Bolt Browser Updated, Many Great Changes!

By Bla1ze on 1 Apr 2009 01:26 pm EDT
Bolt Browser Updated!

Bitstream, the makers of the awesome browser Bolt are at CTA this week and they brought along with them a nicely refreshed version Bolt. This is what I would consider a major update for the application, lots of feedback was generated from previous beta builds and Bitstream has taken all of that under consideration and has come up with a massive list of improvements especially when it comes to usage on the BlackBerry Storm. You can grab the update from the public beta link at full press release and noted changes after the jump.

Cambridge, Massachusetts & Las Vegas, Nevada – April 1, 2009 – With well over 300,000 users from around the world participating in a public beta that began in February, Bitstream Inc. (NASDAQ: BITS) today announced that BOLT, the company’s web browser for mobile phones of all types, will get a significant upgrade today.

BOLT’s new features include:

  • Significantly improved BlackBerry scrolling speed and control
  • A new 3XL (extra large) magnification mode with content 33.3 percent bigger than in 2XL
  • Double tap approach to select links on touchscreen devices like the BlackBerry storm (eliminates inadvertent clicks)
  • Wi-Fi auto-selection as default option when Wi-Fi is both enabled and available
  • Save and view pages locally on the phone
  • Support for folders in favorites
  • A new landscape viewing feature
  • Improved magnifier dragging in split screen mode on the BlackBerry Storm

BOLT Beta2 also includes many enhancements based on feedback from beta users, including:

  • Improved video quality on mpeg4 capable devices
  • Improved scrolling speed on image-rich pages
  • A user preferences page to reduce menu clutter, especially useful on BlackBerry smartphones where the native menu structure, without sub-menus, is utilized

Optimized to conserve battery life and data transmissions, BOLT features unrivaled speed – consistently 25 to 50 percent faster than competitors.  The WebKit based BOLT browser offers ultra-fast viewing of streaming and flash video, high standards compliance, rich media and graphics enabling people to view websites just as they do on a PC.
Built with proprietary compression, navigation and rendering technologies, BOLT enables users to find and read information quickly and easily. Once users have navigated to the specific section of the large web page they are viewing, they can then zoom in to display clear text and images that look crisp on even small mobile phone screens.

BOLT’s feature set includes:

  • Fast, secure, desktop-style web browsing on both high-end and low-end handsets
  • Streaming video capabilities
  • Split screen and full screen modes for easy navigation and viewing
  • Easily add and select favorites and view browsing history
  • Intuitive keystroke shortcuts for easier navigation and content selection
  • Extends battery life and uses less data than competing browsers

BOLT Usage:

With over 300,000 users, BOLT is being used on every continent on the globe.  The top ten domains visited by BOLT’s users include:

It’s interesting to watch how people use BOLT to connect to friends and information,” said Sampo Kaasila, vice president of research and development at Bitstream. “Most of the heavy usage is around social networking, with about 10 percent of users spending well over an hour per session online with BOLT.  We see Google visitors using search, mail, maps and translation services while Yahoo visitors use mail, messenger, fantasy sports and finance.  It’s also interesting to see how BlackBerry users seem to prefer using BOLT for Facebook instead of the BlackBerry Facebook application.”

People are enjoying the video streaming feature of the BOLT browser – the only mobile browser that lets people enjoy streaming videos on average mobile phones from such popular video services as YouTube,, ,,, and more. Of the total bandwidth used by all BOLT users surfing the Internet, nearly a third was consumed by streaming video.

BOLT is now available for free to anyone as part of its public beta test.  Visit

Visit Bitstream at booth number 6250 at CTIA Wireless.

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Bolt Browser Updated, Many Great Changes!


Great update to the app. I have always hated the one-touch cliking for browsing. This is much improved and actually blows up the text to see before selecting links. Great job!

I just downloaded it for my Pearl and the scrolling is much improved. If you didn't like Bolt before because it was too slow, give this beta another shot. Scrolling is so much smoother, it feels like Opera Mini.

If the horrid scrolling was your only issue with Bolt, I strongly suggest you check out this latest beta. Bolt had progressed slowly but steadily with regards to the scroll feature in previous upgrades. But the latest is pretty darned good - approaching, if not equaling, Opera's scrolling proficiency as another person stated earlier for the Pearl (I use a Curve).

cant get the menu screen to stay up (options) when i hit the menu button it the options flash up at me and then disappear....?????? weird but fast

This happened to me with a downloaded theme. I changed back to one of the original BB themes and it was fine. I then switched to a different downloaded theme, fine again. It was just that one particular theme.

The scrolling has improved a lot on my 8130. Still don't know if I'll keep it (opera works fine for me) but its a step in the right direction.

I have to disagree, the Storm browser while nice, on complex website it takes up to three times as long than Bolt to get the job done.

Personally i feel that the browser has really been improved, still dont like the clock popping up constantly though, but its something i can live with.

Would you recomend I download this for my storm or continue using my default browser? What are the ups and downs compared to the blackberry browser?

Would you recomend I download this for my storm or continue using my default browser? What are the ups and downs compared to the blackberry browser?

i say give it a shot, i also had mini opera as well, which is a very good browser. give them a shot and see which is good for you

Personally i only use the BB browser for websites i go to that are wap based, like CB, wiki and a few others.

Definitely give it a try. A lot of people like the Bolt browser, and despite my general distaste for the product, this is clearly an upgrade over past versions. Give it a shot and see how you like it.

Its better, but every time I switch from portrait to landscape and vice versa, the entire page reloads. Pretty annoying.

I would like to see a side-by-side comparison of BB, Opera and Bolt that shows me which browser does what and which excels at what features.
I'm pretty much an amateur, and have been please with BB's standard browser.

But, I'm open to insightful information.

Be nice if it worked with a site that has IIS domain security. Submitted this bug to them a while back. It just keeps asking for username/password. This site requires domain\username and password style login. If I could get that, I'd be very happy!

I will take another shot at Bolt. Beta 1 was very slow. I had it on .75 and it ran slower than BB browser. Saturday I moved to .113 and it runs faster. Maybe Beta 2 will be better.

I find Bolt frustratingly difficult to use on a Storm. It's dependence on a keyboard does not translate well to the storm virtual keyboard. I think they should put a disclaimer on the site 'THIS PROGRAM DOES NOT PLAY WITH A BB STORM' in big red letters.

The only thing I could find about the Storm on their web site: "Improved BlackBerry Storm home page tab clicking " is that all?????

This thing sucks on the Storm. Totaly hosed the page rendering at Youtube Google Video, etc. a bunch of jibberish on the screen. Not intuitive for the touch screen.

I love it. Great update. Now the trackball and typing are actually responsive on my 8330. Before it would lag behind and was unbearable.

This browser just isn't made for a touch screen. The pointer/hand operation is just unmanageable. When they make a version for specifically for the Storm, Then I'll try it again.

OMG! What a BIG change. Scrolling page's on my 8800 is now verry smoother and faster than in previous version's. Now im love it Bolt Browser :D Good Job.

the first beta was absolutely horrendous!

load speeds were slow, the split-screen magnifier didnt help much (even when maxed), content-rich pages full of images were VERY laggy to scroll through and it was generally a pain to use (ESPECIALLY the stupid clicking/selecting).

lets hope this beta isn't all hype like its predecessor.

Seems like a nice update, many improvements are immediately obvious. It will take some getting used to, though, before I decide to keep or dump it.

Like others have pointed out, it's kinda wonky on a Storm.

It is 100% better than the previous beta I tried. Much faster and takes up less resources IMO.
Great work boys!

The scrolling issue made it to difficult to use on my curve.....I am lovin this new beta, images and streaming videos make it a lot better than Opera IMO! THX

Like others have mentioned it's more frustrating then it's worth.
Either build a storm specific version or focus solely on trackball BB's, because the current storm version is sub par at best.

i usually use opera mini on my sprint curve. wasnt thrilled w/ bolt when i downloaded it and rarely used it over the past few months...opened it today and saw the i say WOW! amazing what an upgrade can do! The scrolling and general slow browsing and navigation made the previous build pretty useless. now it scrolls smooth and opens pages much faster. ironically, takes forever to load, way slower than on opera, but overall much improved and i will definitely be using it more after today. i still dont like that there isnt a "stop" button when i hit a link by accident and it also takes way too long to go "back" to the previous page. i also cant get any videos to play, keeps opening my default browser, looks like its going to load then i get an error saying the format isnt supported. still thumbs up for a promising beta!

im very intrested in this APP but i dont know much about these browser apps does it replace the orginal browser because my bold is in for repair at the minute for software failure i dont want to get this program if its fear of destroying my bold i was quiet annoyed when i downloaded BerryAlerts Which caused my fone to break down.... so if anyone could PM me and let me know :D thanks

I just tried it, and trying to line up that pointer to click on a link is next to impossible. Also, tapping for magnification is nowhere near as easy to use as it is on the native Blackberry browser, nor can you tap to bring up the menu icons (as you can with the native browser). Also, if you can't import your favorites (which, apparently, you can't) it's too much of a hassle to re-enter then all manually). The native browser is actually pretty darn fast if you uncheck the Java box; for now, that's what I'm going back to.

Ya, I was excited to try this on my Storm because I heard it was much faster (which it is). But the controls are almost impossible with a touch screen. Not to mention cut and paste appears to be absent. :-( I'm sure it works great on a Bold or Curve, but it's nearly useless on a Storm.

I agree with everyone else. While I use the BB browser for some things, and Opera mini for others, using Bolt is frustrating. I didn't try beta 1, but this one was uninstalled after about 10 minutes fumbling around - couldn't even select a favorite I made. haha

We still need someone to build a browser from scratch specifically for the Storm's touchscreen. I do like their logo though. ;-)

This is my go to browser on the storm. I've had zero problem clicking on links, it's as quick as any browser out there, and it presents the web pages almost exactly how I'd find them on a desktop or laptop. This update was just the icing on the cake.

I installed it and played with it before I read these comments. I was surprised about all the hate. It renders quickly for me. I like that you can change the default zoom. I like that there's a Feeds tab. May consider dropping Viigo.

My only complaints would be that it could be smoother and that you cannot change the font. Other than that, I don't think it's as horrible as everyone seems to be describing it.

Obviously, not designed for the Storm. Proabaly very good with a trackball though. If you have a Storm, don't waste your time downloading.

It looks better on the Storm, even the icon looks nicer instead of spread out and bloated as it once was. I'll give it a try.

And to think I deleted the other version just the other day.

The only two things that do bother me are lack of easy touch based zooming (if this exists please tell me how) and text entry which shows a full screen text area with keyboard (instead of just popping the keyboard up on top of the web page being displayed). I quite like the link tapping with the pop up; I find it easy and accurate. The speed is great, page rendering appears pretty good. Only other minor gripe is the font used, it doesn't look that nice in my opinion.

I uninstalled Opera Mini after one day. Even with its bugs, Bolt shows a lot of promise. This new update looks like it addresses some of the more annoying bugs, I'm upgrading right now..

We need Flash support!

Bolt is great. It's fast, and now pretty easy to use with the whole double-tapping the links update. It doesn't replace the bb browser because sometimes it is necessary to use the bb browser for things such as app downloads. But for 75-90% of the average browsing, it excels.

You have to give credit where credit is due. I was one of the ones who tried out their very first version of the beta. It sucked, quite frankly. The speed alone was not enough. But now they have done a lot of work to their browser. The double-tap feature helps so much. And most of the time, the page does not reload when switching from portrait to landscape. Scrolling's not too shabby now, either.

The thing is, its still in beta. But for a beta, it is awesome, convenient, and in general, KICK-ASS! But if you don't feel the same way, thats fine. I just feel like its getting more bashing than deserved.

i seriously love this browser. finally one that seems to hit the highs i've been looking for and missing all the lows.

why hasn't Blackberry made an effort to rock out a killer browser? Honestly, the one we have by default blows in comparison to this one.

Nice one

Tell us Storm users how the hell you managed to get the pointer to move to the very edge of the screen into the check boxes on the Preferences Page. YOU DIDN'T because YOU CAN'T...

Tell us how you managed to move the pointer over a link with any precision at all?

Surprised? Really?

Give me a break...

I had just deleted Bolt from my BB because i found it lacking even compared to the default BB browser, the loading time was longer and the scrolling wasn't exact enough. Guess i'll have to give this one a try

I have been a beta user since Bolt came out and LOVE the new update. It is so much faster!! It is also easier to navigate the links because when you touch the link once, it magnifies it and you can then touch again and be sure you're headed to the intended link. Page rendering is extremely fast and scrolling speed is increased as well. I am very happy with this update!! For those users that think you need to position the arrow cursor on the link to access it, as far as I know, that's not the case. You simply touch the link you want to access. Great update!!!

Just downloaded the new one and its much better than the old one. Now they just need make it work with the touch screen for when the 9900 comes out

Gave it a go. Installed fine. Loading? yikes... way too long. I un-installed it after about 15 minutes. It would not work correctly with a few sites forums. And these are the pages I use most often on the BB. Plus the home page font was the size of a molecule. I'll stick with Opera and the default browser for now.

I don't like it at all... sorry folks, but having to open the menu every time i want to enter the website is a little too much. Loading the unscaled facebook page is is not fun either. I don't know... I'll try it for few more days and maybe I'll discover something good about it.

It's impossible to even click a link on a website, I can only get to the web page I enter then that's it. Not going to bother with any other releases, just going to wait for a Storm version of Opera Mini or Firefox Mobile

As everyone said, waste of time, since this version is not for the storm and really sucks.
BB browser works ok, but I prefer opera for most browsing (which I grant has problems). Even the non-storm version of miniopera is far better then trying to use bolt.

Sorry but a no go for Storm on this version as well, it's def better than the last beta but it keeps getting stuck at 20% page loading and it's nigh on impossible to click on the tiny prefs boxes. Not having a zoom in/out option is a royal pain.
Opera isn't perfect, but it's close, and it's so much faster than the native BB Browser. I have OperaMini synced up with Opera on the desktop so my faves are always 2way synced and that is really a nice option to have so I keeep having to open Delicous or Foxmarks:-)

Just deleted Bolt for the 2nd time. When a Storm version is announced I'll try it again. Until then, the frustration of navigation on pages just isn't worth it.

When you push (hold or repeat) the back/escape button, it doesn't exit! How could they miss something so basic to the BlackBerry?

I have a Storm on verizon...and i cant seem to install anything that works. I went to their website, signed up, got the e mail, started with the one they said and kept getting a download error, got to the unsigned version and i could download it, but when i click on it i get an error and it wont even start...i submitted it to them and all i got back was an e mail saying thanks for submitting it...anyone here know what to do?

I was very disappointed in this browser until this update - it may have just become my personal default browser

Tried first to see how it loaded, and it just loads weird. Not finding a way to stop a page from loading after accidentally clicking a link. Bolt is nice, but not quite there yet.

What ever advantage is to be had with this is initially outdone by the need for the menu button to navigate. I was unable to view a video on u-tube due to non-support. I just watched the same video yesterday. I took it right back off. It was sketchy and I felt like my screen was going to start smoking any second.