Tag Archives | Safari Mobile

Atomic Web: A Better iPad Browser

After reading about Atomic Web for the iPad a few days ago on Gizmodo, I surrendered $1 to the App Store and gave it a try. Now, I’ve happily banished Safari to the farthest reaches of my home screen, as this browser alternative looks and feels like Safari but with better features.

Atomic Web’s main lure is tabbed browsing. On the iPhone, I never had much use for tabs, because I don’t frequently read on the small screen, and therefore don’t get into the routine of opening background windows while scanning for interesting articles. On the iPad’s big screen, bouncing between pages is essential.

Atomic Web handles tabs like a desktop browser, displaying them directly underneath the address bar. When you press and hold on a link, a contextual menu allows you to open the page in a foreground or background tab. Switching between tabs is instantaneous — a huge relief given that Safari sometimes has to reload pages if you stray for too long.

Tabbed browsing isn’t Atomic Web’s only advantage. There’s also full screen browsing, find in page, multi-touch shortcuts (two-finger swipes with customizable actions), support for a couple dozen search tools, private mode, an ad blocker and customizable colors. It also comes with some cool bookmarklets — special functions that masquerade as bookmarks — including quick access to Google Translate.

I only have one complaint with Atomic Web: When you quit the browser, it has to reload all your pages again next time you start up, even if you set the browser to preserve all open tabs after quitting.

My other gripe with the browser isn’t Atomic Web’s fault, and speaks to a larger issue with the iPad: You can’t set Atomic Web or any other alternative browser as your default. Safari is part of the OS’s core, so you can’t make Web apps open in Atomic Web from the home screen, and other programs, such as TweetDeck, automatically launch Safari when you want to view something in a proper browser. The best you can do is install a bookmarklet in Safari that jumps to Atomic Web with your current Web page, but it’s one extra step.

That those drawbacks haven’t deterred me from forgetting Safari exists is a testament to how much Atomic Web deserves its $1 asking price.


Apple Sued Over Safari Mobile Technology

apple-logo-2Apple is the target of a lawsuit over its use of certain technologies within Safari Mobile, the browser used on both the iPhone and iPod touch devices. Filed in US District Court in Tyler, Texas, the suit alleges technologies that allow Apple to display and navigate web pages infringes on a patent awarded just last month to a Los Angeles based firm who also apparently has a location in Tyler.

EMG Technology is the holder of the patent. The company was founded by Elliot Gottfurcht along with two partners. Apple may not be the only one to be sued: the company said that it is also looking into suing HTC and RIM as well for similar infringement.

The patent involved, #7,441,196, is described as such on the US Patent Office website: as an “apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling internet content.”

Lawyers for EMG elaborate:

“the ‘196 patent claims cover the display of Internet content reformatted from HTML to XML on mobile devices — the industry standard currently displayed by the iPhone. Additional patent claims include the technology for manipulating a region of the screen for zooming and scrolling.”

It did admit in an interview with Reuters that it specifically targeted Apple due to it’s popularity. I have to say, however, wouldn’t it have been probably more worth it to go after RIM since it has about three times the share right now? Just a thought.

Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro have been tapped to represent EMG in the case. This law firm has experience in prosecuting some large infringement cases, including a $1.35 billion verdict against Medtronic in 2005, one of the largest judgements ever for an intellectual property dispute.

Damages in this case are unspecified, however.

Apple is not commenting on the situation as it has a standing policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation.