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IE6 for Windows Mobile - Better, but not brilliant

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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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

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.

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