We were actually preparing a review of the Bolt Browser Sunday evening, and when we went to the Android market we noticed that Bolt Browser was absent from the main Android Market website on the computer as well as several Android phones.
Bitstream has been teasing the Bolt Browser for months touting it as a faster alternative browser than anything on the market. They officially unveiled it at CTIA last week. That’s where my experience with the Bolt Browser began.
I received the general “here we are” press release from Bit Stream last week. Our CTIA meeting schedule was pretty full but we had the opportunity to see Bolt Browser in action at Pepcom’s Mobile Focus event last Tuesday night. We met with a guy named Monte, who immediately launched into a diatribe about Bolt verses Opera Mobile.
More after the break
Well, being that our Senior Editor, Cameron Wright, was in Norway at Opera’s headquarters while this guy was downing the competition left a bad taste in my mouth from the jump. Opera is the longest running “alternative” browser in the market, originally it was a Blackberry alternative. It’s going to be hard to touch that one with even a lightning bolt. Experienced PR people know not to down a competitors product, especially to a journalist.
Even after Monte’s little PR 101 mishap, I downloaded Bolt from the market. It was busy, with it’s little blocks and actually way slower than we imagined. The blocks reminded me of T-Mobile’s old default feature phone browser. While that style is great for a feature phone, for Android you’re going to need to bring it.
So we went ahead and put Bolt on the Samsung Galaxy S II for Sprint, and AT&T as well as an Evo 3D and original Evo. We used wifi to test it out and we were actually pulling a good 6 mbps down at the hotel. We speed timed thedroidguy.com loading on all four phones and then we did the test again on Dolphin HD, Firefox,Opera and the stock Android browser. Remember we were using wifi for the test. Bolt was sad in comparison to all the other browsers. In fact Opera spanked it loading the entire 14 stories on thedroidguy.com index page before the first photo loaded on Bolt, again using wifi.
A Browser isn’t a revolutionary new product if you’re going to build a browser you need to really disrupt the space. In fact Cameron will be posting a story in the next day or two about how the newest version of Opera is that game changer especially in low connectivity situations.
As for Bolt. We’re uninstalling it now, especially since it’s gone from the Android market. That coupled with the fact that it’s force closed 7 of the last 11 times we’ve opened it. It also renders pictures slowly and they’re grainy.
It also seems that our good friend JR Raphael over at Computer World felt the same