We've been following Skyfire ever since they had announced their browser was being rebuilt for the BlackBerry platform. We've seen some beta releases that well, honestly didn't live up to the hype of Skyfire on other platforms yet, they did show promise. That is, until Skyfire news went silent when it came to their BlackBerry development. So after many months of silence, Skyfire has now spoken out about what exactly is going on for them in the BlackBerry space. In a statement posted on the Skyfire blog, they let loose the reasoning as to why they chose Android development over BlackBerry. In my opinion, an admission of what we already knew anyways.
- We see Android as a fast-rising ecosystem, with a rich, totally open developer environment, a healthy app market and a healthy advertising and search ecosystem. The Android OS has a tremendous amount of interest from handset makers and carriers, and also has a strong need for making the explosion of video more network optimized (Skyfire’s wheelhouse).
- The Blackberry developer environment is not as favorable for cutting-edge application development. The APIs are fragmented and inconsistent, and the Java virtual machine Blackberry requires is not efficient. While Blackberry users are desperate for a better browser - we know, and we hear them - we only want to bring out something that meets our high standards and is truly great.
- The timing makes sense to return to Blackberry in the future. Blackberry has pledged to improve their developer environment in their 6.0 OS coming at the end of this year, and we can’t wait to see it. Blackberry has said at that time they will introduce a webkit browser with server-side assist on html and text, developed based on their acquisition of Torch Mobile. We understand it will be a long way from able to handle native Flash 10.1 and similar rich media plug-ins, and we think we can build on that webkit engine and add cloud-based new features around it.
That's quite a low blow to the BlackBerry platform if you ask me. BlackBerry has for a long time had the reputation of being a system that is not easy to develop on. Research In Motion has recognized this and as of late have made big steps to open things up to make it easier for developers out there. So, while Skyfire mentions they see this as well, I can't imagine that we'll see Skyfire releasing their browser on the BlackBerry platform anytime soon. Thoughts folks?