Nokia today announced the release to the global open source software community of the source code for S60 WebKit, the engine for its leading-edge Web Browser for S60, marking a turning point in the drive toward an open code base for web browsers used on mobile devices.
Nokia's contribution of the S60 WebKit source code, with key mobility enhancements that make WebKit easier to port to different mobile platforms, will enable reduced fragmentation in the next generation of mobile browsers, simplifying content development for the mobile web and accelerating adoption of mobile browsing by millions of smartphone users worldwide.
The web browser source code released by Nokia comes under the terms of the open source BSD License, a highly permissive software license with few requirements that is one of the most popular licenses among free software developers worldwide. The source code will be made available to open source developers through the WebKit Open Source Project (www.webkit.org).
Nokia's open sourcing of the engine to its high-performance S60 mobile browser, which replicates on handheld devices the true web-page rendering of complete desktop browsers, marks the start of a collaborative open source effort that will enable smartphone users industry-wide to push beyond the millions of mobile-friendly pages currently on the web and begin to experience full web browsing of the estimated 25 billion pages on the Internet today.
"Nokia's open source based Web Browser for S60 leads the way for Internet browsing on mobile devices," said Przemek Czarnecki, executive vice president of Terminal Technology, T-Mobile International. "Its innovative handling of website navigation, which is similar to using a web browser on the desktop, is of particular interest to T-Mobile as we are closely working on Internet browsing with our product 'web'n'walk'. The use of open source to achieve greater website compatibility is an important strategy for the mobile industry."
"This initiative will attract a critical mass of open source software developers to build a consistent, web browser engine as the clearest path to minimize fragmentation in the mobile browser market," said Lee Epting, vice president of Nokia's global software developer support program, Forum Nokia. "With nearly 100 million smartphones deployed worldwide, a common open source solution driving mobile web browser consistency will deliver on the long-awaited promise of full-web browsing and a true web experience for smartphone users around the globe."
"Nokia is pleased to deliver its mobility enhancements to the S60 browser engine and excited that developers will be collaborating through Webkit with the open source community on real-time evolution of the browser core code, paving the way toward broad adoption of an open source solution for next-generation browsing throughout the mobile industry," said Heikki Heinaro, vice president for S60 applications, Nokia.
In addition to its modular, extensible architecture and open interfaces, key features of the code that Nokia is contributing to the open source community include:
- Memory manager, designed specifically to handle out-of-memory situations on the device;
- Mouse Pointer, delivering a desktop-like navigation experience;
- Frames rendered as tables;
- Full support for "Text Search" capabilities;
- Reference UI, a reference implementation of standard browser user-interface features;
- Full mobility support for dynamic HTML and the scripting language that enables it; and,
- Preservation on mobile screens of original designer-intended web page layouts, with text custom-fitted to the mobile display width.
The first Nokia devices to include the Web browser for S60 will be ESeries (E60, E61 and E70) and NSeries devices (N71, N73, N80, N91, N92 and N93), as well as the Nokia 3250 Phone. Shipment of select models has already begun and others will come available throughout the remainder of the second quarter.
More information about Web Browser for S60 can be found online at http://s60.com/browser. Developers wishing to learn more about available tools enabling them to modify and contribute to the Web browser for S60, as well as build on top of the browser to provide rich content for their applications, can visit http://opensource.nokia.com/projects/S60browser.