By Joe Levi | June 23, 2010 5:30 PM
Back then, Skyfire was in alpha or beta stages, but showed some real potential. To recap, Skyfire isn’t just another browser. Skyfire uses the power of “the cloud” to do a lot of the heavy lifting of web content for you. This translates to lower CPU usage, reduced web traffic to/from your phone, and opens the door for a LOT more video content. You see, Skyfire (the browser) utilizes Skyfire (the servers) to act as a sort of pre-rendering proxy to help speed up your web surfing, and translate supported videos into a format native to your phone. Since the video translation happens on the Skyfire servers they can add support for additional video formats without requiring an update to the software on your phone.
Some will argue that pre-rendering content in this manner raises privacy concerns, others argue that web traffic is basically public data anyway.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, Skyfire (though still in beta) just released version 2.1 of their browser. Where video is concerned, Skyfire 2.1 is outperforming outperforming Flash 10.1 on Froyo devices in battery life, video quality, and overall speed.
According to their website, “Skyfire plays Flash video by transcoding video files into HTML5 in the cloud and optimizing them for mobile delivery.” Additionally, Skyfire’s servers can get a sense of how fast your data connection is and encode video accordingly, reducing stuttering, lagging, hangups, and freezes (I often encounter these in the YouTube app).
You’d think all this pre-processing and re-encoding would slow things down, and in my experience it does add an extra second or two to the initial page-load times, but overall, pages load in basically the same amount of time (or a bit faster), and video, well, there’s no comparison.
If you’d like to give it a try, Skyfire 2.1 beta is free in the Android Market.