We got a look at Skyfire for iPhone last week and the promise of getting Adobe Flash videos onto our Apple devices was exciting. As expected, though still surprisingly, the app has been approved for the iOS devices by Apple. The Skyfire web browser will go for $2.99 in the app store and will be available some time Thursday morning. We got to play with a preview of the app, and came away impressed. See our Skyfire for iPhone hands-on review here.
How did the company manage to get around Apple’s loathing of Flash? CNN reports:
To get around Apple’s restriction, Skyfire came up with an innovative solution: When users click on a page that contains Flash video, Skyfire’s servers download, render and translate the video into HTML5, which is a Web standard that iOS devices support. Skyfire then displays a thumbnail that users can click on to stream the video from its servers.
Here’s what we said earlier last week about how this works:
Skyfire plays nice with Flash videos and websites (most of them, at least) because it uses a server-assisted browsing experience. Basically, the browser uses big, powerful servers to process all the Flash content on a website and then pushes that data to your phone. This means your phone doesn’t have to be super powerful and also reduces the amount of data that you’re pulling down on your smartphone data plan.
So, technically, your iPhone or iPad won’t be playing straight Flash as videos are converted so that they can be played on your iOS device, but at least this limits your restrictions when viewing the web.
But all is not perfect in Skyfire land. Determining which videos and content are in Flash and encoding it all is a huge task, and some sites have just blocked the browser completely. Hulu, which is huge for Flash lovers wanting videos on their phones, banned Skyfire from encoding its content. Additionally, Flash-based video games and non-video content will not be supported, so it’s not without some major limitations.
At any rate, it’s nice to know that when you browse the web with Skyfire, you’re less likely to see that little blue sorry-no-Flash-here icon.
The information from CNN is slightly off-base, as we’ve just learned that Skyfire will be launching on the iPhone AppStore sooner than you think (before Thursday). Keep your eyes on IntoMobile for more info.
In the meantime, why don’t you check out our Skyfire for iPhone hands-on video here?