Bolt Browser Private Beta Goes Public Beta

By Kevin Michaluk on 16 Feb 2009 10:29 am EST
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I know there's been some mixed feelings in the BlackBerry community towards the Bolt Browser since I posted the private beta code and video above a few weeks back. I'm all about speed so have been loving Bolt, and with their recent update a lot of optimizations came into effect which make it more berry-friendly. Today at the Mobile World Congress, Bitstream let everyone know that the Bolt Browser is now out of private beta and available to the public. You can get your copy from BoltBrowser.com. If you're a fan of Bolt, be sure to drop a word or two in the comments!

Press Release

Bitstream Launches Free Public Beta of the BOLT Mobile Browser

BOLT brings unparalleled speed and desktop-style browsing to mobile phones of all types

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As the world's wireless and mobile industries assemble at Mobile World Congress, Bitstream Inc. (Nasdaq: BITS) announced today the public beta of its acclaimed BOLT(TM) mobile browser. Previously available by invitation-only, BOLT is a browser built for speed and completely optimized for mobile phones, providing a desktop-like view of web pages on even the most basic feature phones. Beginning today, people everywhere can download the public beta version of the BOLT mobile browser for free by visiting: http://boltbrowser.com/.

One month ago Bitstream began offering BOLT in a private beta that included more than 30,000 users around the world. From the data collected and comments received over the past month Bitstream made improvements to the user experience and further optimized BOLT by adding device-specific features and making pages load even faster.

BOLT features unrivaled speed - routinely 25 percent faster, and as much as 50 percent faster, than the next fastest competitor in speed tests. BOLT is also both optimized to conserve battery life, and to minimize data transmissions allowing people to browse longer without recharging batteries while consuming less data - all without sacrificing quality.

The BOLT mobile browser lets people view full websites as they would on a personal computer. It does so using a patented magnification technology that smoothly scales both text and images, letting users navigate to specific sections of large web pages and then zoom in to display clear text and images that look crisp on even small mobile phone screens. BOLT supports streaming video from popular websites such as YouTube, vids.myspace.com, video.yahoo.com, blip.tv, dailymotion.com, and metacafe.com.

Built with proprietary compression, navigation and rendering technologies, BOLT enables users to find and read information quickly and easily. BOLT enables users to quickly toggle between a full-page view or a split screen/magnifier zoomed view and offers five different levels of zoom.

Features of this BOLT public beta release include:

  • Fast, secure, desktop-style web browsing on both high-end and low-end handsets
  • Streaming flash video capabilities
  • WebKit rendering engine offers high standards compliance
  • Support for XML, ATOM and RDF formats of RSS feeds
  • Support for JavaScript and AJAX
  • Split screen and full screen modes for easy navigation and viewing
  • Intuitive keystroke shortcuts for easier navigation and content selection
  • 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for secure access to web pages
  • Server filtering to protect users from spyware and other malware
  • Certificate error notification
  • Easily add and select favorites and view browsing history
  • Ability to clear history and cookies

BOLT beta is available for virtually any handset with Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) 2.0 support that can run mobile Java (J2ME) applications, including BlackBerry devices.

The beta release of the BOLT mobile browser is compatible with the majority of the world's 4 billion mobile phones. It offers unrivaled speed and desktop-style web browsing including the ability to stream video. A patented split-screen viewing feature and intuitive keystroke shortcuts make navigating web pages simple. BOLT is built using Bitstream's award winning and patented ThunderHawk mobile browsing technology.

BOLT is built using the WebKit rendering engine to deliver the same web page layout as found on desktop browsers and includes high standards compliance such as AJAX and flash video support. Bitstream's client/server technology, mobile fonts and font rendering technologies speed content delivery enabling mass market deployments, improved readability and allowing BOLT to fit more information into smaller screens. BOLT's underlying ThunderHawk mobile browsing technology supports both J2ME platforms, as well as non-J2ME environments though a C++ SDK.]

Attendees of Mobile World Congress can meet with Bitstream executives at booth 1E31 in Hall 1. Download the public beta of BOLT for free at http://boltbrowser.com.

About BOLT:
The BOLT mobile browser, compatible with the majority of the world's 4 billion mobile phones, offers unrivaled speed and PC-style web browsing including the ability to stream video. A patented split-screen viewing and intuitive keystroke shortcuts makes navigating web pages simple. Download BOLT for free at http://boltbrowser.com - the mobile Internet has never looked this good on your phone.

About Bitstream:
Bitstream Inc. (Nasdaq: BITS) is a software development company focused on bringing unique software products to a wide variety of markets. The company's core software products include award-winning fonts and font rendering software, mobile browsing and variable data publishing and web-to-print software for personalized marketing. For more information about Bitstream please visit www.bitstream.com.

46 comments

skullz

Got rid of it, not for me. Couldnt get alot of sites without freezing up.

SiPimpin

Love this browser. Renders images very well and is very fast.

serpico

I tried to install it but the download failed. Tech support was very good and tried to help. But my brother gave me an iPod Touch and I'm totally hooked on surfing with it. So I gave up on surfing with the Curve unless I don't have wifi.

danicas

Hey i can't install version 0.86 it says Download Fail and in details it says "907 Invalid Jar HTTP Error 406: Not Acceptable"
what should I do to download it??

blacktoothberry

drink two beers and try again

PhxBlue

LOL @ blacktoothberry!

geoffmcmanus

I can see this becoming a great browser. I tired it on my 8300 and it just doesn't work very well. It definitely renders web pages much better than the native browser (4.5.xx), but I can't get it too format the page to fit my screen horizontally. I can not stand having to scroll to the side to see the entire page. Also, I don't think the 8300 has enough processor power for this app. I will be getting a Bold within the week, so I will see how it works then.

The formatting is amazing though. Pulls up the real page pretty darn quick.

1magine

Once more this browser's release indicates, "...Streaming flash video capabilities..." Once more this does not appear to be the case, as least as far as BBs are concerned. Unless something has occurred since the last release, using BOLT on your BB will not allow you to view streaming flash content. This should be made clear, especially to Crackberry readers.

mscooley

Much Much better on the scrolling. Oh and if you are a current user and have issues with installing the upgrade(i.e. Java out of memory message) just reboot, go back into Bolt and let it update you again.

Jayson533

I just d/l bolt to my Blackberry Storm (9530) and it seems to work GREAT!! Its very fast and it seems as if there is no rendering needed as it just flows through the page. Cant wait for an official release :o)

TheOneAndOnly06

I love the concept behind this browser. I had some buggy issues while using it on the storm, though. I will continue to watch this browser very closely, and hope to see it become what we all believe it can become.

chicagoan

I signed up for the Beta the moment it was offered. It hangs up, is slow, and I deleted it Saturday. I love my Storm, but there are enough kinks without Bolt that I don't need another one.

freebirds87

This is way better than the first beta... I really enjoy using this web browser now. I use it for all of the pages that don't have mobile versions. It has already made life a little easier.

tcapote

Downloaded the newest beta on my VZW 8330, cursor movement is still sloooowwww. Like the rendering and speed, just need to fix cursor slowness!

~Tom

ilabelu

i don't think this is any faster than opera mini. it certainly does not scroll smoothly either. it's as though it is scrolling through frames and if you don't scroll just right, you overshoot the link. as much as we complain about the built in browser, this reminds me of the palm blazer browser.

what am i missing?

fstbusa-work

I've been getting this error ever since downloading the first beta.

907 Invalid COD
Http Error 406: Not Acceptable

I can't seem to download any updates since. Anyone else getting this error? I've signed up for new download links probably 30 times from 3 different email addresses and they all give me the same error. I wish they would just provide a desktop jax/cod file so I can install it that way.

swamp_water

You just like it Kevin because it's the only browser to render crackberry.com quickly. :)

wezra

The only thing is that you have to zoom in to read anything. But the scrolling feature seems to work better on this version then the pervious one. And it is very fast.. at least on my Bold.

No streaming video.. I am on CNN right now and am getting the following error: javax.microedition.io.ConnectionNotFoundExcetion

So that is a no go on this Beta version. Would be very cool when they get the streaming up and running.

rbecerra

I love this browser! It loads Crackberry (and many other sites) better than opera mini or the native browser. I was able to download it straight from my storm's browser and it works perfect. I wish it integrated the click feature...but other than that its great.

DanTheMan1970

It keeps failing for me.

jgreg

After 3-4 attempts I was able to get 83 to work and just updated to 86. The worst part is the jerky cursor. Could be better than what we currently have available for the BB. Let's hope it improves.

Doctorpcusa

The bolt is a fast browser but its very difficult to navigate with the Storm. Has anyone had this problem?

mwrightchef

It took a full minute just to hit the reply to this post. Yes it renders twice as fast as BB browser, but it takes ten times to actually be able to click on a link. Has potential, but hard to navigate.

greatcasa

Slow loading and super slow jerky cursor on my Sprint 8830. I erased within 5 mins.

kneeman

I cannot use this until it does. How could they have not made it do this already? I emailed them over and over.

kotor

The reason I downloaded it because it says 'Streaming flash video capabilities' , I believe its not true ?? I have storm 9530

amirnabilkamelsaad

Bolt has a new update as of today. Version 0.86b is on the roll.
This time to update the browser was much easier than anyother time. The browser tells you there is a new update and asks you if you want to update. After accepting it tells you which type to download and voila...it works.
There are a couple of set backs in that version...
1- the scroll ball on my Bold makes it jump pages after scrolling fast, couple of times in sequence...
2- Font is too small even with the XXLarge font.
3- Video playback: the videos have to save a file. After that, the quality is sub par to be honest...
Mini Opera update: you don't need to click the stream button when you open a video file through the BB browser anymore...

I believe that's why it's still in Beta...:D

zerohour

Works much better after the updates. Still does not work for me on MSN but works good for just about everything else. I might keep it installed this time around.

ColdBrew#CB

it looks nice, but had trouble navagaton and selecting things on my storm. I think the storm browser works better, at least i can click things..

jayfivelim

wow this is super fast! Im using it on the bold with atts 3g and its the fastest browser yet and i havent had a problem yet...considering I've been using it for an hr.

tfrankson

I love this Browser it's super fast and loads every site I've visited. I think the speed depends on the phone, when I had the 8120 it was ok but with my new 8900 it's super fast.

HasPotential

Finally got it after many tries (over the past month) with errors. The cursor is not smooth at all on my device. Soft reset didn't help anything. I plan to keep an eye out for future versions and I'll try again. (8330 on Verizon)

blacktoothberry

I like it but still needs a few tweaks.

Sot

I'd love to have an opportunity to try this out, but I'm one of many who can't even install the thing due to an "Invalid JAR file" error. Their support folks, once you get their attention, suggest several different ways to download the file and get the same error, and then pass the problem to engineering...where it ends.

In my casual reading of forum comments, there seems to be a common thread: the failures appear to be happening on the Curve only? Mine's an 8330, but I can't tell if the others are as well...and I wonder if Bitstream is bothering to investigate.

By the way, these Capcha challenges are BS...how can I tell if that's a capital or lower case Z or X? PITA...

Pmanion

I'm having similar problems on my 8330, I got the private beta a month ago version .83? It worked OK, nothing great, page rendering was accurate and much more detailed than opera mini (for images) but the scroll speed was awful (waaay too slow). I was hoping to try the update to see if they had fixed the scroll speed but have been unlucky thus far. Until they fix the scroll speed, work out complications with the 8330 and enable streaming (NOT downloading) of video files, I'll stick to Opera. BTW does anyone know if it is specific to curves or just Verizon 8330's?

MarkY#AC

This browser has promise but needs major work. Tried it on my TMO 8900

- fonts are way too small
- scrolling is getting better but still poor
- I hate that you have to go to an edit window to enter text
- Very poor rendering of pages
- UI navigation needs a ton of work

Potterpie

with every update, I'm continually impressed by the loading speeds, but the I think the laggy cursor is still a little slow. It's gotten a lot better, and I think I might use this instead of Opera for a bit, but it's not perfect yet.
I have a curve 8310

KellyWasHere

I have a BB Bold. I love the way Bolt renders pages. I am having issues when I try to click on something in the middle of the page... it jumps back and forth. Really annoying. Overall though, I'd recommend it. Hopefully they'll work out a couple of bugs with subsequent versions.

rjkolo

I love it so far, it just screams on my Bold with only a few problems here and there! Yes, some sites don't load the first time, re-load them...9 out of 10 times they work...and there are SEVERAL glitches in the software...but it does render pages very fast and much better than Opera or RIM's browser...I can't wait for the final release...hope it is soon!

And for those of you complaining about the text being to small...push that lovely Blackberry button on the left of your trackball and click magnify...that should solve the problem...

impalass96

I love my Bolt Browser! Top speed!!!

tnewton3

I've been rocking the Bolt Browser since beta and on my Bold it does render very quickly and brings up images nicely. I still don't use it more than my native browser but I do like using it to pull up sites that the native doesn't let you log into and what not.

Still some glitches when it comes to steaming video from certain sites. But for the most part I "dip" on this browser.

lovelace35

I love this browser. It has it's quirks but it's still in beta testing. Once finalized it's going to be the best browser out there. And I love that it works on the STORM 9530!!!!!

hbelkin

Loaded ok, but curor movement is impossible! Can't get it to do anything without always overshooting. When I finally do manage to request a "favorite" (like google), it loads a bit very slowly, then just stops. Also can't seem to find any way to interrupt a page load.... major problem though on my BB is cursor movement -- no other app I have is this bad, basically unuseable.

Disclaimer: I've been playing with it for only about 30 minutes. I will, in fairness give it a longer try (in better coverage areas, after a unit reset, etc.... even though the BB default browser workds fine here!)

malman007

Yea its ok but i still use the blackberry browser for certain things but if u need to view a website fast i would go with BOLT

LCdesigner

I downloaded and installed with no problem. It shows in my downloads, but not in applications or even application manager. Should a shortcut be added to applications?

132_and_bush

I really wish I had something nice to say about Bolt. I think I'll wait until it's no longer a worthless app. It's slow, choppy, miserable. I hated it.