Skyfire is a browser on the iPad that can render Flash video. That’s right I said Flash. Now I have been using the app for the last few weeks and let me tell you what it can do.
There are lots of things I really like about this browser. For starters, private browsing, which is something not available safari for the IOS devices. This allows you to browse without leaving behind any history, cache, and cookies. It’s an interesting feature to have but I don’t really find a need to for it, but can see benefits for some users.
Skyfire has a handy option that allows websites to open in the full desktop mode and not in mobile view. That always drove me crazy when I visited a site and it would automatically revert to the mobile site. Having this option enabled ensures that it will never happen and I will see a full site every time.
Of course the reason to buy this browser is the flash video player and it is a nice feature to have. With Skyfire, you can now navigate to your favourite video or TV show sites and watch all the content inside the browser. But loading times are inconsistent and I have experienced the odd lag or audio sync issues. In general, Flash video worked great and integrates that missing element to mobile browsing.
The user interface is almost identical to safari, which is nice because it was easy to pick up and use right away. I would have liked more originality with way the interface looks so it would stand out from safari or any other browsers. Skyfire has a menu bar at bottom with items like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader. This was a great idea having all your social media just a tap away. However, the social media links took you to the mobile and iDevice versions of the sites which was a disappointment. I really would have liked to see a link to the full sites or Skyfire’s own Facebook and Twitter clients. Another annoying feature is the splash screen at startup. This slows down the browser load time and is really cumbersome when you just want to open a browser.
Overall for the price of $4.99, Skyfire is a decent little browser and if you really need Flash video then this is the app for you.