Let's not mince words: any way you slice it, RIM's built-in browser for BlackBerry renders sites about as well as your $199 netbook renders Avatar. The good news is that we've got every reason to believe the company recognizes the problem and is working to solve it -- but on a completely unrelated front, they're trying to speed up the process of fetching raw data off the interwebs, too. In a patent app made public this month, RIM's lab geeks describe setting up a proxy server right on the phone that would intercept the browser's web requests and bundle, compress, and send them to a gateway on the other end (BIS, we presume) that would know how to deal with the packet. Likewise, compressed data would be sent back to the proxy, which would expand and deliver standard HTTP to the browser, just as it would normally expect. The proxy component would have other tricks up its sleeve, too, like automatically downloading and caching images in an HTML stream so that they're ready when the browser wants them. In practice, really, it'll make no difference to the end user whether all this magic is accomplished in a proxy or the browser itself -- as long as we get some thoroughly-reworked rendering capability to go along with it, of course.

[Thanks, Anand]