Developing The NEW BlackBerry Browser


Over the past year, the team responsible for the new BlackBerry® Browser in BlackBerry 6 has been challenged with identifying what makes a great mobile web browsing experience, and then building it. In addition to the new experts that have come on board through the acquisition of Torch Mobile, many of Research In Motion’s (RIM) brightest engineers have collaborated to set a new course for the BlackBerry Browser. As the senior product manager responsible for BlackBerry Browser development, I can personally attest that we’re extremely excited to see how customers will respond to this new direction when they fire up BlackBerry 6 for the first time.

At the core of the new BlackBerry Browser is the WebKit rendering engine. WebKit is a high quality open source rendering engine, which is used in many desktop and mobile web browsers. Our Browser development team not only has the WebKit expertise of Torch Mobile (a leading contributor in the WebKit community), but also years of RIM mobile expertise to help ensure that the WebKit engine is optimized for mobile. What does this mean? Click the link below and I’ll show you!

Rendering Speed and Web Standards Support

Our development team made it a priority to ensure that new BlackBerry Browser supports web standards both now and going forward. Below are few examples of where we stand today with some important web standards — including HTML5, an emerging web standard and a key focus in future versions of the BlackBerry Browser.

  • Our Acid 3 test score: Perfect (100 of 100)
  • Our CSS3 Selectors test score: Perfect (574 of 574)
  • Our HTML5 test score: 208 of 300 – note that total compliance is not yet possible

The combination of the WebKit engine, web standards support, and our efforts to optimize for the mobile environment means that the new BlackBerry Browser is designed to provide a significant improvement to HTML rendering speed, and JavaScript® execution. Combined, these two performance improvements will drive the most obvious and customer-facing metric of all performance metrics – page load performance!

New UI and Features

Encapsulating the core rendering engine is an all-new user interface. The BlackBerry Browser UI in BlackBerry 6 has been designed to help users get to their desired content quickly, with minimal latency and required steps. New features we’ve added to the BlackBerry Browser include: a redesigned start page, unified URL and search entry box, tabbed browsing, pinch to zoom, and automatic content adjustment. Check out my post on Inside BlackBerry for a thorough overview of these new features.

While many things have changed in the BlackBerry Browser, one key element has stayed the same: The BlackBerry platform optimizes, but does not compromise the web content and application experience. We are the only platform that uses WebKit while also reducing the data consumed to render most sites significantly. BlackBerry 6 is designed to allow users to access desktop and premium mobile web content while using significantly less data, making it easier for them to stay within the confines of their service plans. This is also great news for developers, because the BlackBerry platform will not compromise your web content while reducing data consumption for consumers. It’s a win-win!

We have a lot of great BlackBerry Developer’s Blog posts in the coming weeks discussing WebKit and HTML5 in more detail. BlackBerry developers, please leave us a comment and let us know what you’re looking forward to the most in the new BlackBerry 6 platform!

About Michael W.

Mike recently joined RIM after spending the last eight years working at the carrier and mobile startup levels of the wireless industry. Already a longtime and enthusiastic member of the BlackBerry® Community, Mike is now a member of the very ambitious and never satisfied handheld software product team.

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  • BlackBerry 6 NEW Browser « mobiENT

    […] More on BlackBerry Developer’s Blog post. […]

  • Matt

    Will you be bringing the Webkit browser to OS 5 users?

  • BlackBerry 6.0 Internet browser demoed on video

    […] The folks at BlackBerry Developer’s Blog have posted a video demo of the new WebKit-based browser that is one of the highlights of the new BlackBerry OS 6. The browser does most things like pinch-to-zoom (multi-touch), tabbed browsing and automatically adjusts content of a web page to suit the device’s display. Watch this YouTube video of the new browser running on a non-touch Bold 9700. It reminds us of the Symbian S60 browser but it certainly is far better than what current BlackBerry users are using. SOURCE: BlackBerry Developer’s Blog […]

  • Peterlum_p

    I like to know if new browser will be available on Storm1.

  • Eric at Ebscer


  • RIM Provides More Details On BlackBerry 6 WebKit Browser | - Mobile Edition

    […] play with RIM’s WebKit browser on a Torch yesterday but RIM created a nice write up on both their developer and consumer blogs. They even covered one of the features that I could not manage to photograph […]

  • Richku4u

    Actually, the OS6 looks not bad. As I am looking for a new smartphone, I was very much looking forward to yesterday's announcement of the 98000 Torch and OS6. Now, I'm in a quandry because the hardware was a little disappointing from where it could have gone. My main issues are: the specs read almost like the specs for existing Bold or Storm and they should have been more like a 3.7-4.0 inch screen, double the resolution like Retine on iPhone4 and Super Amoled in Galaxy S, faster processor (e.g., Snapdragon), a better video capability (the current video could be front facing so as to use Skype), no front facing to be able to use Skype, a horizontal keyboard capability in addition to vertical, and Gorilla Glass for protection. Unfortunately, without some or all of those features, the Torch will not offer much competition for the iPhone4, GalaxyS/Captivate, HTC EVO or Droid X or even Dell Streak. If such a model were forthcoming with the opportunity to get a credit to upgrade if I purchased a Torch, then I would do so. Otherwise, I may have to go with either iPhone4 or Captivate on the AT&T network, which is a shame because I like the texting capabilities of the BB.

  • Mrs Koumarianos

    When will OS 6 be out for 9650?

  • Dkucera

    When will Flash be included?

  • Matthew Miller

    This looks outstanding. I know you guys have worked very hard on this, and it's absolutely impressive. I was really disappointed to have to switch away from BlackBerry earlier this year. I really hope you guys can extend this type of innovation to the other parts of the BlackBerry (App World, core PDA functions, and architecture) and regain your spot as king of the smartphone world.

  • RIM Releases BlackBerry 6 Developer Tools | eWEEK Europe UK

    […] Browser is the WebKit rendering engine,” said a RIM staffer identified as Michael on the BlackBerry Developer’s Blog. “WebKit is a high-quality open source rendering engine, which is used in many desktop and […]

  • Kitty

    I hope so

  • yay for blackberry!

    interesting and i agree but i dont particularly think a physical keyboard in a horizontal position would be of the blackberry way. sure this is already leaning away from the traditional form factor

  • Sandra Figueroa

    Will this be available for the Blackberry Bold 9000?

  • Richku4u

    Yay–this solution (Torch) would have been great last year, but wit iP4, Galaxy S (Capivate), Droid X, HTC EVO, etc., it does not compete as favorably while the same price as the first 2. On the horizontal keyboard, it's only a mecahnca fix, i.e., allow the screen to rotate 90 degrees, keep the keybard and/or add a forward facing video to allow Skype. Also, on the touch keyboard, I would also add Swype. What is telling,if you go to the BB sit and compare the Torch, Storm and Bold, the specs are almost the same–RIM should have leaned forward more to create a robust alternative to iP4 and Captivate, etc.

  • Jeremy

    I am most looking forward to the javascript support. (And fewer exclamation marks in these blog posts.)

  • links for 2010-08-09 | Boskabout

    […] Developing The NEW BlackBerry Browser | BlackBerry Developer's Blog Based on WebKit. Included in OS6 (which will be on the new BlackBerry Torch). (tags: blackberry mobile browser webkit html5) […]

  • Jarome

    most intelligent response I've seen in all the post in all websites.

    abou the keyboard going 90 degrees and specs, etc

  • tony

    I just bought the storm 2 in hopes rimm would give this phone an upgrade to its opp system very disapointed.

  • Ajacoid

    No BB6 on Storm2 -> BB = Buh-Bye. Just got the Storm 2 before the announcement it won't get the upgrade. My next phone will be a Droid, but NEVER again a BB. To have gotten shafted like this is the surest way to drive away customers. On top of that, to have the Torch only on AT&T is beyond stupid, since AT&T is like the Yugo of cell carriers. RIM is doomed if they keep making decisions like this.

  • Bsnyder

    When will Skype Mobile be available on the Torch?

    Love the phone, but I travel a lot in Europe and would love to have this feature?

    • Blackberryman


  • Vasanthi

    I request the guidance from this page please.Why does the following pages look good in one BB and not in some BB. We are developing the WAP site now

  • KyMasters

    Will This Be Available For 9700?

  • Bazil

    when can south africa expect the os 6 update for the bold 9700 on vodacom ?

  • Blateny

    Guys I can’t tell you how sorry I am because I am paying 100 dollars for 1 year to get a torch it’s useless phone plus services, our local telecom companies here in Kuwait are laying on us before buy the phone & service by telling us it’s free internet then I surprised when I found that I have to pay for video streaming for 1 MB video (like youtube) 3.8 dollars (silly)… plus for torch BB I am not be able to use skype !!!!!! sh…t
    what the hell, how BB company call it SMartphone it’s stupidfone .. really if someone from BB are reading my message I’ll be appropriated if he can take it & cancel the contract with penalty

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