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MWC 2010: BlackBerry Finally Demos Webkit-based Browser

Gordon Kelly


Who doesn't like a BlackBerry? Admittedly, they may never have the swank of an iPhone or the panache of Android, but for business you just can't beat them. So it's good to see they may finally be about to sort their web browsing out...

At Mobile World Congress RIM gave us a look at something long overdue: its ground up rewritten web browser based on Webkit. The move had been expected since the Canadian giant bought developer Torch Mobile back in August last year, but not on this short a timescale.

As you might expect RIM didn't delve into too much detail on the browser, but did say it is already stable and showed it load Amazon's main page flawlessly. Interestingly, the browser also scores a full 100/100 on the web standards Acid 3 test (something Internet Explorer on your PC can only dream of) meaning it should be fully compatible with all the latest web design standards.

What does remain less certain, however, is where RIM stands on Flash support since it didn't touch upon this issue during the announcement and dodged questions about it afterwards. I suspect the company is monitoring the development of Flash 10.1, but is just being cautious about saying too much too early.

A launch timeframe? We'd love to be able to give you one, but RIM isn't talking real world availability just yet. That said, it will be interesting to see if it waits for a full BlackBerry OS update or pushes the browser out to all and sundry ASAP. If it's the latter, that tells you all you need to know about the problems with the current edition...

In related news RIM has also announced it will be giving away a free version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) from March. We're not a business focused site, but this move - which offers free client licences and enables sync with Microsoft Exchange and Windows Small Business Server systems - should be enough to woo most companies teetering on the edge of BlackBerry adoption. Then again, if this news means nothing to you you're our kind of people!


February 20, 2010, 12:50 am

Why wait - install the latest version of Opera Mini 5 Beta - it works a treat!

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