Star Browser pitches in with a (nearly) full-screen experience

Allstar Software has been around for a while, producing custom views on the Web in various applications, but this is perhaps its magnum opus: Star Browser. With only two months before 'entry' to the Nokia Store closes for good, Allstar does seem to have left things very late in the day, but hey, this is a near full screen browsing experience with some genuinely innovative features. Details below, though note that you'll need a custom firmware (or other install-server-hacked) device to install and try this at the moment.

From the developer:

Star Browser is a colorful yet powerful Qt Quick browser, it comes with:

  • Unlimited Bookmarks
  • Customizable Homepage
  • Share Area
  • Browsing History
  • Detailed Settings
  • Special Search Box with 5 engine options (International Googles available)
  • 100% Fullscreen mode
  • Screenshot ability
  • Night Cover mode
  • Ability to browse the phones file system and to open a local file in the browser, PNG, JPG, HTM, HTML, PHP, TXT, SVG are known to be supported
  • Colour-customisable UI 

The SIS file is up on Daily Mobile but it's unsigned and so can only be installed on custom firmware (or other install-server-hacked) devices at present. This version is also somewhat beta-ish in stability - again, it's a race against time until January 1st if the developer wants to get this properly signed by Nokia and included in the Store for posterity.

I loaded up Star Browser on my Nokia 808 PureView running Delight CFW and gave it a spin:

Star Browser screenshotStar Browser screenshot

On opening Star Browser there's the offer to view 'tips' - say yes and this is the tips gallery....

Star Browser screenshotStar Browser screenshot

A couple of the tips on offer, doubling as an electronic manual....

Star Browser screenshotStar Browser screenshot

Star Browser in action, with a 98% full-screen experience by default, with just the time/menu control visible. Hide this in the settings and the experience is 100%, but then it's not trivial to get the control back! (Right) the graphical menu, popped up. Most are self-explanatory - 'NC' refers to Night Cover and is a low brightness night reading mode.

Star Browser screenshotStar Browser screenshot

Some of the detailed Settings - note the options to not save browsing history and clear cookies (so effectively offering incognito mode), plus the user agent selection (it defaults to mimicking iOS7) and 'Lite Mode' selection.

My impressions of Star Browser were very much of a product in beta - some gestures and button presses weren't fully reliable and page rendering and navigation wasn't as fluid as I'd have liked. The Lite Mode didn't seem to speed things up and the User Agent selection didn't seem to make much difference to the content served up.

But I'm aware that I only scratched the surface of Star Browser. Don't take my comments as absolute negatives - it's great to see new software at this stage in Symbian's life and I'd suggest that anyone else with install-hacked or CFW devices give this a try - and then feedback suggestions and bug reports to the developer. And preferably as soon as possible - we're already near the end of October!

Published by Steve Litchfield at 12:25 UTC, October 24th

Section: Flow
Categories: Apps
Platforms: Symbian^3