RIM to step into the battle of the smart phone browsers

25 Aug 2009

Research in Motion, the creator of the groundbreaking BlackBerry device, has acquired Torch Mobile a firm which has made a mobile browser using WebKit, the same code that powers browsers in the Apple iPhone, the Palm Pre and Google Android phones.

Canadian phone maker RIM acquired Torch Mobile, creator of the Iris mobile browser, for an undisclosed sum.

Torch created the Iris mobile browser using open source code WebKit, which has also been used by Apple, Palm and Google to build their mobile browsers.

“Our team of developers will join RIM’s global organisation and will now be focused on utilising our WebKit-based mobile browser expertise to contribute to the ongoing enhancement of the BlackBerry platform,” the company said on its website today.

“Torch Mobile’s team of highly skilled developers has been actively involved in open source development and includes contributors, committers and reviewers of the WebKit project. As part of RIM, these developers will continue to be active participants in the WebKit development community,” Torch said.

Iris Browser’s advanced WebKit-based engine easily renders virtually any site on the web the same as if viewed on a PC.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years