How to detect the BlackBerry Browser

How-to

Hey web developers! We’ve been talking a lot about WebKit, the rendering engine used by the web platform on BlackBerry® 6, and I wanted to provide a few more details for our developer community about working with WebKit. This engine is designed to provide a very high level of support for web standards, greatly improved performance and superior rendering fidelity. What this means is many of the web pages rendered on the BlackBerry® 6 browser can look as good as desktop browsers!

Do you have a web site that provides an optimized version of your mobile web content to specific browsers? If so, I want to make sure you are including BlackBerry 6 in your browser detection logic. Doing so will ensure that these users will be provided with the best possible browsing experience when viewing your mobile web content.

The format of the user agent header changed in BlackBerry 6 to better reflect the type of web content supported by the new browser. Many in-market mobile and desktop browsers, powered by the WebKit rendering engine, format the value of their user agent in a way similar to the following:

Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9800; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.1+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0.0.141 Mobile Safari/534.1+

As shown in this example, the user agent identifies three important pieces of information:

  • The model number of the BlackBerry® smartphone being used to make the web request is 9800.
  • The version of the software installed on the BlackBerry smartphone is 6.0.0.141.
  • The rendering engine used to power the smartphone is WebKit.

If you haven’t done so already, make sure that your web site properly detects the BlackBerry 6 browser. Once that is done, you can begin offering a high-quality browsing experience to those users.

Please see the following resource center article for more information and examples on detecting the BlackBerry Browser.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!

About Adam S.

Adam is a Team Lead on the Developer Relations Team at BlackBerry. He manages technical relationships with ISVs as well as incubating the developing community ecosystem. Adam specializes in producing applications based on web and native technologies.

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