Torch deal could herald new BlackBerry browser

San Francisco, CA – Research in Motion (RIM) is hoping to pull up its BlackBerry browser performance with the acquisition of Torch Mobile.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, gives RIM access to Torch’s WebKit open source browser code and Iris mobile browser.

WebKit has become something of a de facto standard, and is used by several other browsers, including those for the iPhone, Palm Pre and Google Android phones. RIM, meanwhile, has taken a lot of flak for having a browser that’s slow and clunky to use.

“Our team of developers will join RIM’s global organization and will now be focused on utilizing our WebKit-based mobile browser expertise to contribute to the ongoing enhancement of the BlackBerry platform,” said Torch in its blog.

RIM recently promised to integrate Flash and Silverlight support into its browser.

It has also made other acquisitions this year, including security software developer Certicom and GPS navigation company Dash.