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BROWSER: Microsoft's Internet Explorer Mobile 6 aka 6 on 6 is real and shows its face
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 25.09.08 - 21:37:41 CET under 02 - Windows Mobile News - Viewed 55811x
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The next, officially announced, big update for Windows Mobile will be - as Microsoft calls it - "6 on 6", which is Internet Explorer Mobile 6 on Windows Mobile 6.1. The current Internet Explorer Mobile code, as it is used for today's Windows Mobile devices and smartphones, is based on the pretty much outdated Internet Explorer 4.x, which was initially released back in September, 1997! The time of Windows 95 and Windows NT 4, when the World Wide Web was pretty young. So no question, it is time for an update! And while some called 6 on 6 vaporware already, even if Microsoft's Andy Lees confirmed its upcoming release in our earlier interview, you can see bellow that it exists indeed as the the screenshots we recently received proves.

Internet Explorer Mobile 6 provides two different compatibility options - Mobile and Desktop:

And while the Mobile mode identifies it as "[Device Name] (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 8.12; MSIEMobile 6.0)", the Desktop mode identifies it as "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)":

So far the theory. In reality you can see the difference if you visit the::unwired which works with browser sniffing to serve the appropriate layout. On the left, the::unwired in Mobile mode, on the right in Desktop mode and as you can see, the Desktop mode looks quite similar to the::unwired on your PC:

So far so good. But some things irritates me: Why does the scrollbars on the right and bottom look like Windows 95 or Windows CE? That's not the "fresh" Windows Mobile 6.1 style. Also I haven't seen a single indication of "tabbed browsing" which means Internet Explorer Mobile 6 might still offers a single instance for Web browsing only.
Anyway, as soon as I have access to a Windows 6 on 6 upgraded device, I will follow-up with a hands-on review.

Cheers ~ Arne


 

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Comments
Posted by Saijo George on 26.09.08 - 06:04:57

A free update is always welcome but I cant see myself getting excited about this when there are other free option like Opera and Skyfire around.. and what ever happened to Deepfish ?

Posted by Alexw on 26.09.08 - 16:20:42

What are they planning on calling it, since my PocketIE's HTTP UserAgent already says MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11..

Posted by Penance on 26.09.08 - 18:51:57

I don't get why they are porting the IE6 renderer instead of forking the in-development IE8 renderer. Their main competition is largely Webkit (iPhone, Android and Symbian) or Opera 9 (on high-end WM devices) and now Mozilla has thrown their hat into the ring. That's in addition to other free browsers available like Skyfire and Iris (using Webkit). All of these rendering engines support tabs, are more modern and are more standards-compliant than IE6. I appreciate MS wanting to update Mobile IE, but I'm not terribly excited about putting a quirky, 4-year old rendering engine on my WM phone compared to the plethora of frankly better browsers now appearing on WM.

Posted by Joe on 26.09.08 - 19:10:46

Deepfish was canceled:

http://livelabs.com/blog/deepfish/deepf … -be-going/

I agree with Penance on the choice of the IE6 codebase, but I will go one step further.  MS needs to spend some time culling their branches of things.  Spend a couple of weeks reorganizing the code so the core renderer can be re-used in WinCE and desktop Windows...then, all their programs can take advantage of the latest and greatest, and all security patches, improvements, etc., will be reflected across the product line.  I realize this is probably a non-trivial undertaking, but I think we have all been expecting too little for too long from the world's largest software company.  They can and should do better.  Forget web slices...spend your development efforts on a unified experience.

Posted by toby johnson on 28.09.08 - 15:59:02

My current phone is an AT&T 8525, upgraded to WM6, but I'll never again buy another Windows Mobile phone. WM7 being delayed for 2 years and now I find out that the next version of Pocket IE they've been hyping is based on the stinkin' 7-year-old IE 6 codebase?! Microsoft is simply incapable of innovating these days. By the time WM7 and the new PIE come out they will already be obsolete. From the screenshots, it doesn't even look like it supports full-page zoom like Safari, Opera 9, or any other modern mobile browser.

Posted by wepperi on 30.09.08 - 10:56:59

"The current Internet Explorer Mobile code, as it is used for today's Windows Mobile devices and smartphones, is based on the pretty much outdated Internet Explorer 4.x, which was initially released back in September, 1997!"

And IE6 was released back in 2001! Opera's latest version at the time was Opera 5, and Firefox hadn't even been released yet!

From extremely outdated technology (IE4) to slightly less, but still outdated technology (IE6).

Gee.

Posted by theefman on 24.10.08 - 20:52:14

Arne, its coming up to the end of October, any sign of this being released? Seeing as it typically takes carriers/handset makers months to intergrate any new WM features will we see this in 2008?

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