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RIM purchases Torch Mobile; Iris Browser for Windows Mobile will be discontinued

Word dropped this morning that Torch Mobile, makers of the Iris Browser, had been purchased by Research in Motion. That's great news for BlackBerry fans, who have been in dire need of a browser for, well, ever. However, this is bad news for Windows Mobile. We just heard back from Torch Mobile spokesman George Staikos, and the response is unequivocal:

The company will no longer continue developing for Windows Mobile or Windows-CE.

Bad news, indeed, if you're set on using Webkit. The good news is that we still have a number of more-than-decent browsers available, including Skyfire, Opera Mobile and even Internet Explorer, which is slowly getting better. And we're still looking for the mobile version of Firefox in the coming months.

Via Crackberry and The iPhone Blog

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20 Comments
  • As they says, "This is a goddamn shame". I really liked Iris on WinMo, and they had made good developments. Too bad you can't d/l it anymore. Nokia killed Verichat, the best IM client at the time, and now RIM kills an up and coming browser. Granted, RIM needs a good browser, so I understand why they want it.
  • Tragic. Iris has become my preferred browser. Not only does it give the best reproduction for most websites, but it's also very usable without zooming and without a touch-screen - ideal for RedFly users like me. Graham.
  • If already installed on my device will it continue to work in the future?
  • Too bad, she was my default browser on my Q9h. But since I've got a FUZE now... it's all good. This is great news indeed for BB users. A wise decision by RIM to go with this browser.
  • Another reason I'm sticking with Opera.... well, until someone buys them. This still outlines the major win for Windows CE camp. We have the most selection when it comes to browsers (or software in general). There is no such thing as a competing app being disallowed in 'the store', even if Marketplace introduces this you can still go around the Marketplace and get a competing product regardless of Microsoft's opinion. So, bye bye Torch Mobile - hello Fennec Alpha 3 shortly, and probably a dozen more Webkit based browsers before the end of the year.
  • this shouldn't be a problem if you already have it installed, right?
  • Actually, it's a problem if you don't have the latest version as a separate downloaded file, and you want to do a hard reset. And by 'problem', well, it's not like you'd be without a web browser at all, of course. But this was the one I liked best. It was the most manageable in terms of knowing whether you are pressing on a link or simply trying to scroll the screen, while still being reasonably quick and accurate in its renders. It's a real shame. They should instead charge money for the browser on WM in the short term.
  • Does anyone know where to download the latest 1.1.9 version from?
    It would be nice to have the last version in my cab collection.
  • Sadly, I only have 1.1.6, and the update feature is now broken. That will teach me to always keep the last version on my sd card. Grrr...hopefully someone has it.
  • There's a download location on Rapidshare. Just google iris browser 1.1.9 and you should find it. This is kind of sad, but not totally unexpected. Torch needed a steady revenue stream and I wouldn't have said no to getting bought by one of the hottest companies in tech right now. At least we still have Opera, Skyfire and Dorothy. And we might even get the Zune's new version of IE. Maybe.
  • 1.1.9 is easily found using Google. The only question I have is, when RIM goes belly up, will they continue to work on the Windows Mobile platform? Thanks RIM for giving me ANOTHER reason to hate your crappy platform...
  • I found your comment extremely laughable... When RIM goes belly up?? It's the worlds fastest growing company according to Fortune, it's gained almost 60% of the smartphone market and is expanding like crazy. You must've been a fanboy...
  • They definitely had a thing or two to learn on the UI side of things (at least in the last build I tried) but their rendering was great. Blackberry users should be happy (once the app actually loads anyway.)
  • Hi all...I'm a former passionate WinMo user and now (gasp) an Iphone user...I loved my Tilt an WinMo for the most part despite the constant harrasment from my Apple loving friends...I keep up on what's going on n da WinMo space as it is my first love. But something like this helps to continue to confirm my fears that WinMo is a dying platform and that it's competitors are getting the best of them. It's just incredible to me to see how Microsoft sits idlely by as it competitors eat it's lunch n the mobile space...so fukkin sad.
  • LOL!!! How is this WinMo's fault? They don't even own Iris Browser. Don't you concern yourself too much, because, as the article points out, there are about four more browsers to choose from and no doubt there will be more as we move into wm6.5 and 7. Just so we are clear, that's four more options (and counting) than an iPhone has.
  • Kenny Microsoft sells more WM every year. Thsi thing about market share is a tautology since everyones market share is dropping at some point as the the growth rate market increases radically an ccompetition is so dynamic. And perhaps the fact that WM is widespread and thus garnered scores of would be browser makers that some also-rans would drop out -- and this is before the fact that you missed -- whcih is that a competing company, RIM, BOUGHT the browser maker!
  • The rumor around Belleville Ontario is that the Stakos Bros netted over $200M on this deal! That means RIM is seriously worried about its future. no one spends that kind of money on a deal like this unless they are seriously worried.
  • Actually closer to $20M or $30M........definitely not $200M!
  • There's nothing stopping anyone from downloading the webkit source for Windows CE and building up a browser based on the core made available by Staikos/TorchMobile. See: http://labs.trolltech.com/blogs/2008/08/27/webkit-on-windows-ce/
  • While this whole matter of marketshare and web browser development is new to me and a real headache when deciding which phone to purchase next (only 14 days left to decide before end up with no phone what-so-ever!); I am glad that RIM has decidedly made this move to improve their platform. Yet, I am truly befuzzled as to how RIM has held such a huge marketshare to begin with since there web browser was so problematic!? As for me, internet access is the most crucial aspect which is why I opted for a Palm, Inc. Treo device (circa 2005) which has served me VERY well since then. Like Kenny, I too wonder as to if more deals like RIM/TORCH will cause mobile power users to have to constantly fork-out monies for new software and/or mobile devices every forty seconds. Frankly, this whole cellphone,PDA,PC,etc. mess is just another means of hoaxing the public out of their hard-earned money and making the public more reliant on these devices (i.e.,no more public payphones anywhere). But like most others, (who have the funds, that is) I too will continue to be a 'power-user' primarily due to business reasons. And I would love to figure out or find a device that is "The Best Business Mobile Phone" on the market -- without having to spend hours mulling through articles such as this to cipher through the technic's of it all prior to purchasing another 'half-baked' device!