Why does Openwave's Handset Browser Still Suck?


I don't understand how Openwave's browsers can still be so bad after all this time. I mean, look at that image I took of Virgin Mobile's XL home page on the Flasher V7 phone. It may not seem that bad since it's been blown up a bit, but looking at it on the phone, it's just horrible.

First, there's a massive scroll bar on the right. Why? Can I move my mouse over it and click? No. It's just sitting there taking up a good 10 pixels of a 128 pixel wide screen (8%). The buttons at the bottom are also huge wastes of space as well. But the worst part is the font size. They're HUGE and UGLY. Why? If they reduced the fonts, they'd be able to fit a lot more information per screen and also allow many more options for formatting the page. Those fonts just look like crap and there's no way to change them.

Your response could be "for the newbie user." And that'd be fine, but why can't I *turn these things off?* I know the phones and browsers are very limited, but come on. Making the font smaller and getting rid of extra screen-wasting widgets which make *no sense* on a handset would add a ton to the functionality of the minibrowser, with I'm sure, very little extra bulk on its size in ROM.

This is Openwave's next generation browser - with XHTML-MP and more. The other minibrowser developers have learned from the past and improved their interfaces and usefulness, why hasn't Openwave put any effort into improving theirs? It's really a crime. And operators wonder why no one is using their phones to access the web yet. Come on Openwave, get with it!

By the way, I was pulling up Openwave's 6.2.2 Developer SDK while writing this, and they've changed their default developer page on the emulator which is served live from their servers (very smart IMHO). There's now a Cool Sites section, which is actually pretty cool. The menu is in WML, but many of the sites it points to are WAP 2.0 (XHTML-MP) and live. That'll be a good link to add to your phone...


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