Competing high-speed mobile browsers Bolt and Skyfire both have releases today reporting success in the market. With Skyfire claiming huge growth in the US, and Bolt boasting about it’s India figures, can they compete with both each other and the mobile offerings of established on-line browsers?
Bitstream, Bolts creator, has let it be known that one in every six of it’s users resides in India. That makes India it’s largest audience outside North America. Indian users have visited more than 5 million Web pages in the four months since Bolt launched at MWC. Considering the short timescale, and the fact that Bolt is still in beta, those are pretty good figures.
For more details, check out the original release: http://www.bitstream.com/corporate/news/press_2009/th_090526_bolt_india.html
From the release:
“Seeing how popular the BOLT mobile browser is becoming in India is particularly gratifying for the team here in India which has contributed to its engineering,” said Lokesh Joshi, director of research and development at Bitstream India. “The BOLT browser has been getting good reviews and strong support from users all over the world but it’s very exciting to see such strong adoption here in India. We are impressed with the number of feature phones in India on which BOLT is installed, leading us to believe that India’s mobile population is embracing mobile applications for regular phones faster than we are seeing in the West.”
In the meantime, Skyfire is claiming to be the fastest downloadable browser in the US. It announced the launch of version 1.0 of its PC-like mobile browser today, and says that it has been downloaded and installed by over 1 million customers in the five months since its launch. Along with announcing that they’re going to be launching a Blackberry public beta soon, it also has a list of new features including improved zoom and navigation, better tweaks for time-saving features and a host of new time-savers that work with search, page interaction and history.
From the release:
“We were absolutely floored by the initial response to the Skyfire Beta,” said Nitin Bhandari, CEO of Skyfire. “We knew people wanted the PC web on their phones and this was clearly confirmed in the significant user growth and engagement during our beta period. We achieved our goal of delivering both a better and faster mobile browsing experience. However, bringing it to over 1M consumers exceeded our expectations of a beta, especially since they were all acquired organically by buzz and word of mouth. As we experienced explosive growth, we also experienced significant uptake in user engagement. People were using Skyfire more often and more people were making Skyfire their default browser – for all of their mobile browsing, not just video consumption.”
What we think?
A big problem here is that both of these browsers are good. They both boost speed, cut data consumption and utilise on-line systems well on a mobile platform. There are differences between the two browsers, yes, but they don’t make a real difference on a superficial level. Unless you’re a mobile browser aficionado, you’re not going to be able to pin-point them very well.
The problem here is that while the on-line web has proven that multiple browsers can operate successfully at the same time, there’s no indication that the mobile crowd is large enough or interested enough to support the same system. Bolt and Skyfire are probably the hottest independent ones at the moment, but they have Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer and the Android and Blackberry browsers to contend with… not to mention the impending mobile version of Firefox, Fennec. I can’t help but think it would make more sense for these two to combine forces (and audiences) in the face of huge, established competition. Boltfire? Skybolt?