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2.5. Alternative Displays

The Web isn't just for personal computers anymore! Web browsers are increasingly making their way into our living rooms, briefcases, and cars, in the form of WebTV, handheld PDA devices, cellular phones, and dashboard devices. These extra-small displays introduce new design concerns.

2.5.2. Hand-held Devices

The increased popularity and usefulness of the Web combined with the growing reliance on hand-held communications devices (such as palm-top computers, PDAs, and cellular telephones) has resulted in web browsers squeezing into the coziest of spaces. Typically, wireless devices are used to view applications designed especially for them (see Chapter 32, "WAP and WML"), not the graphically-rich web sites that we are accustomed to on our computer browsers. Therefore, it is generally not necessary to worry about how your site will fare on a microbrowser.

The typical mobile phone with Internet capabilities has a display area that is between 95 and 120 pixels wide and 50 to 65 pixels high. Newer phones and PDAs may have larger screens (approximately 300 by 100 pixels). A more meaningful measurement than pixel size is the amount of text that can fit on the screen. In general, mobile browsers can display only three to six lines of text at a time with 12 to 20 characters per line.

The majority of mobile devices (particularly in North America) have only black and white LCD displays. However, in Japan, mobile devices with 8-bit color displays are growing in popularity.

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