Skyfire, the Mountain View based developer of mobile web browsers, has announced that their browser application for iPhone is ready and has been submitted to the App Store for Apple’s approval. This comes five months after the company announced its work on the iOS platform.
If approved, Skyfire will join Opera Mini as one of the very few third party browser apps that offer a viable alternative to Mobile Safari on the iPhone platform.
One of the most interesting aspects about the Skyfire iPhone app is its ability to run Adobe Flash videos. Considering Apple’s recent stand against the multimedia platform, this is one of the most contentious issues that could cloud the approval process. It is also worth noting that Apple had recently banned the use of transcoding processes to render Adobe Flash on the iPhone.
Skyfire insists that the app has been developed with Apple’s app development guidelines in mind and that the browser will render Flash through a procedure that does not violate their terms. Skyfire’s mobile browser does not play or transcode Flash files. Instead, the iPhone app will remotely convert Flash videos into HTML5 format before they are embedded into the user’s browser. Unlike apps that Apple has rejected in the past, the process for making Flash iPhone-compatible is done on Skyfire’s servers and not on the device, which should ideally satisfy Apple’s requirements. The company further notes that the app was developed “with significant oversight and feedback from Apple”.
While users may get access to Flash on their iPhones using Skyfire for iPhone, they may however not be able to interact with these Flash files. This is because the entire format conversion happens outside the iPhone’s local environment and consequently would render Flash-based games and music players dysfunctional.
Nevertheless, we believe this is a great first step towards seeing Flash on the iPhone. Do you think Apple will approve this app? Tell us what you think in the comments.