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What Is a GPRS Browser?

By D. Grey
Updated May 16, 2024
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A GPRS browser is specialized web browsing software which runs on GPRS compatible devices. GPRS is an abbreviation of General Packet Radio Service, which is a series of communication protocols used in data transmission. While they are becoming faster, GPRS connections, are typically slower than most broadband home Internet connections. For this reason, most GPRS browsers utilize software techniques to reduce the overall amount of data transfer needed to accurately display information.

GPRS browsers are typically found on mobile devices of all major brands. Most 3G or 2G enabled devices can use a GPRS browser. Some older devices, which support earlier versions of GPRS, also may include functional GPRS browsers.

While the bulk of GPRS browsers are provided by device manufacturers, a number of product-independent GPRS browsers are also available. Some of these can be downloaded free of charge, while others must be purchased. The main benefit of these browsers is that they are usually created by dedicated software firms rather than device manufacturers. This independent GPRS browser development allows software creators to focus exclusively on performance, without the multitude of other concerns that device makers often face.

Mobile browsing often has unique problems associated with fetching and displaying web data. As a result of these issues, many of the most popular GPRS browsers utilize technology that makes rendering standard web pages on the mobile device screen easier. Some browsers rely on predictive caching technology to preload data in advance, based on the current browsing session and its most likely outcome. In this way GPRS browser designers are often able to overcome the limitations of current GPRS technology.

Speed improvements in GPRS data connections and GPRS technology have allowed for considerably faster data transfer than their predecessors. 3G speeds often allow GPRS browsers to fetch and render data at rates approaching the lower end of home broadband connection speeds. With this additional speed, GPRS browser designers have been able to improve the look and feel of the Internet on mobile devices. The most advanced devices can deliver web browsing that resembles the home user’s experience.

As GPRS technology improves, more mobile devices are becoming GPRS routers and sharing their GPRS data connection with traditional computers as well as virtually any device requiring an active Internet connection. The GPRS connection, while not ideal in most situations, does provide Internet access. This is particularly useful in remote areas where standard Internet connections are impractical or unavailable. Standalone GPRS routers and modems have also become widespread for this reason. These devices serve no other purpose than establishing a connection with a GPRS network, providing the opportunity for GPRS browsers to be used.

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