Skyfire Revisited: Hulu Works... For Now
Flash playback is now working in the Android version of Skyfire.
At the end of April, the Skyfire 2.0 web browser hit the Android Market and promised to bring Adobe Flash to Google's mobile platform. Although Flash will receive native support in the upcoming Android 2.2 update, the browser was to bring Flash-based content early. Unfortunately, its claims seemed to be false, refusing to play Flash-based content provided by Hulu, ABC.com and other media-laden websites.
But now that's changed. The browser recently received an update, and although the developer doesn't address Flash specifically in the release notes, suddenly Hulu content now plays within the browser. Users new to Skyfire may be thrown off at first however, as the content does not display directly on the webpage, but rather in a pop-up window via the browser's SkyBar.
At the time of this writing, Hulu video is playing rather well, showing a little lag that may stem from the phone's 3G connection (as opposed to switching over to the recommended Wi-Fi). Currently the Android platform is the only qualified candidate for Skyfire 2.0, however version 1.5 is available for Windows Mobile and Symbian.
Guess Flash finally found his running shoes? Think again. After writing this article, the PR firm representing Skyfire revealed Hulu's evil intentions in an email. "Skyfire is blocked by Hulu," the spokesperson told Tom's. "Their servers identify any incoming traffic from Skyfire's cloud servers, which render the video from Flash to HTML5. Sometimes Skyfire works on Hulu while Skyfire does routine updates of our servers. Typically, though, it's intermittent before Hulu re-blocks us."
So that means no portable Hulu love for Android owners? "Chances are that process is going on again," the spokesperson added. "From our standpoint, we haven't learned of Hulu intentionally allowing Skyfire to work."
Hulu must be owned by Dr. Evil. So much for portable, mid-day Maury. Still, Flash or no Flash (which may now depend on site allowances rather than software issues), Skyfire is an awesome browser for Android... definitely one to keep around.