Windows Phone 8: Internet Explorer Issues
By on December 26th, 2012

In my post about why I think Windows Phone “sucks”, I talk about various items I think that need to be fixed in Windows Phone. Here I go into details on what I feel are features in the browser, Mobile Internet Explorer 10, that need tweaks and fixes.

It is hard enough that Internet Explorer does not use the same rendering engine as the two giants’ mobile browsers – Mobile Safari on iOS and Chrome/Android Browser on Android – thereby creating less-than-optimal mobile browsing experiences on Windows Phone. It is probably lazy web developers but bottom line is that many websites have catered their mobile experiences for Webkit-based browsers and are not able to detect that mobile IE10 is able to render based on HTML5 standards quite well. The result is that the end user sees the same website vastly differently on iOS versus a Windows Phone.

What’s worse, Internet Explorer isn’t able to do some basic things that people expect to happen with any browser:

Sync Favorites with desktop: While Windows Phone 8 can backup Internet Explorer settings to the cloud, including Favorites, it is a joke that Internet Explorer on the phone cannot sync Favorites to Internet Explorer on the desktop. It does not even sync to Windows 8 which has the same Internet Explorer 10 browser.

Sync Passwords with desktop: Windows 8 and Windows RT have a neat feature where saved passwords get synced across devices when using a Microsoft account to sign in to the PC. Despite the phone using a Microsoft account, these saved passwords don’t sync with the phone. Combine that with the next point, it makes for a sub-optimal mobile browsing experience, especially compared to the competition.

Bookmarklets/Extensions: I understand that a mobile browser is not expected to support plugins and extensions for a variety of reasons, but not letting bookmarklets work causes a lot of nifty features to break. Yes, there is a feature in the OS to let developers plug into the system so apps can share data but while users wait for apps to land on the OS, bookmarklets do let many features work right inside the browser. Things I routinely use bookmarklets for include sending a page to Readability, accessing Lastpass for password management, etc.

Address bar does not auto-hide: I cannot understand how this has been overlooked. In a device with a design philosophy that removes chrome to let your content shine, having an always-on address bar in a browser is a criminal waste of real estate.

For more about this series of posts, see the main post here.

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Author: Romit Mehta Google Profile for Romit Mehta
Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920). Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is http://romitmehta.com.

Romit Mehta has written and can be contacted at romit@techie-buzz.com.
 
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