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> The Ultimate Zaurus Software: Picsel Browser, a little review with a little video ;-)
post May 7 2005, 04:53 AM
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I own a C860 and I wanted to use it as an always be there and ready to use notebook replacement. Which means I always wanted to view PDF, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files without size limitations. Plus I wanted to show large image files and browse the web without limitations.

The Picsel Browser for Zaurus software just does this. Although it is only available in Japan and I did not know too much about it I bought it. As I am extremely impressed by the performance of this little piece of software I decided to write this little review:

What does the Picsel Browser for Zaurus do?
It enables you to view PDF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Text and Image (including WMF) files. It can also show HTML and Flash files and it can be used as a Web-browser. It runs on the C860 clamshell models (and maybe some others, I do not know).

Where does it come from?
It comes from Picsel Technologies and costs around 100 Euro in Japan. It is available in the Sharp Online Shop.
If you are using a language converted Zaurus, the user interface will also be in English after installation. At least in my case.

What does it look like?
It is delivered and dongled to a 256 MB card. This means that it can only be run with this card inserted in your Zaurus.
The user interface is pretty cool. It relies on icons and miniature views. Except in the preferences menu no text is used. This means it is pretty intuitive to use and looks neat.

How does it work?
Apparently the Picsel Browser renders every file type into some kind of vector graphics. So every file type you open is presented to you in a similar way:

Click onto the file's icon and the document will be displayed completely on your screen. By tapping and moving the stylus the document can be moved like a sheet of paper. The developers even implemented some kind of physics engine. This means that you can actually push the "paper" (=document) around until it stops moving due to some virtual friction. Nice! With some different taps you can use the stylus to zoom in and out of the document. When panning and zooming around a document the render process becomes visible in the form of pixelated aeras. These areas become sharp pretty fast so that they don't prevent you from an efficient use.

Web pages are also like all other supported documents, except that you can click onto hyperlinks and form elements. Text input into forms works as well. Linked files which can be shown by the picsel browser are specially marked on document. Unfortunately no popup windows can be launched. But maybe it can be done and I haven't found the way to do it yet.

If Flash animations are embedded into the web page, they will be shown embedded into the page just like graphics. This way web pages on the Zaurus do finally look like web pages on our - less powerful ;-) - grown up computers. Unfortunately and apparently not all Flash animations can be shown. I also was not successful in interacting with animations. So it seems that interactive user elements (e.g. a button) cannot be accessed in flash animations.

Is it useful?
Yes it is very useful. Even the biggest files are rendered flawlessly and most of the times completely. I produce a lot of PDF-documents intended for print out. They include a lot of high resolution bitmaps. The Picsel Browser just zooms into these bitmaps and shows them in all their beauty. The rendering of the documents is so good that it comes close to a sheet of paper. No artefacts and no pixels around. The developers use an extremely good antialising algorithm. Did you ever imagine that you can actually display and read a whole DIN A4 page on a PDA screen? That's finally possible!

What can be improved?
What I would really like to have:

* search function for text
* being able to comment documents with the stylus
* open popup windows in web pages and save files linked in web pages
* view videos
* being able to use my own SD-card
* support for powerpoint animations (these are rendered into the page)
* a 6 GB microdrive (ok, just a joke;-)

Final Words
The Picsel Browser for Zaurus finally uses the power of the Zaurus to its best. It is the first software I have seen which makes it possible to actually read documents on the PDA screen without getting a headache. It's really cool. Its user interface design and performance is unconventional and welcome in todays boring nofun reasonal world. So if you like a cool software for a cool gadget go get it even if it seems to be a bit expensive! ;-)

As seeing is believing I have created some screenshots and a video clip (7,2 MB). It would be nice if I could attach this clip as well. Thanks!

I deleted the attached screenshots and attached a 5x-speed version of my original review video. In case more attachment space becomes available and someone wants to see it, I can also post the realtime speed higher resolution video.

Changed title to something more curious. Note: The video file is in MPEG4. It can be shown on the Zaurus using mplayer/kino.

Removed some spelling errors and tried to introduce some grammar. ;-)
Attached File(s)
Attached File  dr_review_picselbrowserforzaurus_fast.zip ( 1.39MB ) Number of downloads: 723
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Posts in this topic
DRDR   The Ultimate Zaurus Software: Picsel Browser   May 7 2005, 04:53 AM
w14   DRDR, You say you have to use the supplied 256MB ...   May 7 2005, 05:56 AM
DRDR   It only occupies 30 MB or so. The remaining space ...   May 7 2005, 06:26 AM
ArchiMark   So can you only buy it if you are in Japan? Thank...   May 7 2005, 10:39 AM
DRDR   QUOTE(ArchiMark @ May 7 2005, 06:39 PM)So can...   May 7 2005, 11:32 AM
stuey   <Dodgey Question> is there any way to copy P...   May 10 2005, 10:06 AM
kahm   QUOTE(stuey @ May 10 2005, 12:06 PM)<Dodge...   May 10 2005, 10:20 AM
DRDR   The Picsel Browser itself comes as an IPK (see Sha...   May 10 2005, 01:18 PM
d.maddock1   I downloaded the above mentioned ipk and played ar...   May 11 2005, 10:17 AM
DRDR   QUOTE(d.maddock1 @ May 11 2005, 06:17 PM)It w...   May 11 2005, 11:03 AM
d.maddock1   QUOTE(DRDR @ May 11 2005, 02:03 PM)How did it...   May 11 2005, 03:34 PM
kahm   QUOTE(DRDR @ May 11 2005, 01:03 PM)QUOTE(d.ma...   May 11 2005, 03:38 PM
Kedge   @DRDR, I have a little offtopic question. In yo...   May 12 2005, 10:14 PM
DRDR   QUOTE(Kedge @ May 13 2005, 06:14 AM)I have a ...   May 13 2005, 07:08 AM
Kedge   QUOTE(DRDR @ May 13 2005, 04:08 PM)I also use...   May 16 2005, 09:19 PM
daemon1   QUOTE(d.maddock1 @ May 11 2005, 10:17 AM)I do...   May 13 2005, 08:44 PM
stuey   I've asked Conics.. "we can order the Pi...   May 11 2005, 10:39 PM
Howard Roark   So does this mean you can move it off the SD card ...   May 16 2005, 06:19 AM
DRDR   no, this does not work   May 16 2005, 07:38 AM
ashikase   I just received my copy of Picsel, and I have to a...   May 18 2005, 09:28 PM
DRDR   QUOTE(ashikase @ May 19 2005, 05:28 AM)I just...   May 19 2005, 01:15 AM
ashikase   QUOTE(DRDR @ May 19 2005, 06:15 PM)As you are...   May 19 2005, 03:28 AM
samxiao   I'm current a co-op student working in iSeeMed...   May 19 2005, 05:40 AM
ashikase   Has anyone tried running Picsel Browser on a C3100...   Jul 3 2005, 05:49 AM
ashikase   Picsel Browser has been updated to v1.1.2, which s...   Oct 11 2005, 11:10 PM
bam   hmmm hex editor...I seem to remember these....   Oct 11 2005, 11:46 PM
bam   actually you probably could do a drive copy of sor...   Oct 11 2005, 11:49 PM
blinkblob   Will it read multi page .tif files? Often the form...   Oct 12 2005, 05:24 PM
speculatrix   I've been talking to someone else about how pi...   Jan 22 2007, 01:37 AM
speculatrix   I am stumbling towards the solution for unmarrying...   Jan 23 2007, 09:38 AM
HoloVector   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jan 23 2007, 11:38 AM)I a...   Jan 23 2007, 09:54 AM
Antikx   QUOTE(HoloVector @ Jan 23 2007, 11:54 AM)I ev...   Jan 25 2007, 10:10 AM
HoloVector   QUOTE(Antikx @ Jan 25 2007, 12:10 PM)QUOTE(Ho...   Jan 25 2007, 10:54 AM
speculatrix   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jan 23 2007, 06:38 PM)I a...   Jan 25 2007, 08:56 AM
HoloVector   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jan 25 2007, 10:56 AM)QUO...   Jan 25 2007, 10:51 AM
speculatrix   Some interesting developments. Two people both wi...   Jan 26 2007, 05:35 AM
HoloVector   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jan 26 2007, 07:35 AM)Som...   Jan 26 2007, 07:39 AM
speculatrix   QUOTE(HoloVector @ Jan 26 2007, 04:39 PM)That...   Jan 26 2007, 08:57 AM
HoloVector   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jan 26 2007, 10:57 AM)Wel...   Jan 26 2007, 10:44 AM

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