Why the Next BlackBerry Browser Won't Be So Terrible

Illustration for article titled Why the Next BlackBerry Browser Wont Be So Terrible

It's loooong past time for RIM to shitcan BlackBerrys' stock browser. Today, a new patent for server-optimized browsing, combined with their obvious interest in WebKit, means they might be about to do just that.

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The patent comes by way of the WSJ, and claims:

A system for enhancing network-browsing speed by setting a proxy server on a handheld device, comprising: a browser operating on the handheld device arranged to send a request for requesting a message from a first website; the proxy server provided on the handheld device; a wireless network communicably linked to the proxy server; and an intermediary server communicably linked to the wireless network

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This is a server-side compression system, a lot like the ones Opera and Skyfire use to make their mobile browsers so incredibly fast. Those companies have managed to make the rendering good enough that it's nearly indistinguishable from uncompressed content, and I imagine RIM could pull off the same. But you can download Skyfire and Opera Mini for BlackBerry right now, so what's the big deal?

WebKit.

This is the rendering engine that powers the browsers in the iPhone, the Pre, Android and Symbian. It's under Chrome's hood as well as Safari's, and it's a veritable superpower, insofar as an obscure, underlying set of code can be called that. It renders well, and mobile sites are often optimized for it. This is also the engine that RIM is clearly building on from here on out, since they gobbled up company that only makes WebKit browsers, and put out a call for new developers to help work on a "develop a WebKit-based browser for the BlackBerry Platform."

Combined with server-side optimization, a BlackBerry's browser wouldn't just catch up with its competition—it could leapfrog it. BlackBerry software could be exciting, for once! Think about that. [WSJ]

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DISCUSSION

The5thElephant
The5thElephant

I respected RIM for developing and maintaining their market share of smart phones for so long.

That is until I actually used a BlackBerry (2 days ago, for the first time, and I played with it a lot to set it up for my Mom).

They....are....AWFUL. The only reason I can figure that people use them is that their corporate mail doesn't work with Android (my Mom has this problem with Lotus Domino) or they just are so used to BlackBerries that they don't even realize what they are missing.

The list of interface idiocy is so long I can't fit it into a comment and will just make me too angry to type out.

The simple fact that you cannot make it both ring and vibrate simultaneously is a good example of the stupidity inherent in these devices.

All notifications go into one Message list, but SMS goes into another list? Yet the Message notification icon looks like the SMS icon on any other phone!? WTF?

Missed calls are shown as both a call icon and a message icon? What?

Corporate mail can only come through the main Message list and is thus mixed in with ALL of your other email inboxes and messages!? WHAT?

My mouth was hanging wide open the entire time I was so astonished at how bad the experience was. I immediately forgave any issues I had with Android or iPhone OSes.