You’d have to have been living under a rock not to have noticed that Firefox from Mozilla has become a popular choice for web professionals and causal users who have become sick of the flaws and security holes in Microsoft’s ubiquitous Internet Explorer. Minimo is the Pocket PC version of Firefox, shrunken down to match your device but still loaded with power and features lacking from Pocket IE.
The first thing to note about Minimo is a slight installation issue we suffered. If you’ve already installed a previous version of the browser on your device, it’s important that you uninstall it and perform a soft-reset before attempting to upgrade. After installation, we’d recommend another soft-reset before running the program as this usually irons out any creases in the installation process. It isn’t right that we should still have to be installing programs in this way on Pocket PCs but that’s really more of an issue with the way their systems are designed.
When you finally get around to launching Minimo, you see an attractive splash screen and then in a couple of seconds, the browser window appears and immediately starts loading your start page – just like in Firefox. Items such as the start page, bookmarks image loading and so on can be accessed and adjusted through the preferences menu. In terms of speed, Minimo is at least as fast as Pocket Internet Explorer, and makes for a comfortable and quick browsing experience.
Minimo’s main boasts of improvement over Pocket IE are increased security, tabbed browsing and support for RSS feeds. All of these features will be well known to anyone familiar with Firefox, RSS support in particular being a welcome addition to the Pocket PC’s browsing options. The program also features Small Screen Rendering (SSR) and ‘Single Column’ formatting, both options designed to optimise websites for viewing on a small-screened device. While these functions are highly effective on some sites, making it easier to read news reports, we found it pretty difficult to make sure that SSR would stay off when we turned it off. The SSR engine itself doesn’t seem to be quite as advanced as that of Opera, but perhaps this is to be expected given that Opera have been working on small screen rendering for a lot longer than Mozilla.
As with almost every other aspect of their Pocket PC operating system, Microsoft left itself wide open to competition in the browser category. Opera for Pocket PC is a sturdy choice and is currently ready to go. It is Minimo, however, which promises the most in terms of a true alternative to IE – even if it is still at an early stage in its development.