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Pocket PC Browsers for Treo 700w

Thu Sep 7, 2006 - 8:34 PM EDT - By Tim Hillebrand

Server-based Alternatives

Because there are no stand-alone browsers that work on the Treo 700w flavor of Pocket PC, we will go right on to the third browser category. The nice thing about these two alternatives is that they are free compared to ThunderHawk, which requires a subscription fee of $49 per year or $5.95 per month.

Skweezer - free or $14.99

I can remember when Skweezer first got started a few years ago, they charged a hefty subscription fee of $39 per year, but now you can enjoy it free, or the pro version for less than half the original price. Skweezer makes its money through corporate branding and with creative advertising programs.

To use this powerful Web-based reformatting application, simply sign up for the free service here After you have established an account, just go here on your handheld. When you type in a URL, the site will display reformatted and optimized for small screen viewing -- pretty cool.

The screen shot shows the Skweezer home page with an input box where you can type a URL or a keyword lookup. Notice that Internet Explorer displays the Skweezer page and that MultiIE supports it as well. That means you can have all the benefits of MultiIE and Skweezer simultaneously, which is a good thing.

Here are some of the things your free Skweezer account will allow you to do:
  • Send and receive email from almost any provider, including POP3 and Web based accounts such as Gmail.
  • Create list of mobile contacts.
  • You can the click on the contacts to call them.
  • You can set up or import a list of browsing favorites.
  • Save and view RSS feeds.
  • Set language of preference.
If you want the enhanced version, Skweezer Pro costs $14.99 per year. Here are its added benefits:
  • You will not have any display ads on your screen
  • You will receive priority email support, usually the same day
  • Download speeds will be considerably faster
  • Translate Web pages from and to different languages
Take a look at how Skweezer displays the TreoCentral site below. The right screen shot is in full screen mode courtesy of MultiIE.

Skweezer makes a particularly pleasurable RSS viewer because it quickly optimizes the material and downloads it so that you are not struggling with full- size Web pages. If you are on a metered plan, it will definitely save you money. Otherwise, it will only save you time.

Check out how Skweezer can translate Web pages from and to a dozen different languages. Here's an example of how the TreoCentral site looks in Spanish.

The Translation feature worked well with European languages, but neither with Asian languages nor Russian. You probably need to install special character sets. But, I don't have the need and have not looked into it.

The good news is that Skweezer not only works on Pocket PCs like the Treo 700w but will also work on all Palms and Smartphones.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Skweezer is to wireless browsing as chocolate is to candy.

Mobile Virtual Browser - free

I was suspicious when I visited this site and saw an ancient Dell Axim 30i featured as the handheld. When I tried to pull up this site on my 700w, I kept getting a notice to enable cookies and to try again. Well, my cookies are enabled, thank you, and it still wouldn't work. I recommend that you sign up for this free service on your desktop.

From then on, you can access this service by entering "http://mlvb.net". Later, I discovered that you can also register at this address. Actually, you don't really have to register or login to use this free service. But, if you do, you will have the benefit of saved browser settings and history stored on the server.

This is what the screen looks like after you login. Notice that it displays a historical list of sites viewed and that you can change the settings for screen size and download speed with pictures or just text.

Some of Mobile Virtual features include:
  • Optional user accounts for saved browser settings and history
  • Main content detection
  • Form support including POST
  • Gzip content compression
  • Selectable image resize/recompression
  • Detailed Data Transfer Reports
  • Built-in RSS/RDF view
  • XHTML output
I wondered what the main content detection feature was all about. I found out when I pulled up the site and it displayed the “main content” and stuffed the graphics down at the bottom of the page. That's certainly a commendable feature guaranteed to save some browsing time.

It's true that Virtual Mobile is fast. It is difficult for me to tell whether it is faster than Skweezer, but it's definitely faster that Internet Explorer renderings that can be really pokey with a dialup connection, which I avoid whenever possible in favor of Wi-Fi. Virtual Mobile does not have as many features as Skweezer, especially Skweezer Pro, but it's free, and it's fast. Of course you still have all the functionality of Internet Explorer and if it's enhanced by MultiIE, that's even better.


I'm disappointed not to be able to discuss the virtues of all the alternative Web browsers available for Pocket PCs because they simply do not work on the 700w's small, square screen. However, we are fortunate that MultiIE does work, and that it is the least expensive. As an Internet Explorer plug-in, you can enhance Microsoft's plain vanilla browser with more features from MultiIE. You can increase the speed of your browsing and enjoy Web pages optimized for the small screen with the Web-based free applications from Virtual Mobile and Skweezer. Skweezer Pro eliminates having to view ads, increases rendering speed, and gives you a number of other features of value.

My recommendation is to enhance Internet Explorer with MultiIE and combine that with Skweezer Pro for the best possible Web surfing experience on your 700w. But let's also be on the lookout for 700w-friendly versions from the other browser developers.

Peter Kock, the developer of MultiIE, has seen the specs for the forthcoming new Treo and promises that the next version of MultiIE will work perform perfectly. He also says that the new Treo is going to be awesome, but he won't say how.

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