Cellular Message-Based Browsing

April 24th, 2008

I have been working on a simple-minded concept to implement a textual browser on a cell phone using one or more of the following three methods:

  1. Text messages
  2. Picture messages
  3. Instant messaging

The method uses a server that runs a text-based Internet browser, an email or instant messaging application and a command processor.

In my first prototypes of message based browsing I used the Lynx text-based browser, AOL Instant Messenger and the AutoIt programming language. I also tried the Pine email application. I first used text-based browsers a long time ago. Lynx worked very well rendering text, but of course images are not explicitly shown. Not being able to see images is often a severe handicap, particularly if you want to see maps or weather radar images. But, in lots of cases, text-only browsing is not so bad. In fact, Lynx does a good job as a simple browser.

Picture messaging can be used to view individual images on a cell phone. A lot of handsets have pretty low resolution displays and are not well adapted to the normal browsing metaphor.