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Review: Skyfire Mobile Browser

Is This The Browser To Beat?

The iPhone revolutionized mobile phone browsing, with a big screen, intuitive gestures, and a powerful browser based on the same Webkit rendering engine that’s behind the desktop version of Safari, but there are still things it can’t do (embedded Flash in particular). Browsers on the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian have been improving and both Fennec, the mobile version of Firefox, and Internet Explorer Mobile 6 (due in Windows Mobile 6.5), promise a full desktop browsing experience. But phone screens and keyboards are small, even with 3G bandwidth, which like batter life with WiFi connections, is limited. You’re also never going to have the same processing power on a phone that you will on a desktop or notebook PC. All of these reasons are why Skyfire takes a slightly different approach.

This new browser for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 (there’s also a version for BlackBerry in private alpha testing) is based on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine that Firefox uses, except it runs on Skyfire’s data centers around the world rather than on your phone. The server does the hard work of decoding and rendering the page and then sends a compressed, interactive image to the Skyfire client on your phone.

See full Web pages on a smartphone, including complex JavaScript.

See full Web pages on a smartphone, including complex JavaScript.