Since Apple opened the doors of its iTunes App Store to non-Safari web browsers earlier this year there has been a flood of them hitting the market.
Competing browsers must, like Safari, base themselves on the open-source browser engine WebKit, but beyond that, they have sought to set themselves apart in many ways.
A recent entrant to the iTunes AppStoreand offering a distinctive take on just what can be achieved within the relatively small confines of an iPhone screen is , iNetDual.
The application’s two-panel browser enables users to split their screen into two separate windows with links selected in one window automatically opening up in the next. This approach presents a nifty way of scanning, for example, a screen full of Google images in one window whilst taking a closer look at a selected image in the other.
Pinch-zoom controls work independently across each screen and the frame between each screen can easily be dragged to make one screen temporarily larger than the other. Displayed images can also be batch-downloaded.
The iNetDual team believes that the browser will be a boon to language learners or researchers who can read a website in one window whilst viewing definitions of selected words and phrases in the companion view.
To this end, bookmarklets for Dictionary.com, Google, Thesaurus.com and Wikipedia have been integrated into the package.
So it all works but, having two browser windows running side by side can remind you that, despite the great zooming and navigation functionality on offer from the iPhone, it can still get a little crowded in there.
If the speculation that Apple is to introduce a tablet device capable of running Mac and iPhone software turns out to be true, then iNetDual may well find itself a very happy home.
In the mean time, there is also a free version available for iPhone, iNetDual Lite, which sets some limits on batch image downloading.