Where are the updates to the S60 Browser?

Every day I read about new services and ways to use the Android and iPhone webkit browsers, yet there’s been no change to make some of these tools work well with the s60 software.  I can’t even open a new tab without a silly bookmark hack, and it seems there’s been little to no change in the S60 browser for a very long time.

By now, I would expect (and I don’t even think it’s that big a deal really) to be able to launch a new tab from within the browser yet there is NO way to do this.  It should be a menu item!  Once you have a few tabs open there is also NO tab management system – they can only be displayed in the order in which they’ve been opened.

I originally blogged about this in the fall of 2007.  Since that time, we’ve seen a number of new devices, a revised OS and yet the browser is still the exact same thing.  I’m sure someone will correct me that the actual version number (undetectable to users) has changed, but there is nothing new here.  I asked about this feature at Nokia World and did not see it in the N97 prototype shared with us over dinner either unfortunately.

My initial hack involves using a start page that forces new windows to spawn (like m.twitter.com) though today I use a homescreen shortcut to a bookmark of about:blank.  If you drop to either your multimedia menu or the homescreen and use that, it will force a new windows to open.

If you are going to talk about the full internet in a pocketable mobile computer, we should also recognize that it’s quite likely you’ll be multitasking across several web sites at once and need a simple (and standard!) way to open a new tab.  Why is the Nokia Internet Tablet the only device that does this?

8 comments for “Where are the updates to the S60 Browser?

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  2. ollysk2
    2/6/2009 at 11:21 am

    Man, add this to the list… S60 has added some cool features to it, and it's still a good OS — but the core components are getting OLD to the point of being ANCIENT in gadget world terms. Things that need to be sorely updated:

    *Email Client
    *WiFi Connection Client
    *SMS (I'm fine with it, but enough people are asking for threaded that it's worth noting here).

    Nokia really needs to focus on getting the core OS upgraded. The email experience on the iPhone is so much nicer than on S60 it makes me cry — native HTML (not an attachment), better Exchange integration (sub-folder), etc — I hate to compare everything to the iPhone, but in this situation it's necessary.

    Not to JUST throw S60 under the bus though, it's true of a lot of the 'legacy' smartphone OS's. Blackberry desperately needs a complete overhaul of their UI, not to mention that even with the Bold changes their browser still sucks. Windows Mobile just plain blows — and it's going to take a lot to convince me otherwise — it's buggy, slow, the browser is HORRIBLE.

    The iPhone is not truly a smartphone, I still argue that, yet it does some 'smartphoney' things better than the actual smartphones out there. Between the slick email, browser, and UI of the iPhone, and things brought to the table by Android and the new Palm Pre OS– Blackberry, Symbian, and WinMo need to take a look at getting things updated QUICKLY to stay competitive.


  3. 2/6/2009 at 12:01 pm

    I'm with you Olly … the new OS's have the advantage of no legacy to carry which is great, but also lack some of the good stuff S60 has been doing for a long time. I'd also agree with your list of things that need to be changed / addressed. Email seems to be getting there in Nokia Email, but that has yet to replace the core S60 app which does indeed suck big time.

    Threaded SMS missing is also totally ridiculous. I mean who wants to have a conversation anyway

  4. 2/6/2009 at 2:00 pm

    Very true.. Spot on.. I have new idea what they are cooking up(dutch expression) at Nokia..

    It almost looks like they “gave up” on the current symbian platform.. I expect a complete new internet based OS soon with a new browser..

    I don't believe in the S60 browser anymore..

  5. 2/7/2009 at 9:09 am

    Great Post Jonathan, have to agree with you and Olly's points. I'm hoping Nokia is actually working on these issues and will announce it sometime this year. Rumours of “getting it right first time” might be the cause for the delays to the much needed upgrades.

  6. 2/7/2009 at 1:43 pm

    fingers crossed … I'm actually wondering what's packed inside that new Samsung – possible they could have tweaked the OS and browser themselves if they wanted

  7. 2/7/2009 at 2:35 pm

    For sure, I've played with the I7110 and there are notable differences between the S60 OS, but nothing significant enough to the browser or additional functions.

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