Friday, October 10, 2008

Multiple Tabs on S60 web browser

Having multiple 'tabs' open in a browser is something we take for granted on a desktop computer. And it's not unknown on other handhelds. But Nokia has traditionally tried to discourage people from using multiple browser windows on S60 phones. Is this justified and what's the easiest way to create and use extra windows in Web?

I can see Nokia's point. I really can. Up until the advent of the Nokia E90, all S60 phones were hampered, perhaps arguably crippled, by only 20MB or so of free RAM. Enough for normal phone operation and some other moderately powerful applications, but not enough to handle multiple rendered desktop-grade web pages. The easiest and simplest solution seemed to be not to give users a way to open more than one window. In fact, the way many web sites tend to open up external links in a new window means that, at some stage, almost everybody has seen that multiple browser windows are possible. Right up until the point where RAM ran out and a memory error popped up, anyway.

So yes, Nokia was possibly trying to be helpful in a general way, at least in terms of average High Street phone users. But you and I want more. Armed with an E90, or slightly more recent handsets like the N95 8GB, N82, E71, E66, 6220 Classic, to name but a few Nokia models, plus several of the recent Samsung S60 phones, we've got 80MB or so of free RAM and this has ceased to be a problem. So the main reason why we can't have multiple browser windows open is now just the menu structure of Web itself - i.e. there's no 'Open new window' function.

However, it's worth documenting a simple workaround that you can put in place in Web on your phone in order to have an extra window whenever you like, for flicking backwards and forwards between two or more stories, perhaps.

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