In this video, we put the new version of Skyfire (which now has support for WinMo touchscreen devices) up against Opera Mobile 9.5 on an HTC Touch Pro. The results? Skyfire is three times faster than Opera Mobile in getting pages loaded onto the device.
Why is this? Skyfire relies on sever-side rendering, meaning that when you press “go” in the address bar, the page is first rendered on a Skyfire server, then sent down to your device. So technically, Skyfire is not really a browser and more like a service (and thanks cgavula for pointing this out). Opera Mobile, on the other hand, does all of the work on your device, so the speed at which a page can be loaded is limited by how fast your device is (plus the speed of the network).
Now, some people still prefer Opera Mobile, and that is understandable – Opera does a slightly better job at reformatting a website once you zoom in, and Skyfire doesn’t respond to the accelerometer on the Diamond and Touch Pro. Also, Skyfire takes a bit longer to launch because it has to connect to the Skyfire servers.
But with Flash support (YouTube and Hulu works) plus three times faster page loads, I’m going to stick with Skyfire for now. The new version of Skyfire only works on QVGA and VGA devices, so no Omnia/Incite, Touch HD, or XPERIA X1 support. To get it, point your mobile browser to http://get.skyfire.com.