Anna Chagnon CEO Bitstream Inc talks about company’s mobile web browser platform BOLT to TelecomTalk, how it sizes up against the competition and how secure is BOLT. Read on for some of the best bits
What is the business model behind BOLT Browser?
Anna Chagnon:The business model for BOLT is not unlike the business model for most browsers, whether they are for mobile devices or personal computers. For BOLT we are pursuing two avenues. The first is to license BOLT to wireless carriers and mobile handset manufacturers. The second is to create revenue from aspects of the browser itself, such as working with a search engine company to license our search bar. The main focus today, however, is to build the best mobile browser in the market and build a loyal following of end users. As BOLT was installed over one million times in the first 18 weeks since we launched it, I feel confident we’re off to a great start.
Why there is no default search engine in BOLT browser can we anticipate in the future version of BOLT?
Anna Chagnon: Actually, searches entered into BOLT’s smart bar get results from Google. But as I mentioned, selling the default search engine position on our search bar is just one way we can create revenue for BOLT.
How secure is BOLT browser for online transaction would be happy if you brief us?
Anna Chagnon: In addition to rendering web pages exactly as they are shown on desktop computers, security is one of the main benefits we offer BOLT users. BOLT uses a client / server architecture. When you open a web page using BOLT, it is first opened on one of our servers where we compress the data and optimize it for the mobile device. This architecture allows BOLT to quickly download pages, use less data transmission and display web pages exactly as their web designers meant them to be displayed. And because BOLT sits in the middle, we are able to do even more for the benefit of our users.
BOLT’s hardened servers are constantly monitored against spyware, malicious or faulty add-ons, online fraud and spoof websites. The BOLT server acts as a filter that protects you against common threats, such as spyware or other types of malware, when browsing the Web. You might say that we use an industrial strength version of what people can get on their desktop computers. But we are making sure our protective systems are always up to date.
In that sense, you can say that using BOLT is more secure than using a browser on a desktop computer where the end user has to make sure that all the right systems are installed, updated and scans are run. And we know that most people don’t do everything they should to protect their computers, even if they do have the right software. But Bitstream does do everything we can.
BOLT also utilizes 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (or SSL) encryption and supports HTTPS. BOLT provides certificate error notification to help identify a website's owner and can help the end user make decisions about trusting the site with personal or financial information. BOLT even has a pop-up blocker that provides users with a choice to view or block pop-up windows.
How do you see the Indian browser Market?
Anna Chagnon: We see tremendous opportunity as a player in the Indian market, and we intend to be actively engaged here and remain focused on it. Currently one in six BOLT users resides in India. Overall, we believe that if we build a quality product that is easy to use and does what people want it to do, we’ll be successful in India. And that is our mission with BOLT.
Is BOLT going to remain free even after the public beta test?
Anna Chagnon: Yes, BOLT will remain free for the foreseeable future.
What’s next for BOLT?
Anna Chagnon: We just released a new Beta 3 version of BOLT that gives it more features than any of its mobile competitors. Although we just released it this week, it’s been a huge success and we’ve seen a surge in new users. On top of being the only browser for all types of phones that can stream video from multiple websites and our proven speed, in the latest release we added copy and paste, display of rich text formats like bold and italics, the ability to enter text directly into online forms, the ability to arrange favorites (bookmarks), and support for Cyrillic alphabets such as Russian. Right now, even though we’re just a few months into our beta, we have the most fully-featured browser in the market.
For now, we’re going to spend a lot of time listening to our users. BOLT users are a very vocal community, posting their suggestions on blogs, in Twitter and in our forum (http://boltbrowser.com/forums). As has been the case in our last two releases, our users will guide our hand as to what features come next.
What does BOLT lack?
Anna Chagnon: Not all that much. At the moment we’re the most fully featured mobile browser that works on phones of all types. We’re letting our users play with BOLT and tell us what they think is missing. So far, just a few days since the newest release was issued, the only thing we’re hearing is “thank you.”
How does BOLT see its competitors?
Anna Chagnon: Competition is very good for this industry, and we’re very much in the early days of building the market. For instance, there are about 4 billion mobile phones in use today, but so far there are far fewer than 50 million third-party mobile browsers in use. This is a huge market opportunity, and there is room for lots of competitors. I think each of the competitors will be motivated by the successes of the others, and we’ll see some differentiation in the space.