Torch Mobile has announced a free "commercial release" of its Windows Mobile web browser based the open-source WebKit browser. The Iris Browser, version 1.1.0, includes "big performance gains," Flash Lite support, reduced memory usage and accelerometer support, according to the company. In a market that's suddenly become crowded with third-party web browsers, the latest Iris version joins Bolt and Opera 9.5 (and eventually Firefox) in the mobile browser race. Iris isn't exactly a newcomer to the field, with the original Beta version having been released about a year ago.
Version 1.1.0 features performance gains and reduced memory usage. The release adds support for Adobe's Flash Lite ActiveX control, and for the accelerometers found on HTC phones. It also includes "preliminary" RSS (really simple syndication) and SVG (scalable vector graphics) support, according to the company. According to WindowsForDevices.com Iris is touted as performing well even on devices with minimal resources, thanks to a fast rendering engine, efficient storage of bookmarks and cookies, and a cache optimized for low disk usage. Follow the break to see how well Iris v1.1.0 version 1.1.2 performed on the HTC Fuze along with a few screen shots.
Note: I wrote this review on Feb. 21, 2009, originally using version 1.1.0. While testing this version, an update (version 1.1.2) was released by Torch Mobile. We have just learned that yet another Beta version of Iris has been released, version 1.1.3 that Fuze Mobility is reporting corrects the screen freezing problems experienced with previous versions. Read on for our impressions over this rapidly changing mobile web browser.