Skyfire (Alpha) For BlackBerry

By Bla1ze on 23 Apr 2009 09:19 am EDT
Skyfire On BlackBerry!

There has been a lot of ruckus in the forums the past little while over the announcement that Skyfire was looking for beta testers for their browser for BlackBerry smartphones. For those of you who don't know, Skyfire been available on Windows Mobile and various S60 devices for a while now and is finally here in all it's Alpha glory to all the beta testers who were chosen.

With some cool features already built into the browser it looks to be off to a great start, but it still has a ways to go. We're going to wait before singing its praises too loudly. It wouldn't really be fair to claim it as a winner just yet, afterall, it is still in its Alpha infancy. Yesterday Boy Genius gave us all some hot screenshots. We waited and played around with Skyfire a bit and today we have some more pics after the break of it in action along with some of my initial impressions.

Skyfire On BlackBerry!

When Skyfire announced their beta, they only requested users from the US. This may have left some people wondering if the application like so many others as of late would even work in Canada, but I can confirm at this point anyways the Alpha builds do work in Canada for now as my device is on Rogers.

Skyfire Start Up Screen!

Here we get a look at the general start up screen for Skyfire. Twitter and Facebook integration right at the top and and tabs for specific functions, hopefully which is an indication of tabbed web browsing as well, but that's not a confirmation statement as of yet (more of a hope I have). 

Skyfire Settings Screen! 

The Skyfire settings screen at this point is rather bare looking... there's not too many options to really choose from just yet. The option of being alerted of mobile compatible versions is kinda cool - sometimes there are sites that you really do not need to have the full view on, the option to choose is great.

Skyfire Hulu In Action! 

Flash on a BlackBerry. This is one of the better (BEST?!!) features of Skyfire, since everything you view through Skyfire is being directed and rendered on their servers. Flash is rendered then pushed to your device which in turn allows you to view Hulu, Youtube and much more videos. One thing to remember with flash on mobile device is that you also see many more advertisements served up my websites as well. Good with the Bad, maybe?

Hulu Streaming Options!

Exiting Streaming Mode!

When viewing any streaming video such as Hulu, you are given the option to seperate the view from the rest of the browser and essentially "zoom in" on just the video which allows for better viewing. You can choose to stream the media from the menu as shown above and then exit when finished and while paying you can pause and mute audio as well.

Youtube Integration On Skyfire!

Youtube On Skyfire!

Youtube is ok on Skyfire, but really youtube seems a little jumbled up and not really easy to navigate. I'm not sure if this is the same on Windows Mobile where screen resolution is often lower then that of BlackBerry devices or if it's just something the Alpha release has not worked out just yet.

Two variables to consider when using Skyfire is that you are really connection dependent. If your coverage is not that good or if Skyfires servers are being slammed you may run into issues when trying to stream media. On Rogers 3G I was fine and have seen very little buffering or stutter in the connection and pages loaded quite fast -- probably faster then Bolt or Opera Mini -- but I haven't done a CrackBerry-styled time analysis just yet (figured we should let the Alpha graduate to a Beta before we bust out the stopwatches). Dropped too EDGE and Skyfire was still pretty fast, slightly slower but not enough to say it was unbearable. WiFi however is where Skyfire rocked with NO issues at all.

All in all, I'm looking forward to what Skyfire will bring to BlackBerry users, but at this point I can't say either way if it's gonna be a killer browser for all BlackBerry users or if it will just be another of those choices where some prefer it... some won't. Distribution is also key to hitting critical mass / adoption. I wonder if RIM will allow it to appear in App World. Has anybody seen Bolt Browser or Opera Mini show up there yet? Skyfire shows great potential and I am excited to see it again in a more refined version as this one shows all the signs of being Alpha with little bugs here and there, connection issues, fuzzy fonts, severely drains the battery... I could go on.  Alphas are fun to look at, fun to play with but eventually you just wanna move on to the next build. Let's hope Skyfire moves quickly and gets this into the hands of all BlackBerry users asap!


Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Skyfire (Alpha) For BlackBerry


I think this just confirmed that the Bold is the right choice for me over the iPhone. I am pissed that I'm paying for a data plan and don't have 3G with the Pearl. I was thinking about switching to an iPhone (please don't throw things at me for saying this) but there aren't any options for voice-guided GPS navigation yet other than crappy TeleNAV for $10/month.

Flash compatibility!!! It's about time, really.

both TomTom an Navigon have iPhone turn-by-turn GPS solutions coming in next month... it's not cheap, but it's one time payment

key in GPS navigation is whether it pre-loads maps or reads it on the fly, I think both above pre-load the maps

This is a big step in the right direction. This is also my first berry and a storm at that. I love it. The flash will be awesome. I love technology and making my BB storm work better. Can't wait.

I am an online teacher who purchased a Blackberry for the email accessibility and the hope I would be able to get into my classes on the go (which I was told I would be able to do). Unfortunately I need a flash supported web browser to do anything (which the Verizon agent told me I would be able to access)! I can’t wait for this to come out of testing so I can finally get into my courses from my blackberry...I will be patiently waiting and biting my nails.

I had 3 straight WinMo phones and Skyfire was the best thing to come out during my WinMo-using days.

Best browser you'll ever find. Had it since the first private beta release and now can't wait to get it again

I can not wait to have this browser on my BBBOLD.... patiently waiting.. tick, tock, tick, tock.... lol

Are there plans to relese on the 8350i curve? This looks better the Opera and Bolt, I would like to give it a try.

It works in Canada on BlackBerry cause you are technically connecting through Skyfires IP address, which is US based.

went to like the directions state... and it won't work with the 8900 once again ppppppppppppoooooooooooooooppppppppppppppp

I used Skyfire when I had WinMo and it is the only thing I miss about it when I jumped over to the Blackberry world. I hope they push it out soon or at least have a public beta.

When it gets out of Alpha and begins running properly Bolt browser won't even come close to skyfire in comparison. I have peeped skyfire when it's running correctly on a WM device and it's awesome. Can't wait for this to drop for my Bold.

I see a grassy field... Skyfire and my Bold are running towards each other with open arms. It's so romantic. :~|

Hope this browser comes to the Curve 8330 soon! It looks promising and amazing!! Sktfire creators don't forget the Curve users!!

Reading this made it spark something interesting here. Hulu blocks service to Canadian users, but since the data is being streamed through Skyfires servers it is available to us. I hope that doesn't change! :)

I'll be sad to see Bolt fall to the wayside, but full functioning flash? Count me in. Just have to wait on the price (or is it free?)

I think all the browsers for BB serve different purposes. At times, I need one over the other. Opera Mini & Bolt are great. The only way I wouldnt use either is if SkyFire met all my needs.

But since its just testing with the Bold right now and still only Alpha, OM & Bolt still have a fighting chance.

This is the best idea that I've heard yet! As an avid Blackberry user and an employee of Verizon Wireless, I can confindently say that Blackberry is quickly becoming the most widely used PDA. Skyfire is by FAR the best browser I have ever seen for a smartphone, and flash capability has been long overdue for this device!

If Skyfire were the native browser on BB devices they would be a MUST HAVE. Come on Blackberry!! There is something in it for EVERYBODY, surprise us!!

So wait, that means if I have a Bold, I could have Skyfire and Slingplayer Mobile? So whatever I miss on TV through Slingplayer I could watch through Hulu?

Why isn't the government funding this stuff?!

I had this on my Treo and found it to work perfectly. I could stream the videos from ESPN, watch TV shows from fancast, and listen to rasio stations as on my computer.

The sad news is this: I have contacted Skyfire to be a beta tester for the STORM and here is what they said:

Thanks for your email about our BlackBerry Alpha program. We are kick starting our alpha on the BlackBerry Bold only and inviting a limited number of participants. We plan to expand the BlackBerry Alpha program to the BlackBerry Curve, Pearl and 8830. Our current BlackBerry Alpha plans are to support these four models. We appreciate all of the BlackBerry users ready for a Skyfire browsing experience. We’re working hard to deliver that. Stay tuned.

I Straight out Love Skyfire! Its the only browser I know that works flawlessly with flash! I previously had it on my Pocket PC 6800 Mogul before switching, might I add, to my first BlackBerry Device. The storm. I defaulted the skyfire as my main browser on my PocketPC and plan to as soon as they release it on the Storm! Cant Wait! Please Rush! Very impatient guy here....

i dealt with skyfire on a tilt but if this version becomes the official it will still be the best browser out for blackberrys for a long time

"Thanks for your email about our BlackBerry Alpha program. We are kick starting our alpha on the BlackBerry Bold only. We have the participants we need initially for this BlackBerry Bold program. We also have plans to expand the BlackBerry Alpha program to the Curve, Pearl and 8830. We’ll send you an email when we’re ready to expand the Bold Alpha and supporting the three additional BlackBerry devices. "

i recieved the same email asking if there was Storm support coming for Skyfire and got the same 4 device support they are planning on. Hopefully they get Storm Support soon :(

Has anyone heard if RIM has commented on Skyfire's Alpha testing? Any word on any other Flash options for berries? Win phones are looking better all the time.

The device itself isn't rendering flash. SkyFire renders the site on it's servers and pushes the content to the device which allows for flash to run...on a BlackBerry :)

I do hope they get a Storm version out. You are right, they take the Flash content, and possibly other "unsupported" media types that you request with the browser and load the file on their servers, then they render a quick file conversion on it, probably to mp4 or m4a file type and push it to your device. Bolt already tries to do this, not with Flash content but with unsupported media types or unwatchable streams. They load the file on their servers, convert it and push it. It doesn't always work very well with Bolt. It can be frustratingly slow, often can't stream from Bolt and have to download the whole file or the converter they are using compresses the video so much that it is almost unwatchable when you get it. Hope Skyfire does a better job all around.

i've used the bolt and opera, and since they were both pretty much identical in many areas i went ahead with bolt pretty much because i noticed it a little faster.

...but how much SWEETER can a flash browser be?

i like my bolt because it's been awesome so far !

idea: flash-enabled bolt :D

As much as I would really like to see this out as soon as humanly possible, I would much rather be forced to wait a little while longer and have a much better product. Although, OTA upgrades and updates could tweek out a lot of the problems. One of the situations I am personally hoping is worked out before the release on the BB (I have a storm, yes my first BlackBerry, and I love it), is the overload on their servers.

Bump. I would like to see some more information on this topic. I just moved from WINMO to BB and would like to see skyfire now.

Is anyone else as p1ssed off as I am? So RIM went and bought Skyfire, for those of you who thought that would it's (practically) a year later and where the***F U C K***is my Flash browser? If it turns out Big Red leaned on RIM to keep a lid on last-mile wireless traffic so help me God I will mail a wet sh1t to everybody on the planet wearing a Verizon name tag. I've got time--I ain't watching Hulu on my phone.
Who needs perfect at this point? Just give us back what we had during the private alpha...before you went unlisted so the browser can't call home any more. In case there's somebody out there with the .jad skillz to help to find the right proxy server ("Error finding authentication service" suck my nuts), here's a link to the alpha app:
Good luck geeks...if I don't get satisfaction you can forget postal; I'm skipping straight to poo-flinging.

Tired of waiting on skyfire, just give it to us already. I had it on my Windows Mobile phone and it was a good browser. Sure it had its quirks but which one doesn't? I just want it already, enough excuses, stalling and whatever BS is going on in the background. Release skyfire and make the BB Community happy.