Netscape 6 to Debut April 5

Netscape's parent, America Online, will do the launch honors for the first time. Steve Case, AOL's chair and chief executive officer, will unveil the browser in a keynote address Tuesday morning.

Rooted in Gecko, Netscape's standards-based browser technology, Netscape 6 replaces the current Navigator 4x line that is struggling against Microsoft Internet Explorer.

All in the Engine

Beyond real-time messaging and other Netcenter support, Netscape offers few details about Netscape 6 features. Nor is AOL saying whether this version will replace its browser. But Netscape is chattering about Gecko.

Gecko is the first product from Netscape based on contributions from Mozilla, the organization managing Netscape's open source initiative. The Gecko engine renders graphics and text, and promises faster surfing. Its smaller size means browsers like Netscape 6 will download quickly.

Netscape 6 will be a 5.5MB download, says Eric Krock, senior product manager. Netscape 4 is a 15MB download, and IE 5.5 is a 29.4MB download for the full installation.

Gecko retrieves and lays out content quickly, thanks to support for client-side scripting and data manipulation. It supports Extensible Markup Language and HTML 4, and operates across platforms and devices.

Because Gecko supports Web standards, people can develop Web applications that run on any device that embeds Gecko, such as a handheld unit or Web phone, Krock says.

And AOL plans to use Gecko across its product line, Krock says. AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, and AOL TV will add Gecko support.

Battle Browser Boredom

With few of us losing any sleep over our choice of Web browser, is this second wind from Netscape too little, too late?

Netscape has slid from dominating the browser market in 1996 to a 36 percent share, behind IE, according to a November study by Zona Research.

Microsoft won the browser war, but not because of market share, says Ross Scott Rubin, a Jupiter Communications analyst.

"It won by convincing us the browser is part of the operating system," Rubin says. Applications like Macromedia's Flash, for example, are browser-independent and rely on a device's OS instead.

Although Microsoft's bundling of IE and Windows is challenged in ongoing antitrust litigation, most of us have switched to IE.

Even if it's too late for Netscape 6, Gecko may scamper into places where browsers are just beginning to appear.

"Gecko is free, open source, has a cross-platform architecture, and is embeddable, making it ideal for powering non-PC internet devices," Krock says. "It can bring the same richness of browsing on a desktop to machines that are easier to use."

But you won't see Gecko on your monochrome Palm, Krock adds. It's intended to run on devices that support color, animation, and full browsing functions. You might see Gecko on a Pocket PC.

Intel and Nokia are developing a TV-enhanced browser based on Gecko, and Liberate will add Gecko browsers to its next-generation set-top boxes, Krock says. IBM, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems also support Gecko.

Tom Spring contributed to this report.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cameron Crouch

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?