Palm 5 Web Browsers

I have been using an aging Pocket PC for a number of years, unhappily, and when it became clear an upgrade would be necessary, I went back to Palm OS, which I’d used on Handsprings and Treos. The Web browser is clearly not as powerful as a desktop PC browser, but the Palm Blazer browser is more than adequate.

Certainly Blazer meets my needs – categorized favorites, “fast” v. normal browsing – and tends to render pages very similarly to a normal browser, with CSS and Javascript support.  This is certainly a huge improvement to previous Pocket PC and Palm browsers I’ve used, which tended not to support either and couldn’t get into sites requiring cookies.

Not to be complacent, I looked around to see what else was available and found the Opera Mini browser.  I used to use Opera regularly before I went to Mozilla’s Firefox and thought the Mini would probably be pretty feature rich.

I was disappointed.  The Opera Mini is certainly a nice browser – it even rendered some pages more cleanly, for a mobile device, than Blazer – but it adds a small menu bar (sitting on top of the Graffiti pad) and only a back button.  Typing anything into Opera Mini opens up a separate text window, even if it’s a short URL – like www.cnn.com – that could normally fit into a browser location window.  But it missed many of the “normal” browser functions I expected, and didn’t appear to support the customizations and features Blazer offers.

I’ve removed it now but it’s a quick download and a promising move to see a major browser developer creating a mobile – Pocket PC, Palm, phone – Web browser.  You can get the Opera Mini for PC or you can download directly to your device using WAP.  Opera Mini requires the IBM Websphere Micro Environment Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which Palm users may be able to get here (depending on what your Palm is).