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10/21/2009
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RIM Eyes WebKit Browser

The BlackBerry maker is seeking WebKit developers to create a browser on par with iPhone, Android, and webOS handsets.

Research In Motion is looking to develop a WebKit-based browser for its BlackBerry smartphones, according to a job posting.

The BlackBerry lineup is still widely considered the best platform for mobile messaging and personal information management, but the mobile browsing experience lags behind competitors like the iPhone, Android, and Palm webOS. Each of these rivals use WebKit for their browsers, and RIM appears to be ready to join this trend.

"Utilizing their expert knowledge in C++ programming, the successful candidate will be working in a fast-paced, dynamic development environment to develop a WebKit-based browser for the BlackBerry platform," the job posting said.

RIM also recently acquired Torch Mobile, which is best known for its WebKit-based Iris mobile browser and a Web widget platform. The company also said it will be working with Adobe to get a full version of Flash on its smartphone lineup, which means BlackBerry users should soon have a more robust way to browse the Internet on the go.

The move also shows the growing importance of the browsing experience, as more and more consumers are expected to surf the Web from their handsets. Along with on-deck browsers like Apple's mobile Safari and Microsoft's mobile version of Internet Explorer, there is also a burgeoning market for third-party browsers.

Opera Software leads the third-party market with its Opera Mini and Opera Mobile products, but it is facing stiff competition. Mozilla is trying to replicate the success it had with Firefox by bringing a mobile browser called Fennec to Windows Mobile and Symbian. Startup Skyfire has also created some buzz because the mobile browser enables users to access and interact with sites that use Flash, Ajax, Silverlight, and other rich Web technologies.


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