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What is a Cell Phone Browser?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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A cell phone browser, also referred to as a mobile browser or wireless internet browser, is a web browser installed on cell phones to be used to access the Internet. These browsers are designed to be efficient and use very low bandwidth as they are accessing the Internet over wireless cellular networks and displaying it on the small screen of the phone. A cell phone browser typically does not have the full capability of a standard web browser, but this is changing now that smartphones are quite common.

In a standard cell phone, not a smartphone, a cell phone browser is a very pared-down version of a regular web browser. The browser will be able to visit most URLs and display the web pages in a compact size. The browsers can generally display some images, but users might choose to turn this feature off in order to lower bandwidth and speed the process of loading the web page. In addition, if one does not have an unlimited monthly plan for Internet on the mobile phone, allowing each page to load all images can become costly.

This type of cell phone browser typically cannot handle web sites that include JavaScript or CSS. They are typically capable of loading web sites written in HTML or HDML, among other coding languages, but each site may vary. It can be difficult to use this type of very basic mobile web browser to truly browse the Internet; most people simply use these for quickly checking email or checking movie times, for instance.

On smartphones, however, which feature more advanced technology, the browser is often able to display websites just as they appear on a standard web browser, just in a miniaturized form. Smartphones often require users to purchase an unlimited Internet bundle package with their cell phone service, meaning that users can browse the Internet as much as they want without incurring any extra fees. The browser is capable of reading and displaying most new technologies used in web site development, making it easy for users to access and use any web site they desire, such as banking web sites or social networking sites.

Cell phones are typically loaded with a proprietary cell phone browser when purchased, and cannot be changed. Keep in mind that these browsers may also be found on other mobile devices capable of accessing the Internet, such as MP3 players and e-readers. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that more devices will continue to add mobile browsers.

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Discussion Comments
By anon302780 — On Nov 12, 2012

How do I access the browser on a Blackberry? What does it look like?

By sunshined — On Jun 29, 2012

@andee - I waited a long time before I got unlimited access on my cell phone too, and that was one reason I waited so long to get a smartphone. I didn't want to pay the monthly data package that came with it.

Once we got rid of our house phone, I figured I would take that money and apply it towards a smartphone with unlimited internet. I was surprised at how often I use it and would be lost without it now.

I think I do more on my cell phone browser than I do on my laptop anymore. I am not home very often and having the convenience of unlimited internet on my cell phone is worth every penny.

By andee — On Jun 28, 2012

I have limited access to the internet on my cell phone. I never used my cell phone browser very often but wanted to have the option of using it if I needed to.

One day my toddler had my cell phone and I didn't realize it. I don't know what buttons she pushed, but it activated the internet and I ended up with a big cell phone bill that month.

Is there some way I can put a lock on my browser so something like that doesn't happen again? I still don't use the internet on my phone often enough to have unlimited access. I find myself using it more all the time, and will probably end up going that route, but for now I don't want to spend the extra money.

By Mykol — On Jun 28, 2012

When cell phones first began having a browser built in, I wasn't very quick about getting an unlimited plan to use the internet. I preferred to use a bigger screen to see what I was reading.

My fingers are also big and I found it awkward trying to navigate around. The newer touch technology has made all of the difference for me. If I am going to be spending much time online I still prefer my PC, but the new cell phones have come a long way.

When I renewed my last cell phone contract I decided to go with an unlimited internet plan, and now wonder why I ever waited so long to get one. I think it is a combination of the newer style of phones and better browser capabilities that makes the experience much more enjoyable.

By myharley — On Jun 27, 2012

My last few cell phones have all had browser capability, but I haven't really been using it very much until recently. My new phone has a browser that is just like using my computer at home.

I used to get frustrated when I tried to get online on my cell phone because felt like I was so limited in what I could see and do. It was just easier to wait and use the computer when I got home.

With the browser on my new phone, it is much faster and I don't have the limitations I used to have. I love being able to do so much more online and find myself using my browser all of the time now.

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