In a not-so-surprising move, Google has brought its desktop Chrome browser to Android mobile devices. Dubbed Chrome for Android Beta, the new mobile browser focuses on speed, simplicity, and seamless sign-in and sync. The Chrome omnibox rests up top and search results are loaded in the background instantly as you type in it. Intuitive tabbed browsing is in tow, as is link preview and incognito mode. When you first launch the browser you are asked to sign-in with your Google account. Connecting your account to the browser allows you to view open tabs you left on your computer on your mobile device, get autocomplete suggestions based on searches you made on your computer, and sync your bookmarks across devices. Chrome for Android is now available to download from the Android Market, but for now it’s only compatible with Android phones and tablets running version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Hop after the break to watch an introductory demonstration.
Somehow, someway Skyfire has managed to clear its mobile Skyfire browser–Flash support and all–through the Apple gates and into the App Store. As detailed in early September, Skyfire does not actually run Flash video; instead it trancodes the content using Skyfire’s servers from Flash to HTML5. So if you’ve been looking for a Flash fix on your iOS device here’s your $3 solution.
Note: The Webkit-based browser will not support all Internet Flash content; for example, Flash games and apps are not supported, and Hulu content is blocked. Skyfire promises that “scores of other premium sites are supported”, so stay hopeful! Look after the break for an updated video demonstration.
Update: An app can’t be “sold out”, can it? According to Skyfire: ”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. 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.” Ah, that explains it. Keep tabs on their Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates on the matter.
Update 2 (11/5): In a short blog post Skyfire CEO Jeff Glueck assures iOS users that “we’re working around the clock to add capacity for more users.” And here are the specifics: “We are going to open batches of downloads for new users over the coming days. The first batch will be in a few minutes on the Apple App Store. It will be first come, first serve.” The first batches are coming to the US only, “with additional country support to follow shortly.”
The warring atmosphere between Apple (backer of HTML5) and Adobe (Flash) over the Internet video standard is about to heat up once again. Developer Skyfire submitted to the App Store the first mobile browser capable of running Flash content on Apple mobile devices. The Skyfire browser for Apple devices embeds the Safari browser, meaning that the browser will look and run similarly to the built-in mobile Sarari browser and it will incorporate new features from Skyfire. One major new feature is the ability to run Flash-based content within in the brower. Skyfire has done their homework:
Skyfire for iPhone was built in tight accordance to Apple guidelines, including the use of a WebKit browser core shared with Safari, and h.264 adaptive streaming. Skyfire’s famed cloud-computing technology translates Flash video on the fly from millions of web sites into HTML5 formats, and supports iOS devices via Apple’s HTTP live streaming standard. Skyfire also avoids the concerns raised in Steve Jobs’ recent essay regarding Flash on mobile devices. By optimizing Flash for iPhones and network conditions in the Cloud, Skyfire improves performance and maximizes battery life while playing video. The browser also avoids alternate runtime environments and other security vulnerabilities.
In other words, the Skyfire browser technically does not run Flash content; it “translates” the content in the cloud (it talks to Skyfire’s servers) from Flash to HTML5. And thanks to H.264 adaptive streaming, the browser will compress video data by an average of 75% so as not to create network congestion. Adaptive streaming also promises a reduction in buffer time and enhanced battery life. So cross your fingers and let’s hope Apple doesn’t destroy our dreams of watching more delicious content on our iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches. Check out the video sitting after the break to see an iPhone play an episode of The Daily Show (Flash video) without hiccup. Official PR is there, too.
Shock! Awe! Surprise! That’s right, Apple has actually approved the Opera Mini web browser to co-exist alongside its coveted Safari mobile browser on iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. After playing around with Opera Mini, I think it’s safe to say it is definitely a worthy contender to Safari and a welcome addition to the App Store. It loads pages super fast “by compressing data by up to 90 percent before sending content to the device”; it features a unique tabbed browsing experience; booksmarks can be added and managed within the app; it has the “find in page” feature that allows you to search for specific keywords within web pages (very handy!); and it supports a tab & hold gesture to select, copy, and paste text and save images. The default Opera Screen provides a great place to start; you can customize it with your most frequently vistited sites. It comes preloaded with Facebook, Twitter, New York Times, and more. The only downside is that it does not support pinch-to-zoom. To zoom into text you double tap the screen, and you tap again to zoom back out. But you know what, the blazing speed at which it can load web pages sorta knocks that disadvantage down a notch. You can download Opera Mini today, it’s free! Full PR and a demo video are waiting after the break.