Nokia adds compression technology to mobile browser

The need for more efficient browsers is growing along with mobile data use

The latest additions to Nokia's phone portfolio, the C2-05 and the X2-05, come with a new browser that uses Nokia's own compression technology to deliver content faster, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Opera has been promoting the benefits of using compression technology for years, but lately it has come into fashion. Recently, Amazon introduced Silk, for its Fire tablet, and the browser uses compression -- as well as the computing power and caching of Amazon's cloud -- to render Web pages.

The browser is part of Nokia's strategy to expand the audience for mobile Internet access, going after the "next billion" users, many of whom are expected to be from developing countries. The browser uses a cloud-based service to fetch a web page, and then transforms the content to an optimized version for display on the mobile device, according to Nokia.

"There is a real focus on trying to enable data services from high-tier smartphones to as low as you can go ... We talk about smartphones all the time, but there are a lot of countries where smartphones are just a fraction of the market," said Pete Cunningham, analyst at Canalys.

However, making browsers more efficient isn't just something that can benefit users in developing countries.

Subscribers who have limited data plans or users who go over their limit and have make do with lower speeds could also benefit from compression technology. Users accessing the Web when the mobile network is congested should also see faster performance.

Currently, there are two major trends in mobile browsing, according to Cunningham. In addition to making mobile browsing available to a wider audience, vendors are also making a priority of supporting HTML5 and Web-based applications, he said

The C2-05 and the X2-05 are both low-cost GSM feature phones, and will start shipping during the fourth quarter. They include applications for Facebook and Twitter and will cost 50 and 46, respectively, before taxes and operator subsidies.

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