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Detecting Internet Explorer Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Aug-2006 11:13

You have a nice Windows Mobile device, supporting 3G, HSDPA, CDMA EVDO, Wi-Fi, VGA resolution - but your bank's website say you can't access it because your browser is too old. Or your preferred airlines won't show you the fligh schedules because your browser is not up-to-date.

Even though the moderm mobile browsers do a lot, you can find this kind of problem. And it's not a problem on your ultra-geeky mobile device, but most of the times developers don't take this in consideration.

The Microsoft Windows Mobile is changing the way Internet Explorer Mobile reports the User-Agent string. This change will be effective from an upcoming Windows Mobile version, which should come after the current Windows Mobile 5.

The changes are:

For Windows Mobile 5.0, our "current" release, the User-Agent header that the browser sends across is one of the following two strings:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows CE; PPC; 240x320)
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows CE; Smartphone; 176x220)

Some of the really broken sites we've seen were looking for the resolution information, and using that to deliver a mobile page.  That's wrong, because that information may be absent on some devices from the User-Agent string (more about that in a minute...)


Others were using one of many badly written samples out there on the net, finding only, "MSIE 4.01," then kicking the browser out of the site, because they wanted IE 5.5 or IE 6.0 only.

Moving forward, here's the new IE Mobile User-Agent string:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile m.n)

If you want to detect the new browsers coming out, just look for the string "IEMobile" as part of the User-Agent header.  Since the capabilities of the Pocket PC and Smartphone versions of the browser are identical, and they're built from the identical code base, there's no reason to differentiate them any more. 

Additional headers we send are:

UA-pixels: {i.e. 240x320}
UA-color: {mono2 | mono4 | color8 | color16 | color24 | color32}
UA-OS: {Windows CE (POCKET PC) - Version 3.0}
UA-CPU = {i.e. ARM SA1110}
UA-Voice = {TRUE | FALSE}



More information on IEMobile Team Weblog. You can refer your bank's IT department to that page...








Other related posts:
Windows Phone and Android apps screen comparison
Windows Phone 8 Portico update: at last here in New Zealand
Windows Phone updates, again






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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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