Commentary
4/3/2007
12:34 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary

Picsel Makes Mobile Browsing Less Painful

The mobile Internet, while becoming cool and more useful every day, still has a long way to go. Viewing Web pages or documents on tiny screens just doesn't compare to the desktop browsing experience. Web pages are often squashed, elongated, impossible to read, and unusable in the mobile environment, no matter how big the screen or how speedy the data connection. One company is helping to change that.



The mobile Internet, while becoming cool and more useful every day, still has a long way to go. Viewing Web pages or documents on tiny screens just doesn't compare to the desktop browsing experience. Web pages are often squashed, elongated, impossible to read, and unusable in the mobile environment, no matter how big the screen or how speedy the data connection. One company is helping to change that.Picsel Technologies uses Flash-based technology to help render Web pages on mobile devices in a more enjoyable way than they are traditionally experienced. This is an important concept for the industry -- carriers, manufacturers and content creators -- to grasp. Bad experiences prevent people from adopting new behaviors and services.

Just look at how mobile TV is being received over in Europe. Subscribers are ditching mobile TV services left and right, and the most common complaints are poor service, poor quality, and poor usability.

In the demos I saw at CTIA Wireless last week, Picsel showed off some very cool technologies that will improve the mobile browsing experience markedly. Picsel works with the three major arms of the wireless ecosystem to place its technology on handsets. The browsing experience was downright awesome. Demoed on a Palm Treo, I was able to look at full Web pages, zoom all over the screen and enlarge anything I wished. All this was accomplished instantly. There was no waiting for pages to render themselves or download to the handset again. Everything worked lickety-split.

Same goes for Picsel's document viewer. If there's anything worse than mobile browsing, it's reading PowerPoint presentations on a handset. With Picsel's technology, I was able to flip through the presentations very quickly. The pages loaded instantly, and I was able to interact with them by zooming in and out, scrolling left and right, and up and down. When zooming in and out, the high quality of the original file remains, and the images don't become pixelated no matter how large you make it. For slides that were rich in graphical content, this was great.

Picsel already is used on smartphones such as the Motorola Q, Palm Treo, and Samsung BlackJack in the United States, as well as on more than 200 additional Samsung handsets.

Knowing that the technology to improve the mobile browsing experience exists is good news. Now we just have to hope the carriers, original equipment manufacturers, and content developers figure this out, too, and start using it.

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