I’ve been playing with a host of third party mobile browsers but always seem to come back to the stock Android browser. Two days ago an innovative browser by Bitstream called ‘Bolt’ came out of beta and is now available in the Android Market.
There is a lot to like about the Webkit based Bolt browser. I particularly like the way it renders web pages, the pages look similar to how they appear on my desktop browser. However, I’ve had some issues with some pages not rendering correctly when I try to tap to zoom in on a section of the web page. Parts of page overlay others making the type unreadable until you manually adjust the page.
The browser also supports tabbed browsing, pinch-to-zoom, copy/paste, Flash and HTML5 video as well as RSS support for subscribing to news feeds. Bolt uses a cloud-computing architecture similar to the recently announced ‘Silk’ browser for the Kindle Fire.
My testing has been mostly over T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network and some browsing over WiFi has yielded mixed results. In theory the cloud architecture splits the workload between the browser and the cloud servers to optimize the web browsing experience. In actual use, at least initially I haven’t noticed any significant difference in browsing speed between Bolt and the stock Android browser. At times the rendering appears sluggish, then seems to load pages all at once.
Overall I like Bolt despite some of the problems I mention, it has fresh user interface (UI) that is both finger friendly and easy to use. Hopefully, Bitstream can work out some of the problems I mention along with some of the issues reported on its Market page.
I still have the stock browser handy just in case but it’s my default browser for now. Bolt is a free download from the Android Market and I recommend you download Bolt and try it for yourself.
BOLT is also available for BlackBerry, Nokia and Java ME based phones.