RIM’s Blackberry devices have never been known to have killer mobile Web-browsers, and many users have complained about it for a long time. RIM is finally taking steps to rectify the situation with its recent purchase of Torch Mobile, maker of the WebKit-based Iris mobile browser.
RIM has been more or less left in the dust in terms of mobile Web functionality by the likes of the iPhone, the Palm Pre and Android-based devices which all use the open-source WebKit framework to power their mobile browsers.
Smartphones have become very prolific in recent years, and while RIM’s original plan was to become a leader in email-centric devices with an emphasis on security, the ecosystem has changed significantly. The mobile Web, touch-screen interfaces, and mobile applications have the spotlight now, and it’s forcing Blackberry to play catch-up in a major way.
Utilizing a WebKit-based browser is only the beginning, matching the full-Web capable technology with touch-screen interfaces is the next step, and RIM is playing catch-up in that arena as well. What’s more interesting is how RIM will integrate other technologies that Torch Mobile has created, such as its Web Widgets platform.
Torch Mobile encompasses a lot of the same technology found on the iPhone, and it will be interesting to see how its all brought together and utilized.