People who want iPhones that play Flash videos don’t get what they want because up until recently, they didn’t exist. On November 4th, the Skyfire browser was finally released for the public.
The app is a stand-alone WebKit browser for the iOS devices (like iCab Mobile) and has been available for Android phones for a while, and was only approved for iOS devices after a “rigorous process.” This browser is different from other WebKit browsers in a couple of ways; the major difference is that this browser has a thumbnail which allows viewers to stream Flash videos from websites.
The streaming works by a conversion process to HTML5, since iOS (and Apple products in general) will always have some issue with running Flash videos as is. The browser sends the video to be transcoded on the Skyfire servers, converted to HTML5 and returned to be played as an HTML5 video. The only issue is that this service comes with a couple of caveats. The first is that Hulu won’t support the browser, reasons being obviously economical. The other caveat is that interactive Flash apps, like web games, won’t actually work on it because of the interactivity involved.
The browser itself looks pretty decent, and is pretty functional, as seen in the demonstration video below. The app has already sold over 1.5 Million for the Android, and while not many stats have been released, the comments listed on the Apps Store have suggested it might not fit the shoe that it’s been trying on. It does look hopeful for development.