SkyFire–the mobile browser with the built-in ability to play many (though not all) Flash videos–is now available in a $4.99 iPad edition.
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It’s become a bizarre rite of passage: Interesting apps for the iPhone and iPad keep appearing, getting attention, and then being literally overwhelmed by consumer response.
The latest example: Skyfire, the smartphone browser that lets you watch some Flash videos on an iPhone. It hit the App Store on Wednesday. Then throngs of people read about it and downloaded it. The app, which is as much a service as a piece of software–it relies servers which translate Flash video into an iPhone-friendly format on the fly–stopped working in any sort of satisfactory way, and its creators yanked it from the App Store.
Now it’s back, sort of –they’re letting in new users in drips and drabs by putting Skyfire on the App Store and then taking it down and then putting it up again. (It seems to be up at the moment.)
[UPDATE: Skyfire has been pulled from the App Store. Engadget says that Skyfire did the deed itself because demand for it was crushing its servers–and here’s the official word.]
Wanna watch Flash video on your iPhone? If you sit around waiting for Apple and Adobe to make nice isn’t worth the effort, you’re going to grow moss. But a partial solution is available today: Skyfire, a browser that can play some Flash-based video that’s not otherwise available on iOS devices. Apple has approved it, and it’s now on the App store for $2.99.
As with the Android version that came out last spring (before FlashPlayer itself shipped for Android), the iPhone edition of the browser scans Web pages for Flash-based video. In many–but not all–cases, it’ll pop up a thumbnail video icon, which means that it can play a version of the video converted into the iPhone’s H.264 format. Click on the icon, and Skyfire will buffer and play the video.
Is the Skyfire browser being submitted to Apple’s App Store soon? If so, does the iPhone version include Skyfire’s trademark support for (some) Flash videos? And if it does, is there any chance in heck that Apple will approve it? Inquiring minds want to know…
At some point in the second half of this year–assuming it isn’t delayed–Adobe is going to ship Flash Player 10.1 for Android phones, thereby unlocking gazillions of hours of Flash video on the Web for owners of Android handsets. Mobile browser company Skyfire intends to beat it to the punch. It’s released a beta of Skyfire 2.0 for Android, a free, ad-supported browser that can play Flash video–although not all of it by a long shot–on handsets running Android 1.5 and above.
Mobile browser maker Skyfire is congratulating rival Opera for the arrival of Opera Mini on the iPhone App Store–and saying that it wants to put its browser on the iPhone (and, it sounds like, the iPad). Which is interesting not only because it’s a neat product, but because it could put Flash sites on the iPhone without putting Flash on the iPhone–like Mini, Skyfire caches and compresses sites on the server, but it goes further by transmitting everything–including Flash video, audio, and interactivity–to the phone.
Wonder how Apple (not to mention Adobe) would feel about that?
Hey, BlackBerry fans, good news: