Torch Mobile Acquisition Gives RIM WebKit Browser

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BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) confirmed on Monday that it has acquired WebKit mobile browser developer Torch Mobile, a move that will help RIM enhance the mobile browser on its BlackBerry smartphone line.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The acquisition was announced on the front page of Torch Mobile's Web site Monday.

"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," Torch Mobile said on its Web site. "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 and its developers are actively involved in open source development. The company said its developers, including contributors, committers and reviewers, will continue to be active participants in the WebKit development community.

Torch Mobile's employees have joined RIM's software development team effective immediately, RIM said in a statement confirming the Torch Mobile acquisition.

Torch Mobile's flagship product is the Iris browser, which the company debuted in February 2008 and updated about a year later. Torch Mobile also makes an Iris-based Web widget platform, an RSS reader and enterprise-level software products.

The Iris browser is most known as the WebKit-based browser in Microsoft Windows Mobile smartphones. It offers tabbed browsing, touch and a skinnable user interface. The RIM acquisition will likely mean that Torch Mobile will no longer be used in Windows Mobile or other devices that compete with the BlackBerry line.

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