Mobile browser

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A Wikipedia page on an Apple iPhone 2G displayed on the Safari web browser

A mobile browser is a

CSS 3, JavaScript, and Ajax

Websites designed to be usable in mobile browsers may be collectively referred to as the mobile web. Today, over 75% of websites are "mobile friendly"[citation needed], by detecting when a request comes from a mobile device and automatically creating a "mobile" version of the page, designed to fit the device's screen and be usable with a touch interface.

Underlying technology

The mobile browser usually connects via the

WAP 2.0), or WML (which evolved from HDML). WML and HDML are stripped-down formats suitable for transmission across limited bandwidth, and wireless data connection called WAP. In Japan, DoCoMo defined the i-mode
service based on i-mode HTML, which is an extension of Compact HTML (C-HTML), a simple subset of HTML.

WAP 2.0 specifies XHTML Mobile Profile plus WAP CSS, subsets of the W3C's standard XHTML and CSS with minor mobile extensions.

Smartphone mobile browsers are full-featured Web browsers capable of HTML, CSS, ECMAScript, as well as mobile technologies such as WML, i-mode HTML, or cHTML. To accommodate small screens, they use Post-WIMP interfaces.


The first mobile browser for a PDA was PocketWeb[1][2] for the Apple Newton created at TecO in 1994, followed by the first commercial product NetHopper released in August 1996.[3]

The so-called "microbrowser" technologies such as WAP, NTTDocomo's i-mode platform and Openwave's HDML platform fueled the first wave of interest in wireless data services.

The first deployment of a mobile browser on a mobile phone was probably in 1997 when Unwired Planet (later to become Openwave) put their "UP.Browser" on

AT&T handsets to give users access to HDML content.[4][5]

A British company,

and e-m@iler 2. This code formed the basis for MME3.

Multiple companies offered browsers for the Palm OS platform. The first HTML browser for Palm OS 1.0 was HandWeb by Smartcode software, released in 1997. HandWeb included its own TCP/IP stack, and Smartcode was acquired by Palm in 1999. Mobile browsers for the Palm OS platform multiplied after the release of Palm OS 2.0, which included a TCP/IP stack. A freeware (although later shareware) browser for the Palm OS was Palmscape, written in 1998 by Kazuho Oku in Japan, who went on to found Ilinx. It was still in limited use as late as 2003. Qualcomm also developed the Eudora Web browser, and launched it with the Palm OS based QCP smartphone. ProxiWeb[9] was a proxy-based Web browsing solution, developed by Ian Goldberg and others[10] at the University of California, Berkeley and later acquired by PumaTech.

Released in 2001, Mobile Explorer 3.0 added iMode compatibility (cHTML) plus numerous proprietary schemes.[11] By imaginatively combining these proprietary schemes with WAP protocols, MME3.0 implemented OTA database synchronisation, push email, push information clients (not unlike a 'Today Screen') and PIM functionality. The cancelled Sony Ericsson CMD-Z700 was to feature heavy integration with MME3.0. Although Mobile Explorer was ahead of its time in the mobile phone space, development was stopped in 2002.

Also in 2002, Palm, Inc. offered Web Pro on Tungsten PDAs based upon a

Access NetFront

Small Screen Rendering and Medium Screen Rendering technology. The Opera web browser is able to reformat regular web pages for optimal fit on small screens and medium-sized (PDA) screens. It was also the first widely available mobile browser to support Ajax and the first mobile browser to pass the Acid2

Distinct from a mobile browser is a web-based emulator, which uses a "Virtual Handset" to display WAP pages on a computer screen, implemented either in Java or as an HTML transcoder.

The following are some of the more popular mobile browsers. Some mobile browsers are really miniaturized web browsers, so some mobile device providers also provide browsers for desktop and laptop computers.

Usage share of mobile (smartphone and tablet) browsers
Source Date Android
Chrome Internet
Safari Opera Mini UC
StatCounter[12] May 2022 1.14% 64.23% -- 25.24% 1.68% 1.21% 4.65% --
StatCounter[13] June 2017 4.24% 47.26% 0.59% 21.17% 5.01% 14.16% 6.03% 1.09%
StatCounter[14] June 2015 15.81% 30.67% 1.76% 24.64% 10.37% 12.95% -- 3.79%
NetApplications[15] June 2014 22.77% 16.67% 2.01% 47.06% 7.82% -- -- 4.69%

Default browsers for mobile and tablet (current and defunct)

Browser Creator
Current browser engine Software license Notes
Amazon Silk
Some Blink Proprietary and LGPL Uses split architecture whereby all processing is performed on Amazon's servers
Huawei browser Huawei Some WebKit Proprietary and LGPL Browser included with EMUI version 9.0 to version 13.0 and Harmony OS version 2.0 to version 4.0.
Android browser Google Yes WebKit BSD and LGPL Browser included with Android version 1.5 to version 4.1[16]
BlackBerry Browser BlackBerry Some Mango (ver 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 5.0)
WebKit (ver 6.0+)
Proprietary and LGPL -
Blazer Palm No NetFront[17] Proprietary Installed on all newer Palm Treos and PDAs
Chrome Google Some WebKit, Blink (versions 28+) Freeware under Google Chrome Terms of Service, but uses components from the Chromium (web browser) project.[18] Installed as default on Google devices shipping with Android versions 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or higher
Clipper Palm No Custom Proprietary Installed on Palm VII series devices, or via Palm's Mobile Internet Kit
Dolphin Browser MoboTap No WebKit Proprietary Installed on all Bada
Firefox for Mobile
Mozilla Yes Gecko, WebKit (iOS version only) MPL Currently released for Android and iOS, but default browser for Firefox OS devices (now discontinued)
Internet Explorer Mobile Microsoft No
Proprietary On Windows Phone and Windows Mobile only
Iris Browser
Torch Mobile
Some WebKit Proprietary and LGPL Acquired by
Research in Motion - No longer supports Windows Mobile or Linux
Kindle web browser
No NetFront Proprietary Labeled "experimental"
Microsoft Edge Microsoft No EdgeHTML Proprietary On Windows 10 Mobile
Myriad Browser Myriad Group Some Magellan (ver. 6.x)
Fugu (ver 7.x)
WebKit (ver 9)[19]
Proprietary and LGPL Acquired from Openwave in 2008
Yes NetFront Proprietary -
Nokia Series 40
Nokia Some WebKit[20] Proprietary and LGPL
Openwave Unwired Planet No Proprietary Proprietary HDML, WAP, WML
Opera Mini
No Presto Proprietary Capable of pre-processing web pages and formatting for small screens
Opera Mobile
No Presto, Blink (versions 15+) Proprietary Capable of reading HTML and can reformat for small screens
PlayStation Portable web browser
Sony Yes NetFront Proprietary -
Polaris Browser Infraware Inc. Some Lumi (Ver. 6.x)
WebKit (Ver. 7.x)
Proprietary and LGPL Nokia, Samsung, Kyocera and other phones sold in the United States, China, South Korea, etc.
QQ browser
Tencent Some
S60 web browser
Nokia Yes WebKit LGPL On S60 phones (predominantly Nokia)
Safari Apple Some
Proprietary and LGPL[21] On iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)
Skyfire Mobile Browser
Skyfire Some WebKit Proprietary and LGPL Renders Flash 10, Ajax and Silverlight content. Currently supports iOS and Android.
WebOS Browser


Some WebKit Proprietary and LGPL The last WebOS, 3.0.5, was released on January 12, 2012
Browser Creator
Current browser engine Software license Notes

User-installable mobile browsers (current and defunct)

Browser Creator Current browser engine Platforms Software license Notes
360 Web Browser Digital Poke iOS
BOLT browser
Bitstream WebKit
Java ME, BlackBerry
Proprietary Discontinued December 2011
Brave Brave Blink iOS, Android Open-source Privacy-focused, built on Chromium.
Cake Browser Cake Technologies, Inc. WebKit iOS, Android Swipeable mobile browser created in 2018[22]
Google Chrome Google Blink, V8, WebKit (iOS) Android, iOS Proprietary under Google Chrome Terms of Service
Chromium Google Blink, V8 Android, Linux BSD-3 and others[23] Primary code-base of Chrome.
Classilla Cameron Kaiser Clecko (modified Gecko) Mac OS 8.6, Mac OS 9 MPL/GPL/LGPL Although desktop, uses a mobile user agent by default due to the older machines it services.
Microsoft Windows Mobile Proprietary Proxy-rendering browser (discontinued)
Dolphin Browser MoboTap WebKit Android, iOS
DuckDuckGo DuckDuckGo Blink, WebKit (iOS) Android, iOS Apache 2.0
Firefox for mobile
Mozilla Gecko, WebKit (iOS) Android, Firefox OS (discontinued), iOS MPL Includes
tabbed browsing.[24]
Firefox Focus/Klar Mozilla Gecko, WebKit (iOS) Android, iOS MPL 2.0
GNU IceCat GNU Project Gecko Android, Linux MPL 2.0, GPLv3+
Jio WebKit, Blink Android Proprietary
Links Twibright Labs PlayStation Portable GPL Unofficial port, requires custom firmware
Mercury Browser iLegendSoft, Inc. Android, iOS Proprietary
Micromax Browser
Micromax Informatics Android
Minimo Mozilla Foundation Gecko
Windows CE
MPL/GPL/LGPL Discontinued
NetFront, WebKit Linux, S60, BREW, Android, Windows Mobile, others Proprietary
Opera Mini
Presto , others Proprietary Supports most features of stand-alone Opera, but can run on less capable phones by offloading memory-intensive rendering to proxy server (based on Opera Mobile running on a server)
Opera Mobile
Presto, Blink Android, Maemo, BREW, S60, Windows Mobile From version 14 it is based on Chromium.
Pale Moon
Moonchild Productions Android Proprietary Built on Firefox code
Pixo Sun Microsystems
QQ browser
Mac OS X, Android, iOS
Skyfire Labs, Inc. WebKit (ver 2.x+), Gecko (ver 1.x) Android, iOS Supports Flash and Ajax. As of December 2010, it no longer supports Symbian OS or Windows Mobile
Sleipnir Fenrir Inc WebKit Android, iOS, Windows Mobile
Steel WebKit Android Discontinued
Java ME
Tor Browser The Tor Project, Guardian Project Gecko Android, Linux MPL 2.0
UC Browser UC Mobile U3 (based on WebKit) Proprietary Proxy-rendering in Java and Symbian. U3 engine in Android.
Vision Mobile Browser
Vivaldi Vivaldi Technologies Blink, V8 Android, Linux, iOS BSD-3, Proprietary
WinWAP Winwap Technologies Windows Mobile Proprietary
Arc The Browser Company WebKit iOS Proprietary
Browser Creator Current browser engine Platforms Software license Notes

Mobile HTML transcoders

Mobile transcoders reformat and compress web content for mobile devices and must be used in conjunction with built-in or user-installed mobile browsers. The following are several leading mobile transcoding services.

Defunct transcoders or sites with removed transcoding functionality

  • Google Mobilizer (Google Web Transcoder)[25] — Defunct since February 2016.[26][27] Replaced with Google Web Light.
  • Smartphone site — The last extant snapshot of the site is from 5 September 2012.
  • Device-Browser combinations on Cloud
  • Finch[28] — The last snapshot of a functional Finch site is from 28 February 2009.[29] This defunct service should not be confused with Finch (software). Finch the transcoder became Squeezr!Beta as early as 8 December 2009.[30]
    • Squeezr!Beta — The last functional Squeezr!Beta page is dated 13 February 2010.[31] As of 28 August 2010, Squeezr!Beta had closed;[32] the last page of Squeezr as authored by Adam Brenecki is dated 2 January 2012.[33] Since 2013, redirected to, which is a different service, and not related to Adam Brenecki.
  • Microsoft
    Bing[34] — the option to enable or disable "Optimize web pages for your phone" in "Search settings" is not visible in Bing's mobile version as of March 2018. (The mobile version can be accessed with a phone or tablet, or when setting a web browser to identify itself with a mobile-based user agent
  • MobileLeap Transcoding Engine, by MobileLeap Inc. As of March 2018, web page source code includes JavaScript from the domain parking company Sedo)[35] — The site would not allow entry without a cookie, so a typical crawler would be redirected to mlvb's cookiecheck page, the last snapshot of which is from 12 October 2017.
  • Mowser ([36] — Alternately marketed with the domain name, which is now a permanent deadlink. The last snapshot of a working page is dated 22 September 2017.[37] As of 30 March 2018, the site has been shut down.[38]

See also


  1. .
  2. .
  3. ^ "NetHopper 2.0: First true web browser for Newton". Pen Computing Magazine. July 1996. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "About Us". Openwave Mobility. 2009. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  5. ^ "The Weather Underground brings weather service to mobile phone user". The Weather Underground. 1997. Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  6. ^ "Microsoft Acquires STNC, a Leader in Digital Cellular Software" (Press release). Microsoft. 21 July 1999. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Microsoft Introduces Microsoft Mobile Explorer" (Press release). Microsoft. 8 December 1999. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  8. ^ "The previous e-m@iler..." Amstrad. 5 October 2002. Archived from the original on 9 February 2006.
  9. ^ "Experience With Top Gun Wingman: A Proxy-Based Graphical Web Browser for the 3Com PalmPilot" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  10. ^ "About Top Gun Wingman". The University of California, Berkeley BARWAN Research Project CDROM. Archived from the original on May 5, 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Microsoft Mobile Explorer 3.0 Provides Tomorrow's WAP 2.0 Functionality Today" (Press release). Microsoft. 19 February 2001. Archived from the original on 1 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  12. ^ "Top 9 Mobile & Tablet Browsers". StatCounter Global Stats. May 2022.
  13. ^ "Top 9 Mobile & Tablet Browsers". StatCounter Global Stats. June 2017.
  14. ^ "Top 9 Mobile & Tablet Browsers". StatCounter Global Stats. June 2015.
  15. ^ "Windows 8.x, Internet Explorer both flatline in June". Ars Technica. 2014-07-02.
  16. ^ Android 4.1 vs Android 4.2 -- The Jelly Bean Brothers. January 23, 2013, Alvin Ybañez, Android Authority
  17. ^ "palmOne Selects ACCESS NetFront Browser Engine to Power New Blazer 4.0 Mobile Browser, Expand Collaboration". ACCESS. 2004-12-08. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  18. ^ "FAQ - Mobile Chrome". Chrome Developers. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  19. ^ "Mobile Browsers". Myriad Group. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  20. ^ "Series 40 Platform". Forum Nokia. 2010-06-04. Archived from the original on 2010-05-23. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  21. ^ "Open Source". Apple Developer.
  22. ^ Perez, Sarah (30 January 2018). "Cake raises $5 million for a swipeable mobile browser". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
  23. Google Code. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original
    on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  24. ^ "Firefox for Mobile". Mozilla. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
  25. ^ "Google Mobilizer". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  26. ^ Solomon, Veena (2016-02-06). "What happened to Web Transcoder?". Mobile Websites | Webmaster Central Help Forum | Google Product Forums. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  27. Search Engine Roundtable
    . Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  28. ^ Purdy, Kevin (2008-10-13). "Finch Formats Web Sites for Really Slow Connections". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
  29. ^ Brenecki, Adam (2009). "Finch". Archived from the original on 2009-02-28.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Brenecki, Adam (2010). "squeezr!beta". Archived from the original on 2010-02-13.
  32. ^ Brenecki, Adam (2010). "squeezr!beta is closed :(". Archived from the original on 2010-08-28.
  33. ^ Brenecki, Adam. "squeezr!beta is closed :(". Archived from the original on 2012-01-02.
  34. ^ "Bing". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  35. ^[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ "About". Mowser. 2011. Archived from the original on 2017-02-05.
  37. ^ "". Mowzer. 2011. Archived from the original on 2017-09-22.
  38. ^ " has been shut down!". Republic of Ireland: Afilias Plc. 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-31.