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Flash on the iPad really? Skyfire Web browser iPad app tested

by Andy on December 15, 2011

Heres the thing everyone knows you can’t view flash on the iPad or any other iOS device. Most webmasters have realised this and at least the majority of your web experiences will be fine without it. Apples reason for this was security and also band width principally on the iPhone at the the time. That said flash video files tend to be fairly well optimised in terms of file size and with a significant proportion of the web including .flv flash videos it’s a real shame that nothing was done to allow you to view these on your iPad. Skyfire offers a browser that certainly helps with part of the problem.

So can you really get flash on the iPad? The Skyfire web browser by Skyfire Labs Inc offers part of the solution to viewing flash on the iPad. The web browser is capable of opening web pages which include flash video and processing them through Skyfires servers before allowing you to view them in there browser app. Let’s make it clear now, it’s only flash video not interactive flash files.

The first load of Skyfire.

Your presented with a fairly normal browser experience but certainly with more options than Safari. It’s focus is clearly social you can start by connecting Twitter, Facebook & Google reader accounts, this gives you quick access to what you friends are doing and the latest news from the web. This is a useful addition to your browsing experience even if it appears there might be few too many. There is a useful solution in the form of full screen mode which does a good job of giving you back a few extra pixels.

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The flash test.

As a simple test I went to iStockPhoto and checked out the first featured video that cam up. Probably not the most interesting of tests but it proved the concept. A small box opens in the right hand of the screen to let you know there is viewable flash content. It was a short preview video and so the load time was quick. Clicking on the small video images opens it full screen and ready to view. Well it loaded and played but that was a short clip, time to test something bigger. I went to Reelseo which clearly states its requirement for Flash. The video load takes its time this time after hitting the analyse button in the bottom left hand corner. It does exactly what you might expect the video loads and plays without any lag or delay.

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So what’s the final verdict. Is it worth the $2.99. The likelyhood is that your going to buy this out frustration in missing content, so as an emotional purchase it will fit the bill. It’s a good tool to have in your arsenal but unless your a social obsessive it’s unlikely that it’ll make you switch from Safari as your main browser. Its useful for the odd occasion where you find something you’d like to watch in Safari but lacks a compelling reason to use this as your main app. Worth buying but not for everyday use yet.

Tested on iOS 5.0.1
Skyfire version tested: 4.0.3
Author: Skyfire Labs Inc

Available on the App Store

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