Is Apple opening iPhone to new browsers?

Newly approved browser apps expand options, may show change in policy

Apple may be loosening restrictions that have so far blocked Web browsers save its own Safari from the iPhone, according to a number of Web news sites. But at least some of the newly approved applications appear to be Safari plug-ins, rather than true alternative browsers.

This week Apple has given a green light to some new third-party Web browsing applications for the iPhone, as a number of Apple-focused Web sites quickly noticed. The applications appeared on sites like AppShopper, a Website for iPhone and iPod Touch software, as well as Apple's App Store. Some of them are free, others range in price from US$1 to $2.

But a closer look at the sometimes-sketchy information about these new applications reveals they may be plug-ins or skins to enhance the default Web Safari browser. One example of such a plug-in is Cooliris, which is clearly identified as such.

There's been no formal announcement by Apple, and the Apple PR staff has not responded to our request for comment.

Apple's apparent change, if in fact it proves to be so, comes at a time of growing innovation in mobile Web browsers. Safari, a full HTML Web browser, has been one of the key reasons for the iPhone's popularity. The phone's big screen, and clever multitouch display, has been a highly effective hardware platform for Safari's Web browsing and rendering features, though it still lacks support for Adobe Flash, a widely used program for adding video, animation and interaction to Web pages.

(Last year, a Texas company filed a patent infringement suit against Apple, claiming Safari on the iPhone violated the company's recently issued Web navigation patent.)

But Safari is far from being the first, or only, full Web browser for mobile devices. Opera Software offers both Opera Mobile and a server-based version, Opera Mini, which can run on even low-end cell phones. Others include Bitstream's ThunderHawk, Nokia's Symbian-based mobile browser and Skyfire.

Microsoft plans a new browser, called Internet Explorer Mobile 6, due in mid-2009, for Windows Mobile smartphones, based on parts taken from desktop IE 6 and 7, and some code from the beta release of IE 6.

Until now, some observers have believed Apple has ruled out rival browsers or even optional features on the grounds that they duplicate functionality of an existing iPhone application, in this case Safari. That somewhat vague criteria has been used to disqualify other App Store applications, and has been roundly criticized by developers.

Tags iPhone

Recommended

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World

2 Comments

higger009

1

If a player doesn't support some MP3, photo, video or audio formats, find out whether its firmware can be updated for future compatibility. <a href="http://www.diet-plans.com/">diet plans</a>.
Regards,

Anonymous

2

not bad

Despite its girth, the DMP-B15 Blu-ray player is a very attractive looking gadget. The black-and-silver finish has the premium glossy sheen you’d expect from a Blu-ray device. Unfortunately it’s also susceptible to fingerprints, though this is nothing a quick wipe of the sleeve won’t remedy.
Regards,
Jack - <a href="http://www.taxsolutionsnetwork.com">Tax Relief</a>

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?