Skyfire has submitted a mobile browser to Apple’s App Store that is capable of playing Flash video. It is up to Apple to decide if it wants to release an app that will compete with its own Safari browser.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has made it clear that the iOS is not going to support Flash, and his company has instead given it full support to streaming video over HTML5. The Skyfire bridges this gap by converting Flash video into HTML5 video, which can then be played on the iPhone.
Follows Apple Rules
Earlier this year, Steve Jobs wrote an open letter spelling out the reasons why Apple won’t support Adobe Flash. Two of these were that Flash would have a negative effect on performance and battery life. By converting Flash video to HTML5 video, Skyfire’s developers believe they have gotten around these problems.
In addition, Skyfire promises that its iPhone web browser was built in tight accordance to Apple guidelines, including the use of a WebKit browser core shared with Safari, and h.264 adaptive streaming.
A Proxy-based Browser
Potential users of this web browser should be aware that it heavily depends on proxy servers. These take in the raw web pages, and then serve lower bandwidth versions to the mobile device.
The advantage of this system is it requires less data to be sent to the smartphone, and pages often render faster. It also lets Skyfire render content not possible on the device, like Flash.
However, proxy-based browsers are also inherently less secure than standard web browsers. The Skyfire servers have access to everything that is done in a browser session.
Skyfire is confidant that Apple will approve its web browser for placement on the App Store.
But the final decision is up to Apple.