ThunderHawk has provided an alternate web browser for the Pocket PC platform for quite a while now, and they’ve finally released their browser for Windows Mobile Smartphones:
ThunderHawk streamlines the browsing process by doing the “heavy lifting” (downloading, rendering, etc.) on their server backend, and then sending the compressed web page over the air to the Smartphone. This compression proxy technology is similar to what T-Mobile does with the Sidekick, and what Skweezer does as well.
The down side to this is that to use ThunderHawk, you have to pay a yearly subscription fee of $49.95/year, or $5.95/month. So you’re not only paying for the browser software, but for use of the compression proxy, as well.
For me, the version of Internet Explorer that comes with Windows Mobile for Smartphone is more than adequate for my mobile browsing (of which I do quite a bit). I am especially pleased with the “One Column” format option found in the WM2003 version of IE. It forces the page to one column (rather than just trying to do so, like the “Default” layout option), and completely eliminates horizontal scrolling on most every website, making them all quite readable. In addition, I do 98% of my Smartphone web surfing using the mobile version of Bloglines.com. My web consumption is mainly based on RSS feeds (see my blogroll to the right to get an idea – I subscribe to over 250 feeds), and the mobile version of Bloglines does a great job of presenting the feed content in a simple text format, which fits perfectly on the Smartphone’s small screen. Combined with the fact that my “read” items stay synchronized with the full desktop browser version of Bloglines, which I use as my main RSS reader, and I’m tickled pink with this solution for reading any of my 250+ feeds just fine in WM2003’s Internet Explorer.
So that’s why I won’t likely be plunking down any cash to use ThunderHawk. But if easier access to non-mobile friendly websites sounds like something that would be useful to you, go check it out. There is a free 30 day trial.