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CrackBerry mimics Jesus Phone with WebKit browser

Like Apple. But 'network efficient'

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Research in Motion has uncloaked a WebKit-based browser for the BlackBerry, tapping the same open-source rendering engine that underpins browsers on the Apple iPhone, Google Android mobile operating system, Palm webOS, and the Symbian OS.

RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis demoed the browser this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona - though he did not say when it would actually be available to CrackBerry addicts.

Today, unlike other big-name smartphones, the BlackBerry still depends on a rather clunky mobile browser that displays web pages in stripped-down fashion, unable to approach the sort of browsing experience you're used to on the desktop. RIM's new WebKit browser will finally make amends.

"I can tell you it will be well worth the wait," Lazaridis boasted during his MWC keynote, available on video here. Demoing the new browser, he promised "blazing speeds" for end users as well as extreme network efficiency for carriers.

Through out the keynote, Lazaridis painted BlackBerry as a device that's far nicer to carrier networks than competing smartphones. At one point, he said that network operators can support "three BlackBerry browsing sessions for every other smartphone browsing session," which included the iPhone, Android phones, and the Nokia N97.

And then he said it twice more.

Presumably, this will change - at least a bit - once the BlackBerry WebKit browser is in place. But Lazaridis was still bullish on its network niceness. "Our browser will do things the users expect, but the right way, the efficient way, a way that respects carrier networks," he said.

Last August, RIM purchased Torch Mobile, maker of the WebKit-based Iris Browser, and in November, the company announced plans for a BlackBerry WebKit upgrade. During his demo, Lazaridis showed his BlackBerry WebKit browser scoring 100 per cent on the industry standard Acid3 rendering test, and it will handle AJAX, CSS, and HTML5. No word on whether it will include plug-ins for Flash or Silverlight. ®

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