Bolt (web browser)
A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (March 2011)
|Initial release||February 16, 2009|
|Available in||English, Spanish, and Russian; can display web pages in languages with Latin or Cyrillic-based alphabets|
The BOLT Browser was a web browser for mobile phones including feature phones and smartphones that can run Java ME applications. The BOLT Browser was offered free of charge to consumers and by license to Mobile network operators and handset manufacturers. BOLT was produced by Bitstream Inc., the company which previously produced the ThunderHawk for Mobile network operators and handset manufacturers.
BOLT was originally introduced into private beta on January 15, 2009 and was made available to the public on February 16, 2009 when the public beta was announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. BOLT supported Java-based handsets with Java MIDP 2 and CLDC 1.0 or higher. BOLT also has specially optimized version for BlackBerry smartphones and worked with Windows Mobile and Palm OS devices that employ a MIDlet manager or Java emulator. BOLT was built using the WebKit rendering engine to display a full Web page layout as found on desktop web browsers.
In December 2011, BOLT Browser was discontinued and all installs were rendered useless.
- January 15, 2009: BOLT was introduced as a private beta.
- February 16, 2009: BOLT was made available via free public beta at Mobile World Congress.
- April 1, 2009 – BOLT Beta2 was released at CTIA Wireless 2009 in Las Vegas, NV. This release included improvements, fixes to minor bugs and new features.
- June 29, 2009 – BOLT Beta3 released, BOLT lite announced. Beta3 included major improvements, fixes to minor bugs and new features.
- October 7, 2009 - BOLT 1.5 released. First commercial release marks end of beta testing.
- March 23, 2010 - BOLT 2.0 Beta Version announced by the developer Bitstream Inc.The biggest change is the inclusion of tabbed browsing
- May 24, 2010 - BOLT 2.1 Released, introducing support for HTML5 video
- January 16, 2009 - BOLT private beta (ver 0.73) reviewed as the fastest mobile browser.
- March 30, 2009 - BOLT (ver 0.86) reviewed as only browser for feature phones that can stream video.
- May 29, 2009 - 1 in 6 BOLT users resides in India (current version Beta2 0.94).
- June 23, 2009 - BOLT surpasses 1 million end-user installs (current version Beta2 0.94).
- July 28, 2009 - BOLT surpasses more than 100 million Web pages rendered (current version Beta3 1.04).
On 2011.12.12, Bolt's website changed to display the following message:
Dear BOLT User, The free BOLT mobile browsing service has been discontinued. Unfortunately, the economic circumstances prevent us from running a free service going forward. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your loyalty and support. The BOLT Team
Additionally, the browser displayed a banner indicating that the service would be discontinued on the 14th of December. Neither the website nor the corresponding emails sent to users mentioned the possibility of a paid version.
As of 14 December 2011, existing installations of BOLT have been rendered useless.
The distinguishing features of BOLT browser were:
Split screen rendering
Split screen rendering is a patented BOLT technology in which a compressed view of the desktop style page layout is visible in the upper two thirds of the screen. A magnification rectangle is available for scrolling over this area. A magnified view of the selected area is displayed in the lower third of the screen. This technology enables the user to view desktop style layouts of web pages without compromising readability on small screens.
Tabbed browsing experience enables the user to browse more than one site simultaneously.
Server-assisted data compression
BOLT used cloud-based servers that could compress the data reaching the device (sometimes by as much as 24 times), resulting in faster page loads. The proxy servers used by BOLT were located in the United States.
BOLT provides a special mode for easing the view of web pages. Split-screen mode features a rectangular magnifier floating over a zoomed out mini-map of the entire Web page on the top 2/3 of the screen and a magnified view of the content under the magnifier on the bottom 1/3 of the screen. The magnifier floating over the mini-map enables the user to quickly find information and navigate Web sites with ease.
Backup of favorites
BOLT enables the user to back up favorites to the device's memory and restore them back through BOLT directly. Backup the favorites to the user account at BOLT Space and restore them back regardless of device, its platform, BOLT type (BOLT or BOLT Lite) and location.
BOLT supports HTML5 based audio and video streaming.
It also supports expanded streaming flash video support.
BOLT offers Facebook integration - post messages, links or URLs from any page displayed in BOLT directly to the Facebook account without navigating away from the currently viewed page. BOLT offers support for Facebook chat and other web-based chat apps. It also offers support for YouTube web apps - search and view videos directly in BOLT.
The BOLT mobile browser is compatible with the majority of mobile phones. It offers desktop-style web browsing including the ability to stream video.
A patented split-screen viewing feature and intuitive keystroke shortcuts make navigating web pages simple. BOLT is built using Bitstream's ThunderHawk mobile browsing technology.
WebKit rendering engine
BOLT is built using the WebKit rendering engine to deliver the same web page layout as found on desktop browsers and includes high standards compliance such as AJAX and flash video support. Bitstream's client/server technology, mobile fonts and font rendering technologies speed content delivery enabling mass market deployments, improved readability and allowing BOLT to fit more information into smaller screens. BOLT's underlying ThunderHawk mobile browsing technology supports both J2ME platforms, as well as non-J2ME environments though a C++ SDK.
BOLT browser passed the Acid3 test with a perfect 100% score. Acid3 is a test page from the Web Standards Project that tests how well a web browser supports certain web standards.
- BOLT does not support Flash but it supports the FLV Format (as in streaming video Web sites including www.YouTube.com, www.Myspace.com, video.google.com, etc.).
- BOLT supports WAP 1.x content — WML, and WAP 2.x content — XHTML-MP with WCSS and ECMAScript-MP.
Security and privacy
BOLT is signed with third-party certificates from VeriSign and Thawte. These "signatures" enable the device OS to confirm BOLT's authenticity, provide access to secure device APIs, and help ensure that BOLT is free from malware and/or viruses. Signed applications enable you to use BOLT with fewer permission dialogs for file and network access from your device's OS.
However, a few platforms including Motorola P2K do not allow installation of signed builds. To enable installation on these devices, an unsigned version of BOLT, with no certificate, is also offered.
BOLT proxied all requests via BOLT cloud servers to compress traffic and maintain site-specific information about users, such as browser cookies and site preferences and the contents of shopping carts. This solution has major security implications: BOLT could trivially track user activity and even arbitrarily tamper with content displayed by the browser.
128-bit secure (SSL) connection
BOLT used an encrypted protocol called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to access secure Web pages. The connection between the device and the BOLT server is also encrypted.
Certificate error notification
A certificate is an electronic document that can help identify a Web site's owner and can help you make decisions about trusting the site with personal or financial information. BOLT warns about certificate error when there is a problem with a certificate or the server's use of the certificate.
Localization and languages
BOLT is available in English, Spanish, Russian, and Indic.
BOLT supports viewing Web sites in all Latin-based languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, Swedish, and many others that are fundamentally Latin-based. Using the "Install Fonts" utility, you can also view Web sites in Cyrillic-based languages including Bulgarian, Russian, Belarusian, Serbian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Moldovan, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Tuvan and Mongolian.
BOLT is also available in the Indic languages.
The BOLT browser has received numerous awards and mentions in the media. Some of the important awards for the BOLT browser are:
- Mobile Merit Awards | 2010 | Runner Up in Overall Consumer Application and Service Delivery Platform categories. The BOLT Mobile Browser has been named Runner Up in the 2010 Mobile Merit Awards in two categories: Best Overall Consumer Mobile Application and Best Service Delivery Platform.
- CTIA E-Tech Awards | 2010 | First Place in Mobile Applications – Entertainment/Social Networking Category
- Mobile Star Awards | 2009 | Superstar Award in Consumer App: Web Browser category. BOLT mobile browser took top honors in the eighth annual Mobile Star Awards program, winning the SUPERSTAR award in the Consumer App: Web Browser category. Other nominees in this category included Apple – Safari for iPhone, Opera Mobile and Skyfire.
- Stevie Awards | 2009 | Finalist for Most Innovative Company of the Year
- CNET Webware 100 Award Finalist | 2009 | Finalist Browsing category
- Tech Awards Circle | 2009 | Bronze Award for Best Consumer/SOHO Software
- PC Magazine | December 29, 2009 | 4 star rating (out of 5)
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