It’s sort of a non-news bit of news, but today at Mobile World Congress, Research In Motion announced that its BlackBerry devices will enjoy a WebKit browser sometime this year. Why isn’t that very newsy? Well, if you’ve followed the RIM acquistion of Torch Mobile last year, then you pretty much already knew this. Torch Mobile used to make a WebKit-based browser for Windows Mobile devices, but no longer does. The company resources are devoted to bringing the browser to BlackBerry handsets instead. WebKit is already used as the basis of browsers for Apple’s iPhone (s aapl), Google Android devices (s goog), and Palm’s webOS (s palm) handsets, so RIM plans to bring a similar mobile web experience in-house.
Having used the WebKit browser on all three devices mentioned, my experience is that it generally does offer the best mobile experience to the masses. The lone outlier could be the Mozilla-based browsers on the Nokia N900 — the native microB and the new Firefox for Maemo — but I don’t consider the N900 a “device for the masses.” They’re both exceptional browsers, but the device itself is better suited for true mobile enthusiasts. Other solid alternatives on the market include the various Opera products, SkyFire and other server-side rendering clients. But the browser on a BlackBerry never really got me excited and I don’t see other companies trying to emulate RIM’s browser experience. It’s definitely the other way around as evidenced by this CrackBerry.com first look video of WebKit on a BlackBerry.
Image courtesy of Unwired View
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