IE6 for Windows Mobile - Better, but not brilliant

IE6 for Windows Mobile - Better, but not brilliant

Summary: I've just come back from taking the Windows Mobile 6.1.4 emulator featuring Internet Explorer Mobile 6 for a spin. Conclusion: IE6 on Windows Mobile is better, but Microsoft still has a long way to go to make it brilliant.

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I've just come back from taking the Windows Mobile 6.1.4 emulator featuring Internet Explorer Mobile 6 for a spin. Conclusion: IE6 on Windows Mobile is better, but Microsoft still has a long way to go to make it brilliant.

Full IE6 for Windows Mobile gallery

Note: Yes, I did say IE6 for Windows Mobile. There's a lag between the mobile and desktop version of IE.

I've had an on-going love/hate relationship with Windows Mobile. I recently gave up on using a Windows Mobile device and went to a Nokia E71 because I found the OS far too frustrating. I'm not going to say that the reason I gave Windows Mobile the shove was because of the browser (because I had Opera Mobile installed), but I was left wondering why Microsoft continued to ship the train-wreak of a browser that IE is on the platform. I can excuse the atrocious user interface, but I can't excuse the fact that the browser is so bad at doing the one job it was designed to do - render web pages.

I'll be straight with you - IE6 for Windows Mobile is better, but it's not good enough. As it stands, IE6 for the Windows Mobile is what the browser should have been a few years ago. Compared to say, Opera Mobile 9.5 or Safari on the iPhone, even this new browser looks and feels quite old and tired. Don't get me wrong, if your on Windows Mobile and you're still making do with IE, the new version will seem light years better. But if you are the sort of user who immediately downloads and installs Opera Mobile, you'll carry on doing this.

Why?

Well, partly it's the rendering engine, which while it seems to render pages far more accurately, still feels slow compared Opera on the emulation platform (things might change with the release version). But the main problem with IE6 on the Windows Mobile platform is that the UI seems awfully primitive and makes the job of using the browser a lot more difficult that it need be. Simple things such as zooming, handling option settings and favorites/history are all much quicker and easier to do with the Opera browser.

I give Microsoft a B- for effort, but a D for the end result.

Topics: Hardware, Browser, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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11 comments
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  • Keep after them

    It's incomprehensible that a 40 billion dollar company can't create an iPhone-type browser for windows mobile.

    Either the platform sucks or the programmers are inept.

    Steve Ballmer, are you listening?
    croberts
    • Well it's not the platform...

      ...since Opera 9.5 runs on it and is the best mobile browser out there by a mile.
      Sleeper Service
  • what a load of crap!

    quit your job please, for the good of the consumers!
    jk_10
    • Thanks for taking the time ...

      ... to add so much value to the conversation.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • What's atrocious about it?

    IE's interface has an address bar and some menu commands that are written in an understandable language and can be accessed using keyboard mnemonics for speed and efficiency. You might argue that an easy-to-read and efficient user interface design is primative or atrocious I suppose, but Opera 9.5 is in no way easier to use with a keyboard-enabled device. Heck, Opera 9.5 is completely unusable without touching the screen. Compare this to Internet Explorer, where you can very quickly access and search favorites using only the keyboard and maintaining full view of the screen.

    However, some additions would be nice that make use of finger gestures. For example, clockwise/counterclockwise gestures for zooming and Multi-touch-pad support on the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro devices (which support multi-touch) would be nice.
    AdamzP
    • For me ...

      The two pairs of screen captures highlight why I prefer Opera Mobile to IE6 Mobile:

      http://content.zdnet.com/2346-12554_22-248934-8.html
      http://content.zdnet.com/2346-12554_22-248934-32.html

      and

      http://content.zdnet.com/2346-12554_22-248934-14.html
      http://content.zdnet.com/2346-12554_22-248934-34.html

      "but Opera 9.5 is in no way easier to use with a keyboard-enabled device."

      True. At that point, the differences are less important. However, Screens such as Opera's options page I find a lot easier to deal with than IE's multi-page approach.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Please be consistant!

    "...I can excuse the atrocious user interface, but I can???t excuse the fact that the browser is so bad at doing the one job it was designed to do - render web pages."

    "Well, partly it???s the rendering engine, which... still feels slow. ...But the main problem with IE6 on the Windows Mobile platform is that the UI..."

    I can't believe these two quotes were so close to each other!
    Jaips
    • Type, start a flame war, sit back

      and watch the money come in from the responses.

      It seems this is now just the norm here at ZDNet anymore, no need to actually say something usefull [i]all[/i] of the time
      GuidingLight
    • Read it again ...

      ... first quote relates to the existing IE Mobile, second quote relates to IE6 Mobile.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • RE: IE6 for Windows Mobile - Better, but not brilliant

    why in the world bother with something like IE6 when IE 8 Beta 2 is here. Though the Full IE8 isn't here yet though it will be soon, but I am already very pleased with what we have of IE8. I can't help thinking that anyone who chooses anything lesser had got to be pretty foolish. Or is there a problem with using IE8 with Windows Mobile? I don't even want anything to do with laptops, so why in the world bother with something like Windows Mobile, when Vista Ultimate so so vastly superior. IE8 even makes EI7 feel primitive. After all, it is free, so why not just go for it?
    CharlesEtheridge@...
  • SkyFire

    Windows Mobile in general needs an overhaul. Browser wise, I am trying out SkyFire. Nice little beta browser that renders CSS and some JavaScript.
    duckboxxer