Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The Iris Web Browser

In April 2005, I wrote this in an entry:

This is my new toy: a Dell Axim X50v. Actually it isn’t mine – it belongs to the university – but I’ve been given a couple of weeks to play with it, basically.

4 years on and the Axim is still in my possession. I’ve upgraded it to Windows Mobile 5 (WM5) – an upgrade to WM6 is possible but at best it’s unsupported and is almost certainly illegal – and now have it syncing with my Mac courtesy of The Missing Sync.

And now I have a decent web browser, in the form of The Iris Browser. Iris is based on WebKit, the open-source rendering engine which powers Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome web browsers, as well as Mobile Safari on the iPhone and the web browser on the various Android smartphones. WM5 comes with a cut-down version of Internet Explorer 4, which struggles to cope with modern web pages – whereas WebKit follows the various web standards closely and can do a good job at rendering most web pages. It also identifies itself in a very similar way to the iPhone so you will often get web pages which are optimised for a small screen; but if not, you can zoom out and view the page as it would appear on a desktop.

Best of all, Iris is free for personal and non-commercial use, unlike Opera who charge for their mobile version.

I’m considering taking the Axim to France with me in July as a way of using the internet without the need for a full-blown laptop, so that we’re not reliant on finding an internet cafe – all we need is somewhere with free or cheap Wifi.

One Comment

  1. I have taken my Axim to Europe a number of times. Initially (5 years ago) there was a lot of wireless access, but last year I found it very hard to find affordable public wireless access – indeed it’s even hard to find an internet cafe anywhere but in the big cities. The reason seems to be the massive migration to cell-phone based web service.