BlackBerry Demos WebKit-based Browser

While HTC wasn’t busy announcing new clones of the Nexus One, BlackBerry made 20 million BlackBerry owners cry with joy today at the Mobile World Congress conference by showing off their upcoming HTML5-compliant, WebKit-based browser for BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry’s upcoming browser is the result of their 2009 purchase of Torch Mobile, the creators of the Iris WebKit-based browser.

The browser looks to be a fully ACID3 compliant browser which will rocket the BlackBerry platform forward to lineup alongside Android and the iPhone.

We’ll wait and see if, as a late-comer, BlackBerry banks on web-applications for it’s mobile devices a-la the Palm Pre and most of Google’s mobile offerings or continue to push their own proprietary J2ME/BlackBerry native platform as the solution. With WebKit at the helm and HTML5 compliance onboard, BlackBerry certainly has a slew of options moving forward for mobile app dev that weren’t available to them before when they were pushing the native platform solution.

Another interesting tidbit from the demo noted by the crew at The Boy Genius report is the seeming glimpse of Flash running on one of the web pages visited during the live demo, specially at 0:41

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Flash on mobile platforms has been nothing more than a tease for the last year, with occasional success reported on some devices and not others. There hasn’t been a unified “Ok, Flash is everywhere mobile!” yet but the air is heavy with anticipation that it’s right around the corner.

In a recent episode of The Java Posse podcast, Joe Nuxoll mentioned (Episode 295, at about 1hr mark) that Steve Jobs keynote announcing the iPad browsed to 2 or 3 pages that predominately featured Flash, showing big blue “Plugin not found” boxes on the 100 foot screen during the demonstration.

Joe and Dick (during the podcast) postulate that given how much rehearsal and fail-safes go into an Apple keynote, there is no way Jobs did that on accident and likely did it as an embarrassment to whoever on his team or Adobe’s team didn’t get Flash ready in time for the iPad’s announcement.

Makes sense, that’s the way Jobs rolls and given his distain for Flash and Java, there is no way he picked those pages for his keynote on accident not knowing Flash would be up there.

Given that we agree with the Posse’s assessment, we have to imagine Flash on the BlackBerry (Java platform) is very likely given that it’s been announced for Android a year ago (another Java platform).

Flash is coming in a big way, soon, for mobile devices.

In the mean time, congrats to BlackBerry for a solid browser experience upcoming for BlackBerry folk.

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