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A mobile browser is a web browser built to use on mobile devices like mobile phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs). Mobile browsers are designed in such a way that it can display Web content most efficiently for small screens used on mobile devices. Mobile browser software is generally small, lightweight and effective in accommodating the low bandwidth and low memory capacity of the wireless handheld devices.
A mobile browser is also known as a microbrowser, minibrowser or wireless Internet browser (WIB). The websites that are suitable to access from these mobile browsers are known as wireless portals or are collectively called as the Mobile Web.
Mobile browsers are connected to the Internet via a cellular network as well as a wireless local area network (LAN). Some mobile browsers are capable of displaying standard HTML sites, while some are only able to display websites that are exclusively programmed for mobile browsers. Usually, low-graphic or text-based contents are optimized for mobile browsers. The mobile browsers display webpages that are written in languages designed exclusively for mobile computing, including the wireless markup language (WML) or compact HTML (CHTML). However, most of the present-day mobile browsers are able to display regular HTML.
In 1996, Apple released the first commercial mobile browser known as NetHopper, which was intended for the personal digital assistants (PDAs).
The use of mobile browsers continued to advance with the introduction of smart phones, such as the Apple iPhone and Blackberry. Mobile browsers help people to work remotely by carrying out all of their personal and business activities straight from their mobile phones. Furthermore, mobile browsers have unfolded a new era of entertainment and communication with the introduction of social networking; and Internet music, video, and TV channels.
Popular mobile browsers include Android browser, Blazer, BlackBerry browser, Bolt, Firefox Mobile, Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile, Opera, Skyfire and uZard Web, etc.