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low bandwidth browsingFor years, our family has traveled to a remote camp in the wilderness of central Maine in the United States in order to escape for a relaxing weekend of swimming, hiking and lots of great holiday food. However, being an online writer, it isn’t always easy to get away from technology for an extended time. At the very least, it’s important to be able to check email and occasionally submit a quick blog post or two.

While many people set up their mobile phone – such as rooting an Android How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick Read More , for example – to allow for tethering and accessing the cellular data network with a PC, it is a practice that is generally frowned upon by the mobile providers. However, there are times when you’re just desperate for Internet access, and you need the larger screen that your laptop offers.

In previous articles, I’ve described how you can tether your rooted Android phone 3 Cool Things You Can Do With A Rooted Android Phone 3 Cool Things You Can Do With A Rooted Android Phone By now you will know that there are a bunch of us here at MakeUseOf that love Android phones. Paul's article on writing an Android app is a good example of how thoroughly we dig... Read More to your laptop, and Dave described how you can tether a jailbroken iPhone The Top 10 Free Apps for Jailbroken iPhone [Cydia] The Top 10 Free Apps for Jailbroken iPhone [Cydia] Read More in much the same way. My preferred method of tethering is using the awesome Wireless tether app 3 Cool Things You Can Do With A Rooted Android Phone 3 Cool Things You Can Do With A Rooted Android Phone By now you will know that there are a bunch of us here at MakeUseOf that love Android phones. Paul's article on writing an Android app is a good example of how thoroughly we dig... Read More that I mentioned recently.

Installing The Emulator

Once you have that tether enabled, and you’ve got your Wireless data Internet connection activated on your phone, the following guide will help you to conserve bandwidth so that you won’t draw too much attention to yourself while surfing.

The first step is to install a mobile phone emulator – a few options include using the Android developer SDK How To Check Out The Android Mobile OS On Your Computer How To Check Out The Android Mobile OS On Your Computer Read More that has an emulator tool, or you can install the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit from Sun which includes a good emulator as well. The simplest solution is to install the MicroEmulator program to your PC.

low bandwidth browsing

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You will need Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on your system (if you don’t already). When you launch the MicroEmulator, it won’t look like anything at all special at first. It basically looks like a cellphone with a mobile screen. First, make sure you’ve enabled Internet access by clicking on “Options” and then make sure “MIDlet Network Access” is checked.

low bandwidth browser

The beauty of this emulator is that it’ll run most mobile browsers like Bolt Bolt Browser - Yet Another Cross-Platform Mobile Browser with Video Support Bolt Browser - Yet Another Cross-Platform Mobile Browser with Video Support Read More or Opera Mini Optimize Your Mobile Browsing With The Opera Mini Browser Optimize Your Mobile Browsing With The Opera Mini Browser Read More . As far as I know, Opera Mini is just about the easiest to install – all you have to do is download the JAD and JAR files at the Opera download page. Save them somewhere you’ll remember, preferably in the “devices” folder in the MicroEmulator application directory. Then, you can load up the Opera Mini browser inside the emulator by clicking on File and then “Open MIDlet File…

low bandwidth browser

You will see “Opera Mini” appear on the main screen under the list of devices. To launch the mobile browser, just select it and click “Start”. The Opera Mini browser will launch just like you’re running it on your own mobile device – along with the streamlined bandwidth that you’d be using if you were actually using your phone.

low bandwidth browser

While this is pretty cool – it isn’t good enough. The whole point of using your computer or laptop is to take advantage of the large screen, right? Let’s resize the display window to a wider display. In MicroEmulator, you do this by clicking on Options and “Select Device…

low bandwidth internet

Select “Resizable device” and then click on “Add…”  You’ll see a list of devices to choose from. Click the mobile browser you’ve installed, and then type in the size of the window that you would like.

low bandwidth internet

Once you launch Opera Mini again, it’ll now be in a larger window with the size parameters you set.  Make sure to go into the Opera Mini browser settings and enable “Fullscreen” mode and enable “Load images” and set “Image quality” to medium for an optimal browsing experience. Just because you’re browsing over a mobile network with your laptop doesn’t mean you can enjoy it a little!

low bandwidth internet

Now, when you launch any page that has a mobile version, you’ll notice that the site “senses” you’re using a WAP connection and will serve up the mobile version of the page – cutting down your overall bandwidth significantly. Here’s the main page of MUO displayed through this Opera Mini browser running on my laptop.

Clicking on one of the articles, the page loaded in just seconds, used only about 300 KB to fully load the page.

low bandwidth browsing

Loading it in a regular browser consumes over 1.5MB of bandwidth.  You can imagine how the data consumption can pile up over time if you don’t use a mobile browser to take care of your Internet needs while you’re on the road.

I am not encouraging anyone to break the terms and rules of their contract, however there are a lot of people that specifically sign contracts that allow tethering, but usage is on a metered basis. The method described above will allow you the convenience of using the nice widescreen of your laptop, while maintaining a lower data usage that won’t break your bank account.

So, give the MicroEmulator with Opera Mini a try and see if it opens up your world to new, mobile possibilities. Do you find that using a mobile browser is too limiting? Are there other mobile browsers that work well with MicroEmulator? Share your own experiences in the comments section below.

  1. Mnms1983
    October 2, 2011 at 4:53 am

    How to Copy & Past Text ?

    • Ryan Dube
      October 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks for your comment - could you tell me specifically what part of the article you're referring to?

  2. Mnms1983
    October 2, 2011 at 4:53 am

    The Above Mentioned Solutions are Good. But Text Copy Not Working There ?
    How to Activate That ?

  3. Kane_nc
    July 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    There's no internet service available, besides dialup in my local area, so realisticly, my cell phones web/data capability is my only source to the "outside-world". It might be somwhat slow running on my laptop, (approx. 0.75-1.0mbps, depending on weather) but it's at least useable, unlike the 23kbs dialup connection.
    Svc-pk2 for Vista took a little over 20mins with the cell connection transferring between 91kbs-105kbs, compared to dialup, which according to windows update would've taken 3days,12hrs,23min transferring between 12kbs-22kbs.

    • Anonymous
      July 19, 2011 at 3:10 am

      haha....well I guess that's an improvement over dial-up by a long shot. :-)

  4. Sravan
    July 14, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Using on emulator (I used android's) is really slow!

  5. Superpollo666
    July 13, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Why not just simply install the Opera browser and use the turbo function? You will have the same results

    • Brad
      July 14, 2011 at 8:16 am

      I've been using Opera Turbo on my laptop tethered to my phone for ages! Go download now. http://www.opera.com/browser

      You will get better results as you don't have to worry about getting redirected to mobile websites, as you are browsing from a full desktop browser.

      • Anonymous
        July 19, 2011 at 3:09 am

        The results aren't better in terms of faster - but, as I mentioned above, the features/functionality are much more limited in a setup like microemulator. I do like the Opera/Turbo approach. I may start using it more when I'm on the road - glad it was mentioned here.

    • Anonymous
      July 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

      Unfortunately this doesn't cut down on the bandwidth as dramatically as using microemulator (I tested it, as well as using the Android simulator). Microemulator was faster by far - but if you want the features that WAP just doesn't offer, then Opera w/turbo would definitely be the way to go.

  6. Steve the Beachbum
    July 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Wouldn't it be easier to use a plugin like Firefox's wmlbrowser https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/wmlbrowser/

    • Anonymous
      July 19, 2011 at 3:06 am

      Not sure if it would be easier, but it's definitely a good solution. I'll have to test that out, thanks Steve!

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