14 Nov 2002 TheCorruptor   » (Master)


I've been tasked with creating a front end for PocketPC enabled devices for work, and have been given an XDA to dev/test against. All well and good, except I've now had the pleasure of using Pocket Internet Explorer for the first time.

Call me stupid, but given the general ability of IE4, I was expecting something similar from Pocket IE; HTML 4 support, some CSS, maybe even XHTML support. Bear in mind there's 32MB min on this device and GPRS as standard...

Imagine my surprise to find an incomplete HTML3.2 implementation, some random XML support (it can load XML from SQLServer. Handy!) little or no DOM to speak of (innerHTML can be scripted) and possibly the most diabolical rendering of HTML to a small screen that I've seen. The "Fit to screen" functionality is a joke...

I'm shocked by all this. Given mobile 'net access is seriously byte critical (given the cost of GPRS connections) it's slightly annoying to realise that you can't just throw a super skinning [X]HTML file at Pocket IE and a single site-wide CSS file and have pages render. Oh no. You've got to embed all you font and colour information in every element that requires it. That's gonna make for some seriously large HTML files if you want things to look nice on such a small screen.

Seems like the next two weeks are going to be fun!

In general I'm not impressed with O2's GPRS network, PocketPC or the XDA. The device is nice enough, but it lacks Bluetooth, is quite slow, is unable to switch the phone on automatically when you try to connect, has a serious lag switching between apps, and the transfer rate over the GPRS connection is pretty comical. Especially when I run my t68i over Orange head-2-head.

Basically, it's just not worth the money. At all. In fact, I'm struggling to find any reason why an XDA is a better solution than my t68i. The t68i can't read xcel spreadsheets or word documents, but it's tasks and calendar work just as well as Microsoft's efforts, and I don't need to put my phone in a cradle to syncronise everything with iCal etc...

You pays your money, you makes your choice I guess... :)

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