iPhone can't take all the credit for mobile data boom

Bigging up the browser
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

Bigging up the browser

The boom in mobile data consumption is not just down to the likes of high-end devices like the iPhone - "state of the art" mobile browsers should get credit too, according to Google.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Google's VP of engineering, Vic Gundotra, said the iPhone is "revolutionary for multiple reasons: great industrial design, simple UI.

"But it's also revolutionary because it was the first mobile web browser that allowed you to surf the real web and we have to hand it to Apple for leading with that innovation."

The iPhone's browser is based on WebKit technology, which is also the foundation for Google's Android browser, and the likes of the Palm Pre.

"These modern browsers fundamentally change the game - and they drive significant usage," the Google exec said. "These browsers can do more than browse content - but in fact they serve as a platform for applications particularly because of the latest innovations," he added.

Gundotra cited firmware updates on the iPhone and Android which enable the latest W3C standards as a key development in mobile browser evolution.

MWC also saw Gundotra demo what he described as "a technical concept for Gmail" running on an iPhone and the Android-powered HTC Magic which lets users access their Gmail without having network connectivity by making use of these latest browser standards - in other words, creating a web app that works without the web.

Google first unveiled offline Gmail late last month, calling the service "a feature we've heard loud and clear the enterprise wants".

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