Skyfire today submitted a mobile browser to Apple’s App Store that it says is capable of playing Flash video.
Skyfire 2.0 for iPhone follows on the heels of Skyfire’s recent launch on Android, which has seen nearly a million downloads in its first three months on the Android Market.
According to a press release from Skyfire, the new browser features a “Video” icon that enables users to play Flash videos around the Web that otherwise do not play on mobile. The technology works by transcoding the Flash content into HTML5 on Skyfire’s servers.
Skyfire 2.0 also includes an “Explore” icon, which brings up relevant content on the Internet based on what they are viewing at the time. The Explore button pulls video, buzz, news, images and other sites from the Web based on what is on the current page.
The company says it paid close attention so that its new product was built in tight accordance to Apple guidelines, including the use of a WebKit browser core shared with Safari, and h.264 adaptive streaming.
Skyfire’s cloud-computing technology translates Flash video on the fly from Web sites into HTML5 formats and supports iOS devices via Apple’s HTTP live streaming standard.
“Rather than enabling Flash, Skyfire will translate videos into Apple standards. Skyfire supports HTML5 but at the same time, we recognize that the transition to HTML5 for 100 million Flash publishers will take years. We hope to bridge that gap and solve a problem for consumers who want access to millions of previously-unavailable videos on their iPhones,” explains Jeff Glueck, CEO of Skyfire, in a statement.
The company claims that not only does Skyfire 2.0 enable Flash video while adhering to Apple’s guidelines, it also limits the effects on AT&T’s network by compressing video data by 75 percent, reducing buffer time, enhancing battery life and easing the network congestion that has caused user complaints in major metropolitan areas.
The flap between Apple and Adobe, which has been ongoing, flared recently when Apple reworked its Developers Agreement to ban the use of third-party platforms like Flash to produce apps for the iPhone.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs even went so far as to pen an open letter to Adobe, in which he outlined the reasons that Flash is not a good fit for Apple devices. “Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind,” Jobs wrote at the time.
Adobe CEO Shantan Narayen categorically denied most of the allegations posed by Jobs, the majority of which were technical concerns. Narayen has maintained that Apple’s reasons for rejecting Flash have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with politics.