New Skyfire Browser for Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile Treo owners certainly are spoiled for choice when it comes to browsers nowadays, what with Pocket IE and Deepfish and Opera (plus Mini), not to mention the soon-to-come mobile Firefox. That's not going to stop tech newcomer Skyfire from wading into the crowded waters, though, with Monday's announcement of their new web browser that's designed to give a desktop-like experience on the small screen and put paid to the iPhone.

The self-titled Skyfire browser uses a proxy rendering technology similar to that of the aforementioned Deepfish and Opera Mini, transcoding pages into a proprietary format that is then squirted to your device. Unlike those browsers, however, Skyfire brings full Flash support along with AJAX and Java.

"For too long consumers have been promised the 'real Web' on their phone, only to be disappointed by slow rendering, error messages, no Flash support, watered down WAP pages or second-rate mobile versions of their favorite site," said Skyfire CEO Nitin Bhandari in a statement. "Skyfire has remedied those ills at a speed not seen before on the mobile platform. By extending the PC Web experience to smartphones, we fully expect Skyfire to fundamentally change the way people use their phones."

You can see the (quite impressive) video demonstration embedded above or here. In an interview with InfoWorld, Bhandari has said that they are talking with carriers about having the browser pre-installed onto handsets, but that advertising and search could also be potential moneymakers.

Skyfire is currently available as a private beta. You can sign up here. If you can snag a copy, let us know in the comments how it turns out.

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nybble @ 1/30/2008 9:10:18 AM # Q
Looks interesting and well done - nice to see java and flash in the browser - although I wonder what will happen to browsing if connectivity isn't great. The zooming looks fixed, not column sensitive, which isn't perfect either. Still for a beta it looks really promising.

My main issue is the whole proxy thing. It ties the browser to the well being of the company, pushes all your usage patterns into their logs and for what? The iPhone's already proven you can get good performance and functionality without it. What's the win with the proxy?

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RE: interesting
SeldomVisitor @ 1/30/2008 9:14:51 AM # Q
The iPhone does not use a proxy?

[question based off the fact that Visual Voicemail is server-based]

RE: interesting
freakout @ 1/30/2008 6:47:00 PM # Q
^^ Nope, it's all on-board rendering - uses the Safari engine. Webkit, I think.

I wonder how they do the Flash video. Have they developed some kind of WinMob plugin or are they transcoded as well?

I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: interesting
SeldomVisitor @ 1/30/2008 6:53:19 PM # Q
No, what I meant is the actual surfing, not rendering, could easily go through a proxy server since, for example, Visual Voicemail already has to "go through" a server (thus logs could be kept about etc etc etc).

RE: interesting
freakout @ 1/30/2008 7:55:00 PM # Q
Mobile web surfing goes via the telco's internet proxy, regardless of device, methinks.
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