Skyfire 2.0 beta for Android brings Flash goodness, puts others on notice

SkyfireThere's a new browser in town, and it's a doozy. Not content to wait around for Adobe to finalize their Flash 10.1 offering for Android, Skyfire today released version 2.0 of their namesake browser in beta form. Utilizing server-side compression similar to how Opera Mini speeds up page loads, Skyfire has long been a staple browser for WinMo and Symbian fans as they looked for a way around their horrible native browsers, and it's now available here for all versions of Android.

The big draw here for Android users is the ability to playback Flash videos, thanks to a new feature called SkyBar. Activated with the Menu button, SkyBar pops up at the bottom of the screen and gives the option to play videos on the current page, explore similar content from around the web, or share the page via most popular social networks.

Instead of being embedded in the browser, where it would be too small for comfortable viewing, Flash content is converted by Skyfire's servers and then sent back as compatible fullscreen videos. In the toolbar at the top of the page, there are options to change the user agent from mobile to desktop without having to restart the browser.

After playing with Skyfire a little bit this afternoon, I have already deleted Dolphin and Opera Mini (once again) from my Nexus One. Skyfire has replaced them, and I look for it to get even better as it nears full release status. One little quirk that I hope gets tweaked is the pinch-to-zoom, which lags a bit but does nothing to dampen my thoughts on the browser.

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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