First, Picsel Viewer is one of the best programs for Palm OS. It is not only a browser but a viewer for MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, PDF files, HTML files, images and TXT-files. It is not buyable or downloadable but integrated in some CLIEs from Sony. This year a Chinese company released a smartphone with Picsel Browser, it seems to be the same. As it’s Chinese the whole program is in Chinese language, but there are English language packs availible. Someone put Picsel Browser onto a download site and it worked on almost all PalmOne’s devices !! You have to find both the program and the language packs by yourself – we cannot give any links. It is used as a native PDF viewer – at the moment the only one for Palm OS – but not so often as a web browser. Is that a mistake?
I don’t review Picsel Viewer but Picsel Browser (I don’t know the difference between them). Picsel Viewer was pre-installed on some Sony CLIEs, and Picsel Browser was in a Chinese smartphone.
It’s not easy to install Picsel Browser – you can neither install it using HotSync nor from a card with the launcher nor from a card with Filez. The only file manager (and launcher) that can copy it into RAM is “ZLauncher” (and perhaps “McFile”). So I used ZLauncher. The files you need are:
- EnglishLanguage Pack
into my RAM. Then I tapped on the “Picsel Browser” icon in the launcher. It showed the startup screen:
and then the menu:
Browsing the web
For browsing the web, you have to tap on the world icon, then you can enter the URL:
With my wireless broadband connection, it isn’t as fast as a desktop browser, but much faster than WebPro or many other ones. After a few seconds it displays the page in real desktop layout, like it would look on your computer. But if the whole page shall fit the screen, the font has to be *very* small. To zoom, you must tap twice somewhere on the screen, then hold the stylus and pull it up for zooming in – and down for zooming out. To follow a link, you have to tap it twice. You can fill in forms, too, but in multiline-text forms, it only supports 80 letters, so there is no use for web mail, blogs or forums. Unfortuanely you cannot download any files to your card, but you can open and view files which are supported by Picsel Browser – it can display MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF. Perhaps it is more a viewer than browser (although the name) – it displays the page (viewing) correctly, but browsing capabilities like downloads, forms etc. aren’t very good.
Now two pictures of 1src.com. One contains almost the whole site (zoom out), another one is zoomed in much:
Like other browsers, Picsel Browser can reload pages (see menu picture), but there is no “Back”-button. Use the “navigation panel” (see menu picture) for getting back.
Most pages are displayed correctly, but on some pages it has problems with tables:
The German site “Winfuture” (like it should be displayed):
Small screen rendering
It’s nice to see pages like on desktop, but desktop browsers show them in 800 and more pixels width, but a Palm has only 320 or 480 (landscape). That means scrolling left and right, up and down (zoomed in), or zooming out so that the fonts are so small that you can’t read anything. But if you switch to small screen rendering, it renders the page that it fits the screen width and you only have to scroll up and down:
Text without small-screen-rendering
Text with small screen rendering
All file types it supports can be read both online and offline (from card), the most important might be PDF and MS Word. At the moment Picsel Browser is the only app for Palm OS that offers you native PDF support (but there might be some other solutions in the future – update 21.12.2006: now there is also PalmPDF and PDFToGo) and that is very important today. Files can be both in the RAM and on a flash card. To open an offline file, it shows an open dialog which is very similar to the Windows Explorer:
Most MS Word, Excel (and of course HTML) and other files are displayed very clear like on a computer.
Bookmarks, settings, …
To create a bookmark, just tap on the icon in the menu (see menu picture above). To open saved bookmarks, there is another icon. Bookmarks can be both online and offline documents. When you open a bookmark it doesn’t jump to the last position but to the beginning.
Possible settings are: turn pictures on / off, font size, homepage, user agent, proxy server, cache clearing, history clearing, cookies on/off.
On the one hand, it isn’t allowed to upload, download or use it if you don’t have a device with Picsel Browser in ROM, on the other hand it is a very good browser with singularly features, especially rendering pages and speed. And no other program can display native PDF files, no other browser show non-HTML documents without changing the app (except WebToGo IMHO) – you can return browsing when you have read the document. Other browsers would open DocumentsToGo and if you start them again they return to the start page and you have to find your last page again.
For me it isn’t the only browser on my Tungsten|C because I need downloads and it can’t download ZIP files e. g. Often I need to save the page offline (NetFront can) or write mails in the browser, and Picsel Browser can only write up to 80 letters. So read the next part of “Web Browsing on a Palm” maybe I’ll review NetFront then, and you know which second browser you need, too.
What do you think about Picsel’s work?