I’ve written about the excellent SkyFire Web Browser and it’s ability to play Flash Videos on the iPhone before, but the browser has received a major update today, which adds several new features.
One of the first things you will notice when you load SkyFire is that Web Browsing is now Full Screen. Whilst browsing, the Apps control buttons slide off screen, to get the controls back just scroll back up to the very top of the web page.
Full Screen Browsing with SkyFire
SkyFire now includes several Social Media functions including direct access to your Twitter and Facebook feeds, adds the ability to show the popular pages on the current website and it’s now possible to ‘Like’ a Webpage directly from the Browsers interface.
Social Media Functionality in SkyFire
With the upgrade of Skyfire comes an increase in the number of video sites that work in the Browser, a big selling point of Skyfire has always been the ability to view Flash Videos on the iPhone and now your correct location is reported so that you can watch Videos that are locked to your region, for example I’m in the UK so I can now watch the Football match highlights.
BBC Football highlights
You can download Skyfire from the AppStore now.
The BBC website has a large amount of good quality video content available free of charge, but unfortunately most of it is published in Flash Format, so unless it also appears on iPlayer there’s no way of watching it on the iPhone’s Safari Web Browser.
Fortunately as previously mentioned in this post the low cost Skyfire Browser provides a solution.
Providing an interface for Flash video the BBC website becomes a brilliant repository of Video news, interviews & features, all of which wouldn’t normally be available on the iPhone. It is worth pointing out that sporting highlights tend to be blocked on mobile devices, so if you are looking for a solution to watch the football match highlights you will need a different solution, and Skyfire do place an advert before some streams but this shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment to much.
As these examples show, the BBC website becomes a very useful site and now more content then ever before is available to iPhone users.
The BBC WebScape Website, contains video that can't normally be seen on the iPhone
SkyFire plays the WebScape video without problem
The BBC's FA Cup Focus program played through their website
Many of the most popular websites on the web use Adobe Flash to deliver video to your computer screen, but unless the site specifically provided an alternative for the iPhone, users haven’t been able to view flash video.
Now there is a new web browser available in the App store called Skyfire providing a method of delivering Flash Video directly to your iPhone. Skyfire proxy the Sites through their servers and convert the Flash into a video format that the iPhone can understand, and it works brilliantly.
When you visit a webpage that has a Flash video contained on it, after a few seconds an icon appears at the bottom of the screen as shown in the screenshot below, this is your indication that the video is ready to be played. Pressing the icon will then start the video.
The video is smooth and this is a very clever solution, to one of the iPhone’s biggest criticism. The following screen shot was captured showing video from the SkySports Website on the iPhone.
In addition to the ability to play Flash video, Skyfire is a great web browser. Pages load quickly and are well rendered. Many iPhone users are now adopting Skyfire as their default web browser.
To install Skyfire, goto the App Store on your handset and search for Skyfire Web browser.