Last updated
ThunderHawk Wikipedia Page.PNG
ThunderHawk Screenshot
Developer(s) Bitstream Inc.
Initial releaseDecember 2001
Stable release
3.00[ citation needed ] / 2008
Operating system Java ME
Type Mobile browser
License Proprietary
Website Archived 27 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine

ThunderHawk is a discontinued web browser from Bitstream available for a full range of operating systems in high end (Windows mobile and Symbian browsers) and mass-market (Java browser) mobile phones and personal digital assistants. It is basically meant for mobile operators and original equipment manufacturers and not meant to download for normal users.

Web browser software application for retrieving, presenting and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web

A web browser is a software application for accessing information on the World Wide Web. Each individual web page, image, and video is identified by a distinct Uniform Resource Locator (URL), enabling browsers to retrieve these resources from a web server and display them on a user's device.

Bitstream Inc. typeface foundry

Bitstream Inc. was a type foundry that produced digital typefaces. Founded in 1981 by Matthew Carter and Mike Parker among others, it claims to be the oldest such company. It was located in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The font business, including MyFonts, was acquired by Monotype Imaging in March 2012. The remainder of the business, responsible for Pageflex and Bolt Browser, was spun off to a new entity named Marlborough Software Development Holdings Inc. It was later renamed Pageflex, Inc following a successful management buyout in December 2013.

Symbian mobile operating system

Symbian is a discontinued mobile operating system (OS) and computing platform designed for smartphones. Symbian was originally developed as a closed-source OS for PDAs in 1998 by the Symbian Ltd. consortium. Symbian OS was a descendant of Psion's EPOC, and ran exclusively on ARM processors, although an unreleased x86 port existed. Symbian was used by many major mobile phone brands, like Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and above all by Nokia. It was also prevalent in Japan by brands including Fujitsu, Sharp and Mitsubishi. As a pioneer that established the smartphone industry, it was the most popular smartphone OS on a worldwide average until the end of 2010—at a time when smartphones were in limited use—when it was overtaken by Android, as Google and its partners achieved wide adoption. It was notably not as popular in North America.


Unlike most browsers, ThunderHawk does not re-purpose or reformat the content, and provides a similar desktop view of the web page. Data is transmitted to the mobile phone in a compressed transport format, for example, the visible web page regions (text) are received first, while the rest of the images and other data are automatically transferred in the background.

Version history

Bitstream announced the ThunderHawk technology first on June 6, 2001 in Cambridge. The official beta release went off on October 9, 2001 and included enhancements as improved readability, speed, and usability. Sonera, wireless carrier in Finland included the beta release of Bitstream's web browser technology in Sonera Pilot Program to offer hands-on testing of new UI conventions for future mobile applications.

Later, in the same year, December 17, 2001 Bitstream announced the Wireless Web browsing solution with HP for its HP Jornada PDA customers. The first full-featured Wireless Web Browser for Pocket PCs was released on May 20, 2002.

Hewlett-Packard American information technology company

The Hewlett-Packard Company or Hewlett-Packard was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. It developed and provided a wide variety of hardware components as well as software and related services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises, including customers in the government, health and education sectors.

Standards Supported

AJAX, DHTML Level 1, DOM Level 1, DOM Level 2, CSS Level 1, CSS Level 2, Frames, HTML 4.01, HTTP 1.0, HTTP 1.1, HTTPS 128-bit encryption, Feeds (RSS, ATOM, RDF), Image formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, PJPEG), XHTML Basic, XML 1.0, ECMA Script, WML, WAP 2.0.

Document Object Model convention for representing and interacting with objects in HTML, XHTML and XML documents

The Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross-platform and language-independent interface that treats an XML or HTML document as a tree structure wherein each node is an object representing a part of the document. The DOM represents a document with a logical tree. Each branch of the tree ends in a node, and each node contains objects. DOM methods allow programmatic access to the tree; with them one can change the structure, style or content of a document. Nodes can have event handlers attached to them. Once an event is triggered, the event handlers get executed.

HTML Hypertext Markup Language

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be assisted by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It is used for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS), or, formerly, its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The protocol is therefore also often referred to as HTTP over TLS, or HTTP over SSL.


When a subscriber uses ThunderHawk to access the Web, the ThunderHawk client residing on the handset communicates with the server. The server receives a connection from the client and requests an HTML Web page from the Internet. Upon receiving the requested page, the server renders the content on-the-fly and compresses the graphics. The server sends the requested HTML page in a compact transport format to the subscriber's handset.

ThunderHawk's split-screen mode allowing browsing in both overview and magnified view ThunderHawk Split Screen Magnifier View.PNG
ThunderHawk's split-screen mode allowing browsing in both overview and magnified view

ThunderHawk can run on any handset that offers MIDP 2.0, CLDC 1.0 and/or CLDC 1.1 software. The browser uses Bitstream's patented technologies for mobile browsing. [1] To display digital content on a small screen device, ThunderHawk accesses the Web site, lays out the content at a virtual pixel resolution and then displays a part of the layout at a smaller display resolution. The displayed content is at a scaled-down resolution size and includes text composed from font bitmaps having character shapes, sizes, and pixel alignments selected to improve readability.

Split-Screen Mode

ThunderHawk allows browsing in the combined overview and magnified view of a web page. The split screen magnifier makes it easier to browse the Web pages in their original format on the small screen of a mobile device. The floating magnifier over the overview area, available with both Zoom-In and Zoom-Out mode aids in finding information and navigating the Web sites. Bitstream holds the patent rights for this split-screen technology.

Rendering Modes

ThunderHawk can show the Web page content in various user enable modes including, overview only, magnified only, and a re-flown single column text view.


In computer science, secure transmission refers to the transfer of data such as confidential or proprietary information over a secure channel. Many secure transmission methods require a type of encryption. The most common email encryption is called PKI. In order to open the encrypted file an exchange of keys is done.

Incremental rendering refers to a feature built into most modern Web browsers. Specifically, this refers to the browser's ability to display a partially downloaded Web page to the user while the browser awaits the remaining files from the server. The advantage to the user is a perceived improvement in responsiveness, both from the Web browser and from the web site.

See also

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  1. "Bitstream Awarded Additional Patent for Mobile Browsing Technology".