The world’s most-used mobile browser, Opera Mini lands in App World today. Already boasting 160 million mobile users worldwide, Opera Mini will now be available to BlackBerry users in over 100 countries.
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!
A recent survey by mobile billing service Bango is forecasting increased mobile browsing in the U.S which could bump the UK out of its number one spot. Last month the UK took in 19.35% of global traffic, the US had 18.88%, India 10.82%, South Africa 8.82% and Indonesia 4.08%. AdMob’s recent report corroborates the trend, claiming US ad requests grew 5.8% month over month, while UK traffic saw a -0.5% drop from June. The reason for the uptake?
“The US share of the browsing market has grown as an increasing number of phones come with bigger screens and service contracts that include unlimited internet access,” said Adam Kerr, VP of Bango North America at Bango.
Opera’s monthly report for June took a look at the popular handsets that folks are using with their mobile browser all around the world and BlackBerry got all kinds of gold stars – being one of the top most popular handsets to feature Opera. Commenter mikedoan said:
“…Do the results that you speak of really point to the BB’s popularity as a handset or is it just another indication/reinforcement of the fact that most BB user’s receive a substandard browsing experience (using the native BB Browser).“
That leaves us to wonder about all the other stuff that has been left out of the BlackBerry experience, like, say, HTML e-mail viewing and how much of an opportunity stuff like that presents for BlackBerry developers. Are third-party developers just being clever in finding the gaps they can fill, or is RIM just doing a poor job of loading up BlackBerrys with all the functionality they have? What are your baseline expectations for a smartphone, and is RIM meeting them? How much does RIM depend on developers to pick up where they left off? Give us your take on what the BlackBerry has to offer and where software developers fit and win five device skins from Decalgirl and six months of service from SugarSync.
Zumobi is a really neat new widget application that aims to change the mobile web experience with the use of something they call Tiles. You can pick 16 Tiles from a list of hundreds, some of which are built by business while others are user-designed. The tiles range from showing your favorite blogs, to giving you weather conditions, to branded ones that let you watch or listen to clips from TV shows, to all manner of other things. The interface is very slick — check out the demo — and the software is free to boot. The only downside is that they don’t yet offer BlackBerry compatibility, but they’ll be releasing a public beta of the software at WES.
RIM officials have gone on the record to say that they’re totally satisfied with the battery life of the upcoming BlackBerry 9000. There were earlier reports from testers that you couldn’t get more than two hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi with it, but a RIM spokesperson explains that ” ‘power management protocols’ (the software that helps control what parts of the BlackBerry get powered) are typically disabled on prototype devices in order to simplify the software debugging process”. The latest rumors are suggesting an August release for the new device.