Opera’s entrance into the iPhone AppStore with their speed-tastic Opera Mini web browser went off like gang-busters the other day. With server-assisted page-renders, Opera Mini has the potential – especially over slower EDGE networks – to download and render webpages faster than the iPhone’s native Safari web browser. That’s big for iPhone users without consistent access to 3G data speeds. Today, the other server-assisted web browser, Skyfire, is throwing their hat into the iRing with a blog post stating their intention to pursue “iDevices” with the Skyfire browser.
The blog post congratulates both Apple and Opera for 1) allowing a competing web browser to be used on the iPhone and 2) for porting the not-too-well-known browser to the iPhone platform. The launch of Opera Mini on iPhone set a “solid precedent” and apparently gave Skyfire reason to be “heartened” by the Apple’s decision.
This is what the Skyfire team has to say about their browser’s potential on iPhone:
The Skyfire team has been watching the Opera submission and the iPhone/iPad market closely, and this will certainly accelerate our strategy on iDevices. Nothing to announce now, but stay tuned for news. If you want to stay updated, please follow Skyfire on Facebook or Twitter and be the first to hear.
The implications here are big. The iPhone still doesn’t – and never will, if Steve Jobs has anything to say about it – work with Adobe’s Flash technology. Aside from playing Farmville and interacting with Flash-based menus, that lack of compatibility locks the Apple smartphone out of any Flash-based streaming video on the web. This is where Skyfire comes in. The Mountain View-based company’s browser has the potential to side-step this little obstacle by processing all sorts of rich online media (Flash, Silverlight, etc.) through their servers, allowing the browser to stream video to smartphones. If this browser goes iPhone, the AppStore will finally be home to a browser that can view embedded videos of all sorts. That is, if Apple doesn’t succeed in killing off Flash with HTML5.
You can be sure we’ll be following the Skyfire story closely. The team recently opened up their Skyfire for Android beta to a select group of alpha testers, so it’s possible that we’ll soon see the company announcing the same sort of tester program aimed at iPhone users.