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June 28, 2011

Nokia N9: opening the browser

GLOBAL – Moving on, today’s Nokia N9 investigation concerns the web browser: how it works, what makes it different and what you’re going to enjoy about using it. It’s a tricky post in some respects, in terms of giving you something to see. For 99 per cent of the time, the browser interface keeps out of your way and lets you get on with your business on the Web. Click through to see what we discovered.

Nokia’s browser guru Christian Sejersen, whose help we enlisted for this article, told us that the team’s motto was to create “the browser that doesn’t annoy me”. It works the way you’d expect it to: you type in addresses, choose them from your Top Sites or select a shortcut from the launcher and away you go. The performance, which is hard to show here, is blazing fast.

Here it is in action:

The device allows for pinch-to-zoom and double-tap to focus on a particular column of text (useful for blog and news sites). It also supports text enlargement, which increases the point size of the text without increasing the size of other elements on the page.

For the more technically inclined, here’s how it performs on the HTML5 test page: it garners a whopping 283 points plus 14 bonus points. It should be noted that this score outperforms a large number of current desktop browsers, let alone anything you’ll find on a current mobile phone. In particular, it supports HTML5 video and CSS 3D. It also supports the mobile components of the HTML5 specification, allowing for the use of web apps that depend on device motion, orientation and location awareness, for example.

(Note that this score was recorded with a prototype with regard to both the hardware and software: details and capabilities might change between now and when the phone ships).

As the specifications page on Nokia Developer states, the browser supports a number of additional technologies:

  • CSS 3
  • DOM Level 3
  • HTML over TCP/IP
  • HTML5
  • Javascript 1.8
  • Webkit 2 based
  • XML

Flash support is not included, but already many major web sites deliver video content through HTML5 technology, so for example, the YouTube app on the phone is a web application leveraging the browser.

One interesting extra is the Top Sites screen which shows your frequently-visited sites.

We’ve been gathering your requests for additional screens you’d like to see and will deliver them over the next few days. Anything else you’d like us to capture?