Commercial Mobile Browsers To See Strong Growth - InformationWeek

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7/22/2008
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Commercial Mobile Browsers To See Strong Growth

While open source mobile browsers will gain popularity, ABI Research says offerings from companies like Opera can still garner significant revenue.

The market for commercial mobile browsers will grow despite the increased popularity of browsers based on open source coding, according to new data from ABI Research.

In its report "The Mobile Browser Market," the research firm said the demand for more complex HTML-based browsers on handsets will lead to pre-installed revenue of $492 million by 2013.

"Device manufacturers are interested in open source solutions where there is a desire for increased control of their software footprint, and where they can bring internal programming resources to bear," research director Michael Wolf said in a statement. "At the same time, vendors such as Opera are seeing strong growth in their mobile browsing offerings, which provide the ability to access Web pages with advanced features such as zoom, bookmark syncing, and landscape mode, while also permitting handset vendors and operators to focus development resources elsewhere."

The latest beta of Opera's mobile browser was recently released, and it offers a desktop-like browsing experience. This will be increasingly important as more and more mobile Internet surfers will expect a better interface, ABI Research said.

Perhaps the best mobile browser is the iPhone's Safari browser, which is based on the open source WebKit framework. Users of Apple's handsets surf the Web significantly more than other smartphone users, and many credit the desktop-like user experience the device provides.

Handset giant Nokia is also adopting WebKit for its browsers, and Google made it the core browser and Web-rendering engine for the Android mobile operating system platform. Additionally, Mozilla will bring out a mobile browser based on open source code later this year.

While these open source browsers will make it difficult for a commercial offering to be dominant, they will spur the overall mobile browsing market and create new users.

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