RIM have acquired Torch Mobile, the software developers behind the WebKit-based Iris Browser. The move will see Torch Mobile’s developers working to deliver a new browser to BlackBerry handsets; WebKit is the engine underlying the iPhone’s Mobile Safari and the rendering core of Android handsets. It follows RIM’s revelations that it plans to put full Flash onto its handsets.
The Torch Mobile developers will apparently continue to contribute their code to the open-source WebKit project, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that browsers on other devices will gain full Flash or Silverlight support. In addition to Iris, Torch Mobile are also responsible for a web widget platform intended for mobile and embedded devices and compatible with Apple and Yahoo! widgets, and for an RSS reader that integrates with the browser.
The details of the acquisition are yet to be made public, and at time of writing there’s no mention of the deal on RIM’s own site. It’s also too early for any timescales for a WebKit-based browser to land on BlackBerry handsets.