Thursday, April 17, 2008

My review on TouchBrowser (part. 1)

Remember TouchBrowser? The iPhone-style web browser app from Nakayama; as what the Netherland based software company has described about its newest app for Windows Mobile device. If you don't, then take a quick flash back by re-read Sammy's post here at PA. I've been given the honor to test it by Vincent Verweij from Makayama, who has been kind enough to provided us with a press copy to review. For the last couple of days, I was able to try TouchBrowser on my Treo 750v. Apart from the excitement to try a new app for my favorite Palm device, I'm also happy to taste a little bit of iPhone experience at last.
I won't hold your breath any much longer, I'll spill out all the beans of how's the TouchBrowser run on Treo's Windows Mobile 6 OS; here are they:

I. The iPhone-style web browsing experience
Makayama has put a lot of effort to mimic iPhone's Safari web browser into Pocket PC device, by saying Pocket PC that would refer to Windows Mobile with touch screen feature; and that's what TouchBrowser is all about. As the name goes, I use only one finger to glide through the Net and move around every desktop rendered websites I visited.
Vincent told me in his email, that TouchBrowser uses Pocket IE to render every websites it opened. So I found very little difference from what I can see with Pocket IE, the speed of rendering process for every web page I opened is still the same. In fact I feels the TouchBrowser is taking up Treo's whole resources in the house while at the process, there's about 5-8 second delay time when I force to scroll around. Whether it's EDGE or 3G connection, TouchBrowser will still rely on Pocket IE to connect to the Net. Another thing is about moving around the web page with pin-pointing your finger on it, is that sometimes I accidentally hit a link; and it irritates me to go back because of that.
Makayama seems to be following Apple design as well, you may easily notice the sleek & clean user interface of both the web window and the navigation buttons. In total there are only 6 buttons available on the top, and these buttons are self-hide and appears so they won't distract your attention on the web page.
Those buttons are the basic tools you usually use to surf the Net, they are back to the previous button, search button, URL, settings, view toggle & exit button. The search button will take you directly to write panel with on screen keyboard; TouchBrowser will show the search result directly to Google search results page. Easy and simple, but not so if you're Yahoo or Live search users. Another button that will prove to quite useful is the toggle button to change the web page into mobile or desktop view, no hassle to change it through the settings menu no more.
But the touch-centric feature doesn't let Makayama engineers forgot to make use the D-pad that most Windows Mobile devices have, you won't miss out of the loop using it. Same basic commands are still represented in D-pad; such as left button for back to previous web page & right button for go forward to next web sites. You can quickly toggle the navigation buttons I mentioned above, simply by pressing the up button to reveal them back & down button to hide them again.
Now here's another cool feature I like; the center button of D-pad can be used to show or hide the navigational marks of scroll bars. With this you know your positions on the web page you're currently surfing at, the engineers are entitled for creativity of simplicity.
To be continue...
[blogged with my Treo 750v]

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