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Skyfire review

Alude904

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So! How well does the skyfire app measure up to its hype? If you consider the fact that Skyfire "sold out" or more precisely, was removed after only several hours of being in the app store, you would think its
gotta be worth a try. And for the innocent $2.99 price tag, you might just have to. When people hear about apps getting pulled from the app store, they assume it was just another app that Apple didn't approve of but this time it wasn't the case. Skyfire Labs Inc. Reached the top grossing app in just about five hours and consequently had its servers so overwhelmed that they had to remove the app just so they could play catch up.
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So why play catch up? And why need servers? Well thats the secret behind Skyfire's magic. Just like Atomic and Opera, Skyfire manipulates the web page you want to view before sending it to you. Since the iPhone cannot use any third party flash plugins but CAN view html5 web pages, Skyfire takes the webpage and all flash videos within, and converts them to a format that the iPhone can view then sends us the final product, all within a matter of seconds.
Some people have been calling Skyfire a "web browser that supports flash" but thats not the case at all. It actually tranforms regular websites into html5 websites. Skyfire is hardly a flash replacement. This also brings up the point that Skyfire can only transform flash videos and not other interactive flash goodies such as games. One thing I would like to point out is that even though the websites are sent back as html5, they are not 100% true working html5. There are definitely some html5 features lacking. A prime example is that the video does not play on the web page but is opened up in a seperate media player.
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Jumping to the app features, starting with opening the app, the first thing I noticed and personally did not like was the loading screen. It just delays me several seconds from getting to my browsing experience. Right past the loading screen, you're taken to the Skyfire home page which is set by default. It usually gives you some news and tips but as of right now is displaying a message of apology about their slow service due to the abundance of new users.
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On the main screen, glancing to the top right you'll see a settings button. This button had a supprisingly lot of settings within. A neat feature I liked was the iPhone/desktop switch. It lets you view a web page by setting a default view instead of going to a page that wont let you view it in anything but the mobile view. Another feature I'm sure some of you sketchy bunches would love is the private browsing button. This lets you browse a page without having it saved in the history or the cookies being saved. Going further into the settings, you have your usual "reset browser" features, a safe search toggle, a home page default, video alert button that tells you when you have a viewable html5 video, and an accept cookies option. One thing I started to notice, was that Skyfire has incorporated some Facebook features. One of these features is a Facebook log out button in the settings.
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Going back to the main browser window, you'll notice a few familiar/unfamiliar buttons. You have your normal add bookmark, view bookmark, navigate back/fourth buttons, and your manage page button (8 pages max). A Skyfire addition is the button of curved lines. This button lets you look more in depth about the items on that current site such as videos, tweets, trends, or related photos. It also doubles as a search field. The last icon is the center icon that looks like a movie symbol or a hour glass depending on what you're doing. As far as I've been able to tell, this is more or less a status icon. Going back to the plus or add bookmark button, you'll notice that this button isn't just your mere add bookmark option. It doubles as a quickview for your very own Facebook. It doesnt beat the Facebook app but if you're too lazy to switch apps then this feature is right up your alley.
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After checking out all the cool and useful features of Skyfire, I decided to do some testing of the app so I decided to compare a few things to Safari. I did the testing on my home wifi network for the best results and loaded both browsers with the yahoo website. One thing I noticed and liked was that the Skyfire UI seemed to work just a tad bit smoother than Safari's. Also, the overall look is nicer or at the very least, is a nice change in scenery. The main browsing screen however, is layed out similar to that of Safari's and forces me to say that it is not a full screen web browser. The address and search field disappear when scrolling but it still doesnt make up for not giving us a full screen. Considering that these web pages have to go through skyfire's servers, I thought the page loading speed was equivalent to safari's, if not even a second faster. Compared to Safari, i did like how you had your own settings right in the app and a lot of them at that. Getting to watch an actual video was kind of a bad first impression. There were a few option while watching the video but from my first few attempts, i thought the buttons were laggy or unresponsive. I couldn't ever get it to let me navigate the video track.
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Overall, skyfire is a decent web broswer with its own boastful features but it does have room to improve. Despite it not being a true html5 web broswer or even a decent flash replacement, it certainly is a big improvement on what the iphone should be alowed to do as far as apps. I could definitely see this being used as a replacement for Safari if people just give it a chance.
 

Smitty

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Nice review. Lots of info. I was going to download , but wanted to wait for my of a review. To late now I guess. Lol !
 

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