Skyfire announces Skyfire 0.8 beta Flash-friendly mobile web browser

Skyfire playing embedded video on IntoMobile

Skyfire playing embedded video on IntoMobile

When it comes to mobile web browsing, mobile phone manufacturers and mobile web browser developers are all about telling us that their platform brings the desktop web browsing experience to the mobile space. But, that’s never entirely true. The problem is that the full-desktop version of that new-fangled communications-medium they call the I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T is usually chock full of multimedia elements like Flash-based advertisements, games, embedded videos, and interactive navigational controls. That kind of content doesn’t translate very well through mobile web browsers – FlashLite kind of works, but is wholly insufficient. That is, unless you’re using Skyfire’s Flash- and Silverlight-compatible browser on your Windows Mobile smartphone.

To that end, Skyfire has announced their Skyfire 0.8 beta for public consumption. Ending the company’s too-long private beta program, Skyfire’s new Skyfire 0.8 beta browser is now available to John and Jane Smiths the world over. And, to inaugurate the newly public Skyfire beta program, Skyfire has built some cool new features and functionality into the most lightweight, yet multimedia-savvy mobile web browser on the market – Skyfire 0.8.

Skyfire processes all web-page data through their proxy servers and pushes that data to your mobile phone. Because Skyfire’s servers are doing all the heavy data-crunching, the Skyfire browser can serve up multimedia content, like embedded videos, with the ease and speed of a full-blown desktop browser. And therein lies Skyfire’s strength in the mobile browser market. Skyfire excels in displaying multimedia-heavy webpages where Flash- or Silverlight-based animations/videos are a priority. Unfortunately, the same server-side data processing that makes for fast and smooth streaming video makes for a less-than-smooth text-viewing experience. Reading a webpage with Skyfire is still easier and faster than with many other browsers out there, but we imagine Skyfire could streamline text-processing a bit more.

You may recall, Skyfire introduced support for Silverlight-based multimedia content on the eve of the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games – making Skyfire the ideal choice for mobile web users looking to delve into their favorite video-streaming website. Skyfire 0.8 boasts:

•    Better video quality
•    Ability to make Skyfire the default browser
•    Faster launch and auto-reconnect
•    Improved zooming
•    Ability to download content
•    In-line text entry

Skyfire 0.8 beta is being offered in both Windows Mobile Standard (non-touchscreen) as well as Windows Mobile Professional (touchscreen) versions, effectively covering the entire Windows Mobile market with Flash-capable goodness.

Download Skyfire 0.8 here.

Full press release after the break.

Skyfire Opens Floodgates, Offers Full PC Web Browsing Experience on Mobile Phones
Skyfire Announces Open Beta, Improved Video Streaming, Zooming and More in New 0.8 Windows Mobile Version

(MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA) – September 24, 2008 – Skyfire, makers of the full PC Web experience browser for mobile devices, Skyfire, announced today that they are opening up registration of their free browser to all. In addition, the Mountain View based company is announcing the .8 version of their revolutionary product for Windows Mobile. The new version of Skyfire adds even more speed and ease to browsing the Internet from a mobile device.

The Skyfire browser was the first mobile browser to support full web PC browsing, including rich media content, supporting Ajax, Flash, Quicktime, Windows Media, and others.

“We don’t like to think of ourselves as a mobile Internet browser,” said Skyfire CEO and Co-Founder Nitin Bhandari. “Skyfire is a full feature Internet browser on the mobile device.

“Leaving private beta is a huge step for us,” continued Bhandari, “We have accomplished our goals of the private beta – launch, listen, improve. Demand for Skyfire has been extremely strong and we are excited to bring this more evolved product to more devices and users.”

Previously, people who wanted to enjoy the exact PC web experience on their handsets had to sign up on a waiting list for Skyfire. With today’s announcement, the latest version of the Windows Mobile Skyfire browser is available to anyone. The 0.8 iteration of Skyfire for Windows Mobile includes marked improvements.

“Our users love media rich sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and ESPN on Skyfire ” said CMO Adam Sexton, “and based on their input we added the most requested features and improved our user experience. Users can now find content more quickly with Super Bar, and can now easily share that content with anyone in their address book. ”

Super Bar
Super Bar makes it easier to find what you’re looking for, by combining URL and search entry in one bar. It also features auto complete, so you can find what you’re looking for by only typing a few letters.

Share Content
Skyfire now lets you easily share your favorite web content with others. You can send any web page via text message to anyone in your address book or beyond.

In addition to known bug fixes and general performance gains, the 0.8 version of Skyfire for Windows Mobile  also adds the following functionality:
•    Better video quality
•    Ability to make Skyfire the default browser
•    Faster launch and auto-reconnect
•    Improved zooming
•    Ability to download content
•    In-line text entry

Today, Skyfire will begin the migration of current 0.6 users to the 0.8 version and will also allow new Windows Mobile users to download it directly from www.skyfire.com.

Skyfire, which supports all Web 2.0 standards like Ajax and full Flash, is also available in version 0.6 on the Symbian S60 platform. The 0.8 version will be released for Symbian shortly.

About Skyfire
Skyfire is the creator of the Skyfire mobile browser, which extends the PC Web to mobile phones so users can experience the mobile Web exactly like they do on their PCs. The company was founded in 2006 by Nitin Bhandari and Erik Swenson, who serve as CEO and CTO, respectively. Skyfire is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures and Matrix Partners.

For more information, visit www.skyfire.com, or follow Skyfire on twitter at twitter.com/skyfire.

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