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Skyfire Brought Flash Video to iOS, Then Pulled

Wednesday Skyfire offered its popular mobile web browser on Apple's App Store, providing iOS users a way to view Flash-based video by converting the files to HTML5.

The browser previously landed on the Android Market shortly before Google officially released the Flash-enabled Android 2.2 (Froyo) update. As we reported earlier this year, Skyfire proved to work in most cases, sending the Flash video element out to its servers for transcoding and then piping the converted video back to the device. When the browser discovered a Flash video it could convert, the Video section of the browser's Skybar prompted a pop-up window containing its built-in video player. If nothing appeared, then the conversion didn't work.

According to the company, the Skyfire browser has been downloaded from the Android Market more than 1 million times since its release. Although currently labeled as "beta," the browser is free to download and install. However those seeking a mobile alternative to watching Hulu movies and TV shows are out of luck--Hulu is blocking all content.

Surprisingly, Skyfire decided to tack on a $2.99 pricetag for iOS users. Yet just five hours after its launch on the Apps Store, the browser was removed. Five hours. Initially it was believed to be another Apple approval mishap as we've seen countless times before, but Skyfire quickly clarified by reporting that consumer demand far exceeded Skyfire's initial projections.

"The user experience was performing well for the first few hours, but as the surge continued, the peak load on our servers and bandwidth caused the video experience to degrade," the company claims in a blog post. "Thus we are effectively ‘sold out’ and will temporarily not accept new purchases from the App Store. We are working really hard to increase capacity and will be accepting new purchases from the App Store as soon as we can support it."

Due to the browser's Flash-oriented roots, conspiracy theorists may believe otherwise, pointing a finger at Apple. But a bandwidth overload isn't surprising given that iOS users have waited for Flash-based video (albeit converted) for quite some time.

Once Skyfire gets up to speed to handle the heavy load, iOS users should be able to purchase the app by heading here.

  • DjEaZy
    ... next thing... apple buy's skyfire...
    Reply
  • nevertell
    You see, Apple. People DO need flash.
    Reply
  • Ragnar-Kon
    nevertellYou see, Apple. People DO need flash.Maybe I'm the only one that feels this way, but I'd prefer a phone with battery life rather than a phone with flash.

    But at the same time, I don't see why Apple couldn't at least give users the option when they originally released their iPhone. Whatever. Some companies' policies will never make sense to me.
    Reply
  • welshmousepk
    Ragnar-KonMaybe I'm the only one that feels this way, but I'd prefer a phone with battery life rather than a phone with flash.But at the same time, I don't see why Apple couldn't at least give users the option when they originally released their iPhone. Whatever. Some companies' policies will never make sense to me.
    as if the capability to use flash somehow degrades battery life?

    its just another case of apple assuming everyone stupid, and making decisions on their behalf.
    Reply
  • Griffolion
    One would hope Apple learns from this. This serves as a stark message that iOS users want flash based content, perhaps the iOS devs will consider this.
    Reply
  • Ragnar-Kon
    welshmousepkas if the capability to use flash somehow degrades battery life?its just another case of apple assuming everyone stupid, and making decisions on their behalf.It does degrade battery life. Granted, it may not degrade battery life as much Jobs claims, but using Flash while browsing the web will definitely suck up more battery life than browsing the web without it.

    This isn't to say that HTML5-specific features don't degrade battery life, as I'm sure it does. But the problem with Flash is that there are MANY websites out there that run Flash advertisements, and those advertisements eventually take their toll on battery life. To me, running a browser without Flash is almost synonymous with running a browser with AdBlock installed.
    So I personally would rather have a phone without Flash installed, as it will save my battery life, and also reduce the amount of unwanted data transfered that racks up my data plan.

    But as I've said before, I think the option to run Flash should at least be there, rather than Apple's method of pretending that Flash is the spawn of the devil for mobile devices.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    Clearly steve was right, that people didn't need flash! lol
    Reply
  • It's obvious that att cannot handle the additional load on their data network (they are already overloaded in major metros across the country, and dont even have 3g in most places)

    iPhone should be on Verizon soon and then watch Steve Jobs change his tune and welcome flash.

    Reply
  • killerclick
    Yay, The Colbert Report!
    Reply
  • bustapr
    Lol, only 5 hours and there was a server overload. But as long as Almighty Jobs says flash isnt important, he is right(according to him and his slaves). 5 hours...wow
    Reply