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Rockmelt launches social browser for iOS

There are only a few big names in the browser wars: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. At a stretch you could throw Opera in there too. At least people have heard of it, if only because they use its mobile offering.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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Among the smaller browsers that have tried to stake a claim in the market, Rockemlt stood out. In part this was down to its built-in integration of social media. But it also had serious backing in the form of Netscape founder Marc Andreessen.

In the last little while though, things have been quiet from the company, which hasn’t really managed to capture any meaningful share in the global browser market. Now though, it’s attempting to take the social browsing experience to the iPad.

It’s doing so, it says, because it reckons the web still offers experiences that apps just can’t:

We love the web. The web is unparalleled in the depth and richness of content it offers. No app comes close. You can find stuff that makes you laugh or wonder. You can find cute stuff and weird stuff. You can spend a few seconds finding the answer to a specific question or hours exploring whatever interests you.

But it also loves the iPad:

The beautiful display, the feel of it in our hands, and all the incredible things it enables us to do. We love how it makes computing more accessible to more people. The iPad entertains and informs; it helps us communicate and learn.

It claims that the browser is an attempt to marry those two loves while integrating social in the same way it has with its desktop browser.

The browser opens up with content on the front page, in a bid to make it easier for people to browse without having to type in a URL. Rockmelt also says that the browser is designed specifically for touch and the iPad in particular and that it built the browser so that people could have access to the whole web and not “some curated subset”. “We wanted to enhance the serendipitous discovery that makes the web so awesome. One discovery leads to another and then another”.

While I’m inclined to agree with Rockmelt’s sentiments, I’m not sure how many iPad users will flock to the new browser. As Wired notes, people tend to stick with the default browser on tablets and smartphones even more than they do on computers.

If it is successful however, you can bet that the big players in the browser wars will throw considerable ammo at developing something along the same lines.