Research in Motion appears to be serious about improving its mobile browser. Now, RIM is putting and undisclosed amount of money behind the effort via the acquisition of mobile browser developer Torch Mobile.
Torch Mobile has been a contributor to the WebKit project, which is the technology foundation for Apple's Safari browser on the iPhone. WebKit is also the base for browsers on the Palm Pre and Android devices. In a statement on its site, Torch Mobile said:
Torch Mobile is excited to announce that our company has been acquired by Research In Motion (RIM), one of the most renowned mobile technology companies in the world. Our team of developers will join RIM’s global organization and will now be focused on utilizing our WebKit-based mobile browser expertise to contribute to the ongoing enhancement of the BlackBerry platform.
Torch Mobile’s team of highly skilled developers has been actively involved in Open Source development and includes contributors, Commiters and Reviewers of the WebKit project. As part of RIM, these developers will continue to be active participants in the WebKit development community.
Specifically, Torch Mobile makes the Iris browser and RIM's bet appears to be that it needs to get involved with Webkit. What's odd here is that Iris is available for Windows Mobile, Windows CE, Qt embedded and Qtopia. There will be some work to bring Iris to the BlackBerry.
Here's a demo of what RIM just bought: