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Nikkei: Nintendo drops Opera in favor of...Netfront, for the 3DS.
News reported by 
Editor
February 27, 2011, 09:56:22
 
It appears that Nintendo is switching over to a new format for the internet browser on the 3DS. For those of you who aren't familiar with NetFront, it's the browser used on the PSP and PS3. Nikkei, a reputable Japanese newspaper, has provided the following information concerning the new deal:

Nikkei said:
ACCESS, an embedded software developer, will be providing the new web browser for the Nintendo 3DS, a portable game console launched by Nintendo in Japan on the 26th of February. Nintendo expects to provide the new internet functionality in May, through the distribution of a software update. The 3DS will be available for sale in the United States and Europe in March.

ACCESS will be providing their NetFront browser, which has been adopted by more than a billion devices, including mobile phones and TV's.

SOURCE**

This change in format may come as a disappointment to some, considering its performance on some of the other gaming devices like the PSP, or PS3. However, there have been some reported improvements with the browser in terms of performance, as well as many user-end features that many other mobile browsers are completely devoid of. Here are the following specs for ACCESS' latest mobile browser, with notable features marked in bold:

Specifications | NetFront Browser v4.1

{New in NetFront Browser v4.1}

* High Speed JavaScript Engine

{Supported Standards}
Compliant with the OMA Browsing 2.3 specification

{Markup}
cHTML, HTML 5 (Partial), HTML 4.01, XHTML1.1, XHTML Mobile Profile 1.2, WML 1.3, SMIL 2.1, RSS feed (RSS 0.9/0.91/0.92/1.0/2.0, Atom 0.3/1.0)

{Stylesheets}
CSS1, CSS2.1, CSS3 (Partial), CSS MP1

{Advanced Scripting}

* ECMAScript 262 3rd Edition
* ECMAScript Mobile Profile
* WMLScript
* DOM Level 1, Level 2
* Dynamic HTML
* Ajax (XMLHttpRequest)

{Protocols}

* HTTP 1.0/1.1
* WAP
* IPv4/IPv6 Dual TCP/IP

{Security}

* SSL3/TLS1.0
* Crypto modules

{Memory Requirements}

* ROM: 2MB-4MB (Kernel +SLIM)
* RAM: 2MB- (Depending on complexity of content viewed)

{Main Features}

* Tabbed Multi-Window support
* Column Rendering
* Stick Navi
* Swift Navi
* PagePilot (Smooth pan and zoom navigation)
* Visual Bookmarks
* Virtual Pointer (Pointing device emulation)
* Smart-Fit Rendering™
* Rapid-Render™
* Intelligent Frame Handling (Select and zoom individual frames)
* Continuously adjustable Zooming/Animated Zoom
* Offline Browsing and Page/Image Saving
* Word Wrap, Line boundary character check
* Streaming Download
* DirectConnect (Secure monitoring and control of devices from the browser)
* Intelligent Pop-Up Blocker
* Integrated Internet Search Menu
* Auto Form-Filling
* Authentication Manager
* International Domain Name

{Supported Operating Systems}

* Linux® (ACCESS Linux Platform™, Android™, Qt/Embedded, Qtopia, GTK+, and others)
* Symbian OS (Series 60 and UIQ)
* Garnet™ OS
* BREW, REX OS
* Microsoft® Windows® CE family, Microsoft® Windows Mobile® (Pocket PC, Smartphone)
* VxWorks
* Nucleus
* ITRON
* Others (OS-9, OSE etc.)

{Supported CPUs}

* ARM®
* XScale
* StrongARM®
* PowerPC
* MIPS
* SH-Mobile and others

{Plug-In and Extension Modules}

NetFront™ SMIL Player & SVG Viewer
SMIL and SVG modules can be implemented as plug-ins or as stand-alone players for advanced 3G push services with rich multimedia content.

NetFront™ Document Viewer
NetFront™ Document Viewer enables full viewing of PDF files and Microsoft Office documents including Word, Excel®, and PowerPoint® on mobile handsets.

Flash®, Flash® Lite™
NetFront Browser provides a ready-to-use interface to integrate Adobe® Flash® Player supporting Flash content embedded within a Web page.

MascotCapsule (HI)
MascotCapsule is a 3D rendering engine that supports the display of visually rich 3D games or other 3D content on mobile devices.



For more information on the NetFront browser, click here.

**The above quote is a rough interpretation of a google translation. The source has been linked to its original language for veracity.

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Posted: 02/27/11, 09:56:22  - Edited by 
 on: 02/27/11, 23:43:00    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
Never heard of Netfront before. I don't care which browser it uses, as long as it works.

...


Hmm... now that I think about it, the PS3's browser is really shitty. I can't stand using it, and it constantly crashes. My old Windows 98 computer has more reliable internet access. This had better be significantly improved over that.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 10:33:40
Yes, the ps3 browser is terrible. Of course, that is a relatively old version of the NetFront browse. In terms of performance, all we can do is hope that they have made some major improvements.

I will say though, the latest version is pretty feature rich, so that can be considered an improvement in the mobile space. Let's just hope the performance isn't as shitty as it was 5+ years ago.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 10:50:15
Blah, it does not matter what product they use for a Browser, the resolution is still crap for any decent web surfing.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 14:03:34
@gtarrant

Well, the browser does have a zoom function. However, I'm not sure if the text will be re-rendered per zoom, like it is on Wii Opera, or if you'll just zoom in to blurry text, like the PS3. I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 15:08:55
Can't say I'm excited for this, but if the updates are actually for the better, then... alright, I guess.

Wonder if we'll be able to watch YouTube videos on 3DS? That'd be pretty sweet.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 15:13:37
Eww, the shitty PS3 browser.

That's terrible news.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 15:27:56
@GameDadGrant

Well it supports HTML5, which is youtube compatible. The browser also has Flash extensions but who knows if Nintendo is going to include them.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 15:31:10  - Edited by 
 on: 02/27/11, 15:31:34
All I can say is I hope it's better than the PS3 browser.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 15:38:28
All I can say is I hope it's better than the DSi browser. Is the PS3 browser actually worse?


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 15:55:15
@Pandareus

Yes and no. The DSi browser is more reliable, but the ps3 browser has better functionality and support (flash, tabs, etc.). However, the Wii browser runs circles around both of them in terms of performance.

On ACCESS' page it says that their engine is 20 times faster than the previous version, and they seem to have made some significant advancements.

Even if the performance isn't good (though it is extremely important that they get this right), it will have good feature support.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 16:07:45  - Edited by 
 on: 02/27/11, 16:08:51
Disappointing. I'm sure whatever Opera could come up with would destroy this and they did an excellent job on both Wii and DSi given the constraints. I really hope this has canvas support.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 18:49:11  - Edited by 
 on: 02/27/11, 18:49:28
@Dark_sidER

Yeah, Opera is a great browser. However, there has to be a reason why Nintendo dropped them. Perhaps they wanted functionality that Opera couldn't sufficiently deliver on the 3DS? I have to say, NetFront Life on the Android looks amazing.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 19:59:16  - Edited by 
 on: 02/27/11, 20:00:05
I'm in the camp that also couldn't care less as long as it works.


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/11, 22:41:38
casper884 said:
However, there has to be a reason why Nintendo dropped them. Perhaps they wanted functionality that Opera couldn't sufficiently deliver on the 3DS?
Opera has an SDK, so Nintendo can get whatever functionality they desire. NetFront is a lower quality browser than Opera, but probably also much cheaper. Considering how they have basically ignored the browser in the previous consoles, maybe they didn't think it was worth putting much money into...

It's not like Opera can't support Flash (it supports all plugins), and it already supports HTML5.


Posted by 
 on: 02/28/11, 18:12:34  - Edited by 
 on: 02/28/11, 18:13:41


Posted by 
 on: 02/28/11, 18:14:43
That is kind of sad, the Wii Opera browser works well, the PSP/PS3 browsers are utterly useless garbage.


Posted by 
 on: 02/28/11, 18:44:52
rumplar said:
Considering how they have basically ignored the browser in the previous consoles, maybe they didn't think it was worth putting much money into...
On the contrary, I'd say they pushed the browser on the Wii quite a bit. They even gave it away and reimbursed the 500 pts to the people who had paid for it. A move that is inexplicably un-Nintendo. Still trying to figure out that one.


Posted by 
 on: 02/28/11, 19:22:50  - Edited by 
 on: 02/28/11, 19:23:12
Yeah the more I think about this the worse I feel about it. Opera is a damn good browser. The default browser on my Samsung Android phone was total garbage, it was super slow and couldn't render any of the sites I visit accurately, so I downloaded Opera Mini and wham! works perfectly, it's super fast and super intuitive, works just about like the Wii browser, never gives me any problems.

Something tells me this crappy "Netfront" thing is probably a lot more like the dysfunctional default browsers that come on a lot of phones these days, and not at all like Opera which is a very good product.


Posted by 
 on: 02/28/11, 20:00:18
Pandareus said:
On the contrary, I'd say they pushed the browser on the Wii quite a bit. They even gave it away and reimbursed the 500 pts to the people who had paid for it. A move that is inexplicably un-Nintendo. Still trying to figure out that one.
I hear you. But I still think they haven't taken the browser very seriously. The Internet Channel was a half-baked attempt. They did try a little bit, and there were updates. But soon after Flash support landed, it basically died. If they had kept it updated, it would have been many times faster, and there would be all sorts of cool new stuff in there to play with. But while the Wii is still selling great, the Internet Channel isn't getting any love.

I bet the reimbursement for the Internet Channel came because Nintendo realized that people don't want to pay for a browser, and they weren't going to make any money from it anyway. And since they weren't planning on getting serious about the Internet Channel, they may have felt it necessary to give people their money back so that they couldn't complain when the Internet Channel was basically dead.

So there were some minor attempts at doing something with the Internet Channel, but in the end it was basically ignored, save from the half-baked things they tried out.


Posted by 
 on: 02/28/11, 22:12:25
Well, I've looked at the recent Netfront Life browser for the Android and Opera doesn't have any mobile browser remotely as innovative as that.

Sure, Opera could have provided whatever features Nintendo requested, but that doesn't mean that their implementation would be guaranteed to be satisfactory for Nintendo. Lots of browsers have similar functionality, but it's the execution that sets them apart. Either way, I'm not too concerned. Nintendo was heavily involved in the Wii and DSi's development of their Opera browsers. I would imagine it will be the same with NetFront.

Anyway, in regards to the Internet Channel dropping the price, the company I work for was actually somewhat involved in that process. The decision was most based on consumer feedback.


Posted by 
 on: 03/01/11, 00:37:58
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