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Nokia launches open-source browser

Smartphones about to become so clever, they are going to want a degree

To mark the arrival of Nokia’s open-source mobile web browser, which is now available, the company have also launched a new portal to share information about open-source activities.

In June, Nokia announced that it was developing an open-source browser for phones that use its series 60 smartphone software platform. The browser, now available to licensees of S60 3rd Edition, is based on the WebCore and JavaScriptCore components of Apple Computer Inc.'s Safari Web kit. Safari, Apple's browser, is based on KHTML and KDE's JavaScript Engine, developed as part of KDE's Konquerer open-source project.

Nokia and Siemens AG both build phones based on the S60 platform.

The browser will display webpages to mobile phone users just as the page developers designed the page, Nokia said. It also includes popup blocking, access to RSS (really simple syndication) feeds and a text search feature.

Nokia were keen to develop their open-source browser to improve the way all websites are displayed on mobile phones. Typically, websites are specially designed for mobile phones. Websites that aren't optimised for mobile phones are often awkward to view on the small screens on handsets.

With the availability of higher speed wireless data networks, operators and handset makers are increasingly working to open up the entire web, not just the sites optimised for small screens, to mobile users. For example, T-Mobile in Germany, Austria and the UK recently launched a new mobile service that features Google as the web browser start page, encouraging mobile users to access any website on the internet.

Nokia have launched a portal, opensource.nokia.com, as a source of information for all of its open-source projects. The goal of the portal is to share Nokia's open-source developments in order to encourage further innovation by open-source developers, the company said in a statement.

In addition to the open-source browser, Nokia is working on two other open-source projects. Nokia's Maemo development platform is an open-source platform for developing products for Linux-based internet tablets. Nokia's 770, the tablet that includes Wi-Fi but not cellular connectivity, is based on Linux.

The other project is the Python programming language, which Nokia is porting to the series 60 platform.


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