Monday, February 7, 2011

7 best browsers for your smartphone

Mobile Web browsers are fast catching up with their desktop counterparts in terms of functionality and features.

Until a few years ago, internet access on the cellphone mainly meant being able to chat or send and receive e-mail on your handset.

Yes, you could browse the Web on your phone as well, but screens were small and the browser - the software that let you access websites - was not really designed to let you see websites in all their glory, but instead showed you watered down “mobile-friendly ” versions of the originals.

All that changed with the arrival of the iPhone with its powerful Safari browser. This not only signalled an era of larger phone screens, but also positioned the handset as a device that was as capable of browsing the Web as a computer.

The iPhone’s popularity led to not only more touchscreen devices (which is another story altogether), but also spurred a significant improvement in cellphone browsers.

Prior to the iPhone, browsers like Opera Mini had managed to deliver a decent browsing experience on handsets, but had often been hampered by relatively small (2 or 2.2 inch) displays.

All this has now changed and the first thing that many users do when they get a cellphone is often to download a new browser to be able to surf their favourite websites with minimum fuss - ironically, the default browsers in most smartphones (barring the iPhone and Android devices) still remain on the weaker side.

Here, then are some of the mobile browsing options available for those wanting a slice of the Web on their phones: