New BOLT BlackBerry Browser private beta, we have invites!! (updated)

91 Comments

UPDATE 2: I’ve added some quick initial impressions of the BOLT Browser after the jump. If there’s something you’d like to know about, post a comment!

UPDATE: Because of the huge traffic influx, we’ve heard that some of you are still waiting for your download link from Bitstream. To tide you over, we have a gallery of BOLT screenshots for you after the jump. Hold on tight!

One aspect of the BlackBerry experience that underwhelms, despite serious improvements recently with the Storm and the Bold, is the BlackBerry Browser. Browsing the web on your BlackBerry is packed with glitches and speed issues, making your BB a second-class citizen compared to the iPhone’s Safari browser.

Bitstream has just launched a private beta of a new J2ME browser called BOLT, which they claim is much faster than Opera Mini and utilizes less resources (thus saving on battery life). We’ve just installed it ourselves, so stay tuned for impressions, but if you’d like to be one of the first people in the world to try the new BOLT browser, head on over to the download page and use the following referral code: berrycool. Post a comment and let us know what you think!

Download BOLT BlackBerry Browser

Quick BOLT BlackBerry Browser Impressions:

    Boy is it fast! Loads pages much quicker (and more completely) than the BlackBerry Browser. Here’s what Bitstream had to say about BOLT’s speed:

    Bitstream measured download speeds of 13 popular websites including Amazon.com, CNN.com, ESPN.com and nytimes.com. The second fastest browser averaged download speeds in excess of 18 seconds across all pages. On the same phones, using the same networks, BOLT’s average download speed was under 13 seconds, a full 5.5 seconds faster.

    –While BOLT renders web pages very well, it is missing a few things. Semantic tags (bold, italic) aren’t there and I haven’t gotten a form submission (like posting a comment) to work yet. Still, the images look good, even on medium quality and everything is where it should be.
    BOLT doesn’t really seem to be made for the BlackBerry Storm. Navigation and magnification is menu based, and it’s very difficult to select links or change menu options. Also, you don’t actually have to click down on the screen to confirm a command, which has led to a few goof ups.
    –BOLT comes with a built in RSS reader, which automatically detects feeds on whatever site you’re browsing. Very cool!
    Like Opera Mini, data is passed through a proxy for rendering and compression before being passed to the handset, speeding things up and saving battery life. Pages are compressed at a rate of 23:1.
    –When viewing videos on YouTube, you actually have to tell BOLT to launch the video in the BlackBerry Media Player, which is weird. Also, videos around 4 minutes or higher won’t load, as they are considered too large.
    –Bolt makes it really easy to input URLs and write in text fields. It basically takes you to away to a screen similar to email composition, making it easier to not screw up. Simple, but appreciated.
    –Viewing images on ‘medium’ quality seemed like the right balance between speed and eye candy. If you’re not running EV-DO like me, you might have to choose ‘low’ quality images, but you won’t like it.
    –BOLT has a ‘split screen browsing‘ option, where – 2/3 of the screen shows the full page, serving as a mini-map with a highlighting box, while the other 1/3 shows the magnified area. I could see it really helping non-Storm/Bold BlackBerrys, but I didn’t need it.

  • Demon Lives

    I’m not sure I like this better than Opera Mini (Blackberry Storm 9530) Opera mini is prettier, and opera’s fonts seem to render smoother (the fonts on bolt remind me of bitmap fonts, ugly and outdated). It drives me nuts that I can’t zoom in by tapping twice, but that may be just something I’m used to on the the BB Browser and Opera (I imagine every touch screen phone has this ability with their browsers?). Regardless the zoom should be something you can do without going through menus. Pages render as fast as Opera, and from what I’ve checked they render correctly, but I don’t recall ever having that problem with Opera either. The lack of click support for the storm is a headache, but I understand that the Storm is unique in that regard. Going forward, back, and other navigation is a PAIN TO ACCESS in the menus. The “clear” or “back” button available on every phone should be implemented as a back button for the browser. I don’t mind going through the menu to go to a completely new website. Also, the menu items are TINY. I know that this browser is supposed to be for all phones, including non-smart phones, but trying to touch a microscopic menu item on my storm touch screen (and having to get it right the first time because no click support) with my big fingers is near impossible. Maybe the text could scale to fit the resolution of the screen?
    Kinetic scrolling is nice, although a little choppy, but otherwise very well done. It’s nice to be able to do RSS feeds, and favorites and history work as expected. I’ll stick to Opera mini for now, but I think I’ll keep an eye on this one.

  • http://wapreview.com/ Dennis Bournique

    After 12 hours still no download link for either of my phones. I guess the Beta is full.

  • http://wapreview.com Dennis Bournique

    After 12 hours still no download link for either of my phones. I guess the Beta is full.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ BlackBerry Cool

    Gents,

    Apparently BBCool brought in 2000 requests, which were all met. Wow!

    If you didn’t get a copy, I’ve been told that you can re-request an invite using the ‘berrycool’ invite code, and you should receive an email much quicker, as they’ve switched to an automated process.

    Go now! And thanks for being so excited in trying out new software for your BlackBerry.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com BlackBerry Cool

    Gents,

    Apparently BBCool brought in 2000 requests, which were all met. Wow!

    If you didn’t get a copy, I’ve been told that you can re-request an invite using the ‘berrycool’ invite code, and you should receive an email much quicker, as they’ve switched to an automated process.

    Go now! And thanks for being so excited in trying out new software for your BlackBerry.

  • CBoogie

    What about Flash support?

  • CBoogie

    What about Flash support?

  • http://boltbrowser.com/ John Sidline

    This is John Sidline of the Bitstream PR team. I want to first thank the readers of BlackBerry Cool for their enthusiastic response to the BOLT browser. But I also need to let readers know the status of the private beta program now underway. We completely underestimated the response we’d get to the beta. Initially we had a manual process in place to distrubte download links. But we were quickly overwhelmed by requests for BOLT so we switched to an automated process at about 9:00 AM Eastern today. Sometime after noon Eastern today, the server handling the downloads “blew up.” We are now in the process of switching over to a dedicated server we’re confident can handle the demand. We appreciate everyone’s patience. We expect the new server to be online by 4:00 PM Eastern today. Also, to those who have already downloaded BOLT, a big thank you. From feedback we’ve received just since yesterday we’ve already made improvements to BOLT, and our beta is only about 24 hours old.

  • http://boltbrowser.com John Sidline

    This is John Sidline of the Bitstream PR team. I want to first thank the readers of BlackBerry Cool for their enthusiastic response to the BOLT browser. But I also need to let readers know the status of the private beta program now underway. We completely underestimated the response we’d get to the beta. Initially we had a manual process in place to distrubte download links. But we were quickly overwhelmed by requests for BOLT so we switched to an automated process at about 9:00 AM Eastern today. Sometime after noon Eastern today, the server handling the downloads “blew up.” We are now in the process of switching over to a dedicated server we’re confident can handle the demand. We appreciate everyone’s patience. We expect the new server to be online by 4:00 PM Eastern today. Also, to those who have already downloaded BOLT, a big thank you. From feedback we’ve received just since yesterday we’ve already made improvements to BOLT, and our beta is only about 24 hours old.

  • greg

    POS says Forbiden or not allowed.

  • greg

    POS says Forbiden or not allowed.

  • http://BOLT greg

    POS says Forbiden or not allowed.

  • hutch

    Flash, flash, flash… we need flash support. I am a huge fan of my blackberry storm… a yummie piece of hardware with lots of potential (c’mon firmware baby) but flash support is so needed. My work phone is a Windows Mobile 6.1 which BB Storm blows away in so many regards, EXCEPT that the 6.1 has skyfire browser installed on it, which is by far the best I have tried. It seems like everything works on it and I can view VIMEO movies on it with no problem. If I could only do that on my gorgeous storm screen. Please Bolt… give us flash support!

  • hutch

    Flash, flash, flash… we need flash support. I am a huge fan of my blackberry storm… a yummie piece of hardware with lots of potential (c’mon firmware baby) but flash support is so needed. My work phone is a Windows Mobile 6.1 which BB Storm blows away in so many regards, EXCEPT that the 6.1 has skyfire browser installed on it, which is by far the best I have tried. It seems like everything works on it and I can view VIMEO movies on it with no problem. If I could only do that on my gorgeous storm screen. Please Bolt… give us flash support!

  • J Mo

    Wow…..This thing is fast!

  • J Mo

    Wow…..This thing is fast!

  • GP

    Bolt is a big leap forward from the BlackBerry Browser! I can set my fantasy lineups b/c I didn’t get transferred to the not-so-great ESPN mobile site. The ability to play YouTube embedded videos is AWESOME. There are a few details that I did not like and I was sure to tell the Bolt Beta Team through the link they provided in the download email. I set the browser quality to high; the pages look great, the pictures are SHARP and speed was not a sacrifice. (BlackBerry Bold on 3G) BOLT baby!

  • GP

    Bolt is a big leap forward from the BlackBerry Browser! I can set my fantasy lineups b/c I didn’t get transferred to the not-so-great ESPN mobile site. The ability to play YouTube embedded videos is AWESOME. There are a few details that I did not like and I was sure to tell the Bolt Beta Team through the link they provided in the download email. I set the browser quality to high; the pages look great, the pictures are SHARP and speed was not a sacrifice. (BlackBerry Bold on 3G) BOLT baby!

  • clyde

    It is VERY jerky andpainfjully slow o ving the screen with the trackball p

  • clyde

    It is VERY jerky andpainfjully slow o ving the screen with the trackball p

  • http://boltbrowser.com/ BOLT Support

    Thank you for your comment. BOLT supports flash movies (flv) support on some sites, including:

    http://www.youtube.com
    http://www.video.yahoo.com
    http://www.blip.tv
    http://www.dailymotion.com
    and http://www.metacafe.com

    Thanks,
    BOLT Beta Support Team at Bitstream
    support@boltbrowser.com

  • http://boltbrowser.com BOLT Support

    Thank you for your comment. BOLT supports flash movies (flv) support on some sites, including:

    http://www.youtube.com
    http://www.video.yahoo.com
    http://www.blip.tv
    http://www.dailymotion.com
    and http://www.metacafe.com

    Thanks,
    BOLT Beta Support Team at Bitstream
    support@boltbrowser.com

  • http://boltbrowser.com/ BOLT Support

    Scrolling speed and control (especially on the trackball) is an issue that is dependent upon the device.  As this is an area that we would like improve on in our next releases, please let us know if you are having any scrolling issues and which Blackberry device you are using.  Also, if you were lucky enough to be part of the first wave of adopters, you may see some improvement in scrolling if you download a new release at http://www.boltbrowser.com/download.html.  We did make some improvements based on initial comments received during the first day of launch.  We also have faster scrolling using 2 -up, 8-down, 4 -left and 6-right as these keys are not device dependent.
    Thanks,
    BOLT Beta Support Team at Bitstream
    support@boltbrowser.com

  • http://boltbrowser.com BOLT Support

    Scrolling speed and control (especially on the trackball) is an issue that is dependent upon the device.  As this is an area that we would like improve on in our next releases, please let us know if you are having any scrolling issues and which Blackberry device you are using.  Also, if you were lucky enough to be part of the first wave of adopters, you may see some improvement in scrolling if you download a new release at http://www.boltbrowser.com/download.html.  We did make some improvements based on initial comments received during the first day of launch.  We also have faster scrolling using 2 -up, 8-down, 4 -left and 6-right as these keys are not device dependent.
    Thanks,
    BOLT Beta Support Team at Bitstream
    support@boltbrowser.com

  • F. Rosas

    Very fast.fasrter than mino opera.Ihave been using it for a week and I love it, very cool.

  • F. Rosas

    Very fast.fasrter than mino opera.Ihave been using it for a week and I love it, very cool.

  • Ron Jace

    Hi can I please get an invite?
    my email is ron.jace@yahoo.com

  • Ron Jace

    Hi can I please get an invite?
    my email is ron.jace@yahoo.com

  • Gord Sorli

    Can I get an invite?

    Thanks

    Gord

  • Gord Sorli

    Can I get an invite?

    Thanks

    Gord

  • http://rusvory.ru/ Winter

    ????? ???! ? ????? ? ??? ??? ????????? :)

  • http://rusvory.ru Winter

    ????? ???! ? ????? ? ??? ??? ????????? :)

  • carlkaelin

    can you use opera along with the bolt. I have a bb 8330

  • carlkaelin

    can you use opera along with the bolt. I have a bb 8330

  • E. Rypins

    Tried to use on Storn and gave up after 10 min of frustration

  • E. Rypins

    Tried to use on Storn and gave up after 10 min of frustration

  • http://boltbrowser.com/ John Sidline

    E. Rypins — What is the nature of your frustration? Since we have many Storm users who tell us they love BOLT on the Storm, we want to help you get to that same level of satisfaction. Either post here or write to support@boltbrowser.com.

  • http://boltbrowser.com John Sidline

    E. Rypins — What is the nature of your frustration? Since we have many Storm users who tell us they love BOLT on the Storm, we want to help you get to that same level of satisfaction. Either post here or write to support@boltbrowser.com.

  • http://www.atlantica-power-leveling.com/ atlantica power leveling

    To tide you over, we have a gallery of BOLT screenshots for you after the jump. The new MMORPG of atlantica power leveling is hot now, we are providing the cheap atlantica power leveling service for you.

  • http://www.atlantica-power-leveling.com atlantica power leveling

    To tide you over, we have a gallery of BOLT screenshots for you after the jump. The new MMORPG of atlantica power leveling is hot now, we are providing the cheap atlantica power leveling service for you.

  • Khannanits42

    hey please can i get an invite to bolt….. 
    at   “khannanits42@gmail.com”…