First impressions of the Deepfish browser for Windows Mobile


We first told you about the new preview of an innovative new browser from Microsoft Labs called Deepfish a couple of weeks ago.  Deepfish uses a browser application and a server side service for presenting whole web pages in their native layout to Windows Mobile devices, even those with very small screens like the Dash that I am using.  I finally snagged a copy from the limited preview and have been using it for a few days and I have to say it really rocks on the Dash.  There is something very cool to see a huge web page like our front page on jkOnTheRun that pops up very quickly on the little Dash screen.  It’s a preview of the page but it quickly becomes intuitive to move the zoom box around to exactly where you want it, push the button on the D-pad, and see the window zoom in almost instantly.  You can scroll around while zoomed or you can zoom back out with one button and move the zoom box around again.  That’s what I like about using Deepfish, you can browse sites easily in a number of ways that fit what you’re trying to do.

I’ve encountered no problems with the program itself although sometimes the server will return an error when I guess the server is busy.  If I wait a few minutes and try again I can get through.  It’s a preview version so there’s not a lot of features built in, you can’t use your existing favorites in Mobile Internet Explorer for example, but the browsing experience is very nice.  I don’t have a good way to capture screens of Deepfish in action but since Josh Bancroft posted a video of it you can see it do its magic in the video.  I can’t wait to see this go gold with a rich feature set, this makes the browsing experience one of the best I’ve seen on the small screened Smartphone like the Dash.  On the latest MobileTechRoundup which should go live soon Matt Miller discusses how similar Deepfish is to the S60 browser on many Nokia phones and I’m really anxious to hear Matt’s thoughts when he gives Deepfish a try.


James Kendrick

I haven’t tried a recent version of Minimo yet but I intend to do so. Where Deepfish shines for me is those websites that I visit frequently like the Houston Chronicle front page that has a ton of content and links to other information. Deepfish loads those pages very quickly even on EDGE and the scrolling of the zoom window is instantaneous and very fluid. I find I am using it all the time, in fact I usually fire it up first over IE which says something.

Dave Beauvais

From what I’ve seen, this would not be something I’d want to use for general browsing. Between Josh’s video and the screenshots I’ve seen, it seems that when the full page is shown it’s all but impossible to read the content of the page, especially on QVGA devices; to read, you have to zoom in and pan around the page. If I wanted to pan around the page to read, I’d leave IE Mobile in “Desktop” layout. When I’m browsing on the go, it’s the content I want, and I don’t care what the page looks like as long as I can read what I came to see as easily and efficiently as possible.

Deepfish looks to be useful for pages which simply don’t reformat well in “traditional” mobile browsers such as IE Mobile, but unless it does text reflowing for ease of reading, I won’t be using this very often.

Frank McPherson

I don’t get it. How do you find scrolling left/right useful? Sure, maybe if you have to occasionally look something up on a web page, but if I want to do serious reading in a web browser I only want to scroll up and down, not left/right and Deepfish doesn’t address that.


What are the pros and cons of deepfish versus minimo???

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