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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    steve-jsteve-j Posts: 320member
    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,

    [/url][/c]



    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.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    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...
  • Reply 3 of 26
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Good news, will probably give it a wirl, though most video i see now is playable on iPhone.
  • Reply 4 of 26
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    jon tjon t Posts: 131member
    I hope there aren't too many people who decide to buy this kludge.



    But... 'sigh'
  • Reply 6 of 26
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    I don't miss flash enough to actually pay for it...
  • Reply 7 of 26
    cimcim Posts: 197member
    Now people can shut up about not having the option of displaying proprietary, clunky, battery hogging, insecure, antiquated Flash on their iDevices.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    That's all I wanna know.\
  • Reply 9 of 26
    rtm135rtm135 Posts: 310member
    F Hulu for constantly blocking solutions.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Muncie View Post


    That's all I wanna know.\



    Doesn't ESPN have an app?
  • Reply 11 of 26
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    insikeinsike Posts: 188member
    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...
  • Reply 15 of 26
    insikeinsike Posts: 188member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    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...
  • Reply 19 of 26
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,240member
    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.
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