?
  • Security. SSL terminates at proxy?
  • Privacy. Data mining and sale of data. Police access to browsing records.
  • High latency
  • Accuracy can’t be guaranteed
  • Single point of failure
  • Net neutrality – You lose geo targeted advertising and content.
  • Geographic focused content (geo-restricted content could leak E.g. Hulu. Geo targeting fails)
  • Plugins (in-line WMV, flash 10 etc)

Advantages of Proxy browsers

  • Far more efficient bandwidth utilisation
  • Reduced time to display full content (on lower bandwidths)
  • Lower client processor requirement (battery life saving)
  • Content reorganisation for the target screen.
  • Easy to implements system-wide safe browsing controls. (Can also be regarded as a walled-garden and marked as a ‘disadvantage’)

Legal question. Are proxy services republishing content with modification? How can content owners be sure their content (including ads) is presented as they wanted it? Can they prevent proxy services from using their content?

List of proxy browsers.

I’m a fan of both proxy and client-based browsers and as such, a browser like Opera 10 with the ‘Turbo’ option really interests me. It would save data when I’m roaming or on a limited data plan and would speed up the display of information when in low bandwidth or on low-cpu situations. For the smartphone or MIDs based on ARM, the Opera Mobile solution with ‘Turbo’ (option again) seems to be perfect too. I also like the idea of an intro-level unlimited browsing service that can be tacked on to a users cellphone account for little-to-no cost thus introducing people to the advantages of having the Internet in your pocket. As a content producer i’m a bit worried that my geo-targeting will suffer but if it introduces people to the idea of Internet on the go, I’m more than happy.

Turbo-Enabled Opera 10 Preview Available

I love the community we have here.  Just 60 minutes after posting about Opera Mobile 9.7 and mentioning that it would be interesting to have a desktop version with Turbo, Hrundik drops a comment in to say “Opera Turbo preview for desktop is already available.”

And sure enough, there it is in Opera Labs for Windows, Mac and Linux.

ultra mobile PC users, this is something you have to have in your toolkit. Turbo Mode is going to save you bandwidth (if you’re on a restricted data plan) and speed up your browsing (if you’re on a slower connection.) I think it’s also going to reduce the CPU usage on rendering pages as the ‘Turbo’ servers do most of the work.

I’m off to do some testing. If you’ve already discovered Turbo-enabled Opera 10 preview, let us know how your testing went.

Opera. Turbo-Charged and LiMo luvin!

I just wanted to round-up a couple of Opera-related news items that have come through the wires over the last few days. The first is an announcement about a ‘Opera Turbo’ and the second is an announcement that Opera are joining LiMo.

The Opera Turbo announcement is one I’ve been waiting for ever since the 9.6 SDK announcement way back at IBC in September. It’s OBML support, now renamed and re-marketed as Opera Turbo. At least I think it is! OBML is the process/protocol that Opera Mini uses and all the diagrams and descriptions point to the same methodology although the OBML acronym isn’t actually mentioned anywhere in the documentation.


What it means is that you could have one program for both WLAN and WWAN-based usage. If you find yourself in a 2.5G area or your data is being charged on a per-byte basic you can just switch to turbo mode and carry on with your familiar browser using a compressed, proxied service. The best of both worlds!

More details on Turbo in this white paper. (PDF) Press Release

The second announcement came today and informs us all that Opera has joined LiMo the Linux-based mobile software foundation (who also made announcements today.)

Opera Software today announced that it has joined the swelling ranks of mobile Linux leaders in the LiMo Foundation. Opera has a long history in developing its browser for the Linux platform and by joining this mobile Linux community the company hopes to contribute to the advancement of open and accessible mobile phone technology.

Opera’s ‘One Web’ vision revolves around the hope for a single, pervasive Internet, available to anyone, anywhere. By working closely with LiMo, Opera can ensure absolute compatibility with this platform, enabling easier development and faster time-to-market. Together, Opera and LiMo plan to nurture richer services, better user experiences and more affordable devices in the mobile industry by adhering to open standards-based development.

Joining LiMo might not exclude them from joining other organisations but it certainly sends a strong message out to Moblin and OHA.

Press release.

WM Smartphones get a Full Web Bashing.

wmphones Gizmodo have just completed a browsing speed and accuracy test with three high-end windows mobile devices using Pocket IE and Opera 9.5. The results should hardly be a surprise. There isn’t a single reasonable result among them with page load times well over a minute in many cases and very few of the devices rendering the pages well.

In the test, Gizmodo used the Sony Xperia, HTC Fuze, Samsung Omnia and Samsung Epix. Some of the newest WM-based phones you can buy.

Opera 9.5 appears to have turned in a better level of quality and speed than Pocket IE but there’s still a bunch of ‘fails’ in there which would turn off anyone thinking of relying on the given combo.

We’ve done similar tests here in the past which have proven that, on average, with some of the best ARM-based devices you can find and under good conditions, average page load times are twice as long when compared to on low-end ultra mobile PCs. We’ve even done some extensive Opera Mobile 9.5 testing and can confirm that while it does render well, it needs a lot more horsepower underneath it than the average smartphone can provide. Nothing in the smartphone world, including the iPhone, comes close to the speed and accuracy of even the lowest-level ultra mobile PC or Intel-based MID so once again I hear myself saying; If you or your business relies on fast, accurate access to Web-based resources through a browser, don’t risk problems or waste time by using a sub-standard solution. Don’t try and push everything onto one device. Buy a dedicated device. If not for the speed and quality, do it to preserve battery life for your important voice calls!

Take a read of the article and the HUGE bashing that WM gets from author, Matt Buchanan. Its a fun read!

Source: Gizmodo Via Friendfeed

Save battery life, time, the world! Use a script blocker.

Admittedly, its not difficult to imagine a scenario where less CPU cycles result in less power drain and this method isn’t going to magically extend your battery life by much but its nice to see the theory tested to the extreme.

SecTheory.com took a notebook PC, a couple of browsers and measured the battery drain on the Top 100 Alexa sites. They then took the worst offenders, that is, the ones that took the most power drain, and blocked script and ads using NoScript and AdBlock Plus. The results were quite significant. On a Dell Inspiron B130 notebook, with a 1.5GHz Celeron M processor and 1 Gig of ram, running fully patched Windows XP SP2, the power consumption when browsing the worst offending sites dropped by 11W, a 20% reduction. If its a 25W TDP CPU we’re talking about here, I can believe the results because browsing website has grown to be a very CPU intensive task.

The effect would be much less on netbooks and UMPCs but I would expect the same test to save 1W average which is about 10% – about 15 minutes for a device with a standard battery. Of course, its not really normal to be picking the worst offending sites and continuously hitting them either. Under normal browsing use, you probably wouldn’t notice any difference but there’s something else you need to be aware of.

Script not only takes CPU and battery life, it takes time. Time to execute, render and in some cases, time to fetch the remote code. By disabling script you significantly improve browsing speeds on low power devices and by definition, you save battery life. I tried it a few weeks ago with the noscript plugin and I’ve seen many comments on UMPCPortal from users that also use the technique. It really works! You lock yourself out of application sites like Google reader initially but it doesn’t take any effort to enable exceptions for these sites as you go along. No more hung page loads waiting for remote sites to time out. No more of those terribly annoying auto-start video ads that make browsing on a low-end PC a misery. There’s even an improvement in security. Its a win-win-win!

Try it. Install the noscript plugin and see how you get on. Yes, I risk killing all of my advertising income if everyone does this on all their devices and I’m sure there are bloggers out there that will read this and cringe but I trust you’ll only use it on your netbooks and umpcs and put the exception in for your favorite sites! Long live the choice between simple html and web2.0!

Source: Sectheory.com

Aigo MID. Browsing and Video Experience.

As you might have seen from the initial hands-on review, the Aigo MID brings a new level of Internet browsing to the pocket.

The results beat a previously tested set smartphones and other pocketable ‘Internet’ devices by an average 9 seconds per page. In terms of Internet browsing performance, it blows the N800/N810 out of the water and even the iPhone only averages 20 seconds per page over WiFi. [Aigo averages 12 seconds] The only pocketable device that gets close is the new Archos 5 with an average, over a similar set of tests, of 15 seconds.

It does pretty well on video playback too with higher-bitrate files really taking advantage of the high-quality screen. Its just a shame that the media software is so basic. In my opinion, Video, Search and Browsing are the most important elements of a MID’s capabilities so lets see how the Aigo P8860 performs. Videos and notes below…

Read the full story

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