A couple weeks back I went off on a RANT about the web browser that ships standard on BlackBerrys, basically saying that it's nothing to brag about and that while there is a place for optimized web browsing (necessary for those who have limited data/speed) what the world now wants is full-web browsing on a smartphone. In that article I named the iPhone's Safari browser the best of class standard, with Opera Mini (which is available for use on the BlackBerry) as the next best thing.
Well, it looks like there may be a new KING in the mobile browser world - enter SkyFire. SkyFire is currently being developed for Windows Mobile and Symbian phones but *not* BlackBerrys, and will basically bring full Firefox web browsing to the palm of your hand... to quote the SkyFire team, "Our goal is that if Firefox can render it, then your Windows Mobile phone will render it the exact same way."
What's this mean to BlackBerry Users? Hard to say. RIM are server side kings - one of the downfall/risks of the SkyFire browser is security, but this is an area where RIM has tremendous experience and respect. Maybe RIM's browser of the future will take a similar approach to SkyFire and do it all server side and push server-rendered webpages to the phone (from my understanding, this is how RIM's new BES BlackBerry platform will handle html email viewing). Makes sense, and could work over the BES and BIS given some updates.
To me this also means RIM is going to be the last big player in the smartphone world to get a truly kick-ass mobile browser. Apple has it, Windows Mobile and Symbian are going to get it, and that leaves our beloved BlackBerrys waiting last in line. Hopefully being last means we will end up having the best browser of the bunch, but who knows for certain at this point - I'm not sure the BlackBerry OS has the built in capabilities to run this kind of app. Maybe bigger sweeping changes will need to be seen first before we see full web browsing with no comprimises on a BlackBerry. All I can say for certain is that BlackBerrys need full web browsing capabilities and I hope RIM is working on it.
Dieter took a test of drive of SkyFire last Friday. Fore more information, images and insight on the SkyFire web browser, head over to WMExperts.com.
Here's a Video Overview of SkyFire....
Update: Our friendly CrackBerry.com moderator Bla1ze raised a good point this afternoon in discussion. While it's unlikely that we'll see a SkyFire browser for BlackBerry anytime soon, what we MAY JUST SEE in the not so distance future is a FireFox Mobile Web browser for the BlackBerry. Mozilla hasn't confirmed or denied their being a version for the BB, but I'd rate it as more likely than not.