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Skyfire iOS browser approved by Apple, converts Flash video to HTML5

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
A new Apple-approved iPhone and iPad mobile browser from a startup company, set to launch this week, converts video from Adobe Flash to HTML5, though it won't work with Hulu.

The new Skyfire browser will be available for download at 9 a.m. Eastern on Thursday for $2.99 from the App Store, and will convert Flash video to HTML5 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users. It was profiled Tuesday by CNNMoney.com, which noted the browser won't work with Flash-based games, or popular TV streaming site Hulu.

The Skyfire browser already brought similar functionality earlier this year to Google's Android platform. Skyfire 2.0, launched in May 2010, has more than 1.5 million downloads on handsets running Google's mobile operating system.

"Like the Android version, Skyfire for iOS isn't a standalone application, but rather a tool that works on top of Apple's Safari Web browser," the report said. "As a result, the company said the app was given a rather rigorous review from Apple, but it was approved in less than two months. Apple did not return a request for comment on why it approved Skyfire for its App Store."

The application gets around Apple's ban of Adobe Flash by having Skyfire's servers download Flash video and convert it to HTML5. When a user visits a page with Flash, they see a selectable thumbnail which then allows the content to be streamed directly to the iOS device, negating the need for Flash.

Because games require interactivity, the service won't work with them. And Hulu has apparently actively blocked Skyfire, as the TV streaming service requires users to pay $10 per month for access via its native Hulu Plus application.


As Flash has been banned from Apple's iOS devices, and had a limited presence so far on Android handsets, many websites have begun to offer content in both Flash and HTML5, to ensure compatibility with mobile browsers. One recent study found that more than half of all Web video is available in HTML5.

Apple's opposition to Flash has caused a rift between it and Adobe. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs made waves in April, when he published an open letter on Flash, suggesting the Web technology is unfit for the modern era of mobile browsers.
post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A new Apple-approved iPhone and iPad mobile browser from a startup company, set to launch this week, converts video from Adobe Flash to HTML5,
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Good news.

It seems to be a bit of a kludge, though. Sort of like the Opera way of doing things - sort things out on a powerful computer, and transmit something easily digestible by a handheld. In both cases, however, the handheld is powerful enough to do it just fine. So I don't really see the point of the "translating and resending" step.
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

Good news.

It seems to be a bit of a kludge, though. Sort of like the Opera way of doing things - sort things out on a powerful computer, and transmit something easily digestible by a handheld. In both cases, however, the handheld is powerful enough to do it just fine. So I don't really see the point of the "translating and resending" step.

Heat, battery life, cutting back on os bloat...
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post #4 of 27
Good news, will probably give it a wirl, though most video i see now is playable on iPhone.
--SHEFFmachine out
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--SHEFFmachine out
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post #5 of 27
The reason why flash video got so popular was 1. it was installed in a lot of browsers and 2. it was a unified container for video distribution than having multiple formats of the same and eliminated having users to download additional video player plugin.

Now everyone is going back to the traditional HTML <embed> tag days of .mov, .wmv, .rv video formats. Except that there is no plugins required as the player is built in the browser and a standard h.264 codec thats widely adopted including mobile phones.

Once Youtube has finalized all the videos to HTML5, the flash player will just be an alternative for old browsers.
post #6 of 27
I hope there aren't too many people who decide to buy this kludge.

But... 'sigh'
post #7 of 27
I don't miss flash enough to actually pay for it...
post #8 of 27
Now people can shut up about not having the option of displaying proprietary, clunky, battery hogging, insecure, antiquated Flash on their iDevices.
post #9 of 27
That's all I wanna know.\
post #10 of 27
F Hulu for constantly blocking solutions.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muncie View Post

That's all I wanna know.\

Doesn't ESPN have an app?
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtm135 View Post

F Hulu for constantly blocking solutions.

The free content on Hulu has been quietly trimmed back & sometimes pulled outright, I think Hulu is slowly trying to push everyone towards having to pay a subscription. Before too long we may see them come more in direct competition with Netflix & Blockbuster, not sure that is a fight they can win.
post #13 of 27
Yeah, I'm not sure exactly how I might use this. I block Flash as is on my notebook and desktop browsers, and click to activate if needed. Some websites could use it, I guess, but those that come to mind are usually sites I'm going to for information, not necessarily for media. It will be interesting to see if this is only for steaming media or if this will also allow for entering data. Offhand, car manufacturer websites come to mind, entering zip codes, or clicking on various specifications, etc., via a Flash interface.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

The free content on Hulu has been quietly trimmed back & sometimes pulled outright, I think Hulu is slowly trying to push everyone towards having to pay a subscription. Before too long we may see them come more in direct competition with Netflix & Blockbuster, not sure that is a fight they can win.

I thought Blockbuster already filed for bankruptcy.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The new Skyfire browser will be available for download at 9 a.m. Eastern on Thursday for $2.99 from the App Store, and will convert Flash video to HTML5 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users.

I can't believe that people are falling for this nonsense.

Skyfire isn't converting anything to HTML5. They are transcoding video only (HTML is a markup language), and displaying it outside the web page context.

They know very well that they are lying, but they continue to actively lie.

Add to that the company's unknown business model, and, well...
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

Good news.

It seems to be a bit of a kludge, though. Sort of like the Opera way of doing things - sort things out on a powerful computer, and transmit something easily digestible by a handheld. In both cases, however, the handheld is powerful enough to do it just fine. So I don't really see the point of the "translating and resending" step.

There is a point, and that is to cut down on data and processing on the phone.

However, I wouldn't trust Skyfire if my life depended on it. They have been caught lying many times.

That, and their transcoded video sucks. Laggy and poor.

And I don't want to come across as an Apple fanboy (I'm 100% open to other companies making good products), but seriously... Flash. Steve Jobs did the right thing by fighting this scourge of the internet. Flash needs to die. It doesn't need to corrupt even more platforms. But the fact that Apple approved this crappy video player (Skyfire) proves that they really were all about the technical aspects when they refused Flash. Some people made it out to be a personal vendetta by Steve Jobs, but that is clearly not the case. Apple just wants the best experience possible. Flash does not provide you with a good experience.
post #17 of 27
So no games. Fine with me. What is this good for then? Displaying ads?

(But I might be biased I am using "click to flash" and the web has become a quiet place for me. i7 seems to peak at 44°C now, CPU fan running at 938rpm.)

Me likes.
post #18 of 27
This is totally irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. No sane person would decide to forgo converting their video to open standards based on the existence of this browser because a) you can't count on people having it and b) you can't even count on the people who do have it using it. Like the Opera browser, while a neat parlor trick, it really has very little reason to exist.
post #19 of 27
I don't get the hate for this. I think it's actually both cool and useful. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I get links to something that's in Flash and I'm just SOL. I don't know if I'll pay $3 for it but I might and it certainly has a use. And, as mentioned by another user, if it works with ESPN3 that alone would make it worth it...
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post

I thought Blockbuster already filed for bankruptcy.

They did, but they are not going out of business. They are going to put more of an effort into their online business. They aren't competitive with netflix on the streaming side of the buisiness yet, but you can now get games from them and the tie in with their physical stores is a big plus.
post #21 of 27
I just bid good riddance to flash. I was horrified the day I discovered about flash cookies. It's the complete lack of transparency that concerns me.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

I just bid good riddance to flash. I was horrified the day I discovered about flash cookies. It's the complete lack of transparency that concerns me.

Excellent point. I only found out about Flash cookies a month ago myself and I was HORRIFIED! Typical underhand Adobe behaviour.
Anyways... I got that Cookie Manager program from the Apple Downloads section and all is right in the world again.
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post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post

I don't get the hate for this.

It's crapware. It apparently spies on the user. The company even stated that they thought not collecting personal information was "outside the norm."
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by insike View Post

It's crapware. It apparently spies on the user. The company even stated that they thought not collecting personal information was "outside the norm."

That may be true but, seriously, let's be honest with ourselves here. Apple spies on us, Google spies on us, tons of things we think are useful and helpful are because someone "spied" on us. That doesn't mean it's right but that does mean that saying it's crapware because of that isn't really a valid argument when I'm sure you don't think iTunes is crapware.

If you do think iTunes is crapware then that's fine, this is crapware as well but I've long since believed that if you don't want someone knowing something about you on the internet don't do it - someone or something is always going to be able to log who you are, where you're from etc etc etc.
post #25 of 27
I might get this app just to give it a shot.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muncie View Post

That's all I wanna know.\

Yes you'll be able to watch games on ESPN3. I watched World Cup games on my Droid and the picture clarity was great. It doesn't always work but some video is better than none and until HTML5 is widely used it is a great alternative.
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"I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agreed of the answer my brain got" a 7 yr old explaining his math HW
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post #27 of 27
Sounds interesting, but I can save 3 bucks by either going to my computer if I really want to see something or I can just wait for Apple to include this technology or I can wait until sites stop using Flash.
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