Bolt Browser Discontinued! Servers Shut Down

"Discontinued" message overlay in Bolt Browser

The popular Android and Mobile Java proxy browser Bolt,  is being discontinued. The cloud service that it runs on will be shut down on Dec 14th, 2011.  The news came in the form of a cryptic message overlay that started appearing today in the browser. It reads

Dear Bolt User, the free BOLT mobile browsing service will be discontinued starting Dec-14, 2011. Unfortunately, the economic circumstances prevent us from running a free service going forward. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your loyalty and support. more

The “more” link returns a 404 “Not found” error. PC vistors to Boltbrowser.com see a similar message. Other pages on the boltbrowser.com domain like boltbrowser.com/forum and boltbrowser.com/download also return “Not found” errors. The Bolt app has been removed from the Android Market as well. The message suggests that Bolt may continue as a paid app but I’ve been unable to find any information about that and the sudden closure of the Bolt Forum and help pages suggests that a paid version is not imminent.

Proxy browsers like Bolt are an important part of the mobile Web infrastructure. They allow old and low end feature phones to browse virtually the entire web and cut data traffic by up to 90%, which speeds up page loads on slow networks and saves money for users on metered data plans.  Bolt was one of the big three of proxy browsers, along with Opera Mini and the UC Browser.  Bolt was unique in that in addition to reformating and compressing Web pages on the server, it also transcoded Flash and HTML5 video into a format that most phones could display.

Bolt is a product of Bitstream Ltd., whose main business is font tecnology.  Bitsream has been posting losses for  while and is in the process of merging with Monotype, another font foundry. As part of the merger, Bitstream’s non-font assets, including Bolt, are being spun off into a new company called  Marlborough Software Development Holdings Inc. whose first order of business seems to be liquidating the unprofitable browser business.

Proxy browsers are supported by selling search engine and default bookmark placements and licensing the technology to handset makers and operators.  Transcoding Web content is expensive but transcoding video is an order of magnitute more so, which I suspect made Bolt unsustainable economically. Opera Mini and UC do not transcode video so hopefully they will survive. Opera says that Opera Mini is profitable.  I don’t know about UC, which I think is privately held.

73 thoughts on “Bolt Browser Discontinued! Servers Shut Down

  1. huhuhu. i really miss BOLT browser.. its the best browser i’ve ever had.. the browser that can browser faster than other … wish it wud be back A.S.A.P..i really miss it..

  2. The answer to that better wap sites by internet providers. By the way the gmail app that works on my java phone well i tried in on some of the new touch screen java phones comming out of China the app loads fine but gmail cant comunicate with the handsets says they dont have the appropriate certificate.

  3. thank you Dennis for sending me the link this morning i downloaded the Bolt modded by Bassel Bakr it works fine , i have the Opera 6.1 but Bolt is the closest thing to desktop. if bitstream had massive sever space like google, facebook or microsoft it maybe would have been more cost effect to run Bolt

  4. guys i have got a working version the 2.31 unsigned. go to boostapps.com .the site is for boost nextel and sprint users but all can download. the browser is working good and i*m writing this post from bolt. goodluck!

  5. Is anybody using a Blackberry that has sucessfully installed this app..I’m using a 8530 and this App doesn’t work me me..Please make a blackberry version of this….Thanx

  6. guyz, i finally stumbled on a version that still woks…at least till today ie..22nd dec. If u r interested here is the link and remember to say THANK YOU!

    myfreewap.com/m/uploads/sbb_bolt_browser_v2.31.jar.html

  7. Discontinued of bolt mobilebrowser service was painful.i used bolt on my Nokia because it load full content of web.in term of service,bolt is no 1.i hope that one day bolt would definitely return to its quality service.

  8. Discontinued of bolt mobilebrowser services is very unfortunate. I enjoyed boltbroswer more than anyothers browser.i hope one day bolt will return in brand new service as usual.

  9. Bolt was my only browser I surf web, it was a one and only browser having features like free copy, flash video, PC webpage loading in few seconds and the most important things that it was soo light weight,
    I am just alone now I wish they’ll bring bolt again free.

  10. It was the time I stared using and enjoying bolt that it closed up. It’s indeed painfuuuuuuuuuuul! I’m seriously looking forward for the time that bolt will come up again.

  11. so now u wanna tell us, we are not gonna use bolt browser again or ok tell us a day or a mounth a year u gonna finish solving the problem we are facing on bolt now ok…..

  12. Its a great loss. I m using bolt more than 2 years. No other browser can even think to be in equal position to bolt.. I miss bolt browser so much….

  13. I am crying.
    What an awesome browser!
    There are many options for Android.
    But for Java, its simply the best.
    Oh God!
    Using BOLT, I am writing this comment.

  14. PLEASE BOLT DONT SHUT DOWN..! :'(
    I LOVE THIS APP.. WITHOUT IT I CANT READ BANGLA BLOGS..

    THIS APP IS THE BEST..
    I USE BOLT INDIC.. IT’S FAST.. OPERA LOADS BITMAP FONTS BUT IT ISN’T FAST.. SOMETIMES CNT EVEN LOAD THE WHOLE PAGE.. :(

  15. Well, it means it was profitable but isn’t anymore. The Nokia’s new default proxy browser might have play a role on this, people ended up not searching for alternatives anymore and the lower of the alternatives became unprofitable.
    First it was Skyfire AFAIK, and now Bolt…

    UC is still working on new versions so of course it’s still in the game.

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