Good news from Skyfire. Beta 0.85 of the Skyfire Browser has been released! Best of all, it’s now a direct mobile download and registration is no longer required. Until today Skyfire was only available to users in the US and Canada. With direct download and no registration I’m thinking anyone in the world should be able to use it now. The Skyfire website mentions that UK users will be connected to a new UK server but doesn’t say anything about other countries. Can someone outside of the UK, US and Canada try installing Skyfire and see what happens?
I installed the new Beta on my N95-3 by simply visiting get.skyfire.com with the phone’s built in WebKit browser. You can also download it from the same URL to your PC and install it with PC Tools. The first time I installed I got a warning that I must un-install ny existing Skyfire Beta first After canceling the installation and removing Skyfire Beta 0.6, I restarted the download and install, which seems to have succeeded. I was somewhat put off by the message “Component Symbian OS Pipe is missing, Continue Anyway?” that appeared while installing but I ignored the message and pressed on and Skyfire works.
Registration isn’t required, but it allows you to backup your bookmarks and history on Skyfire’s servers so that they are preserved across upgrades and when you change phones. Existing Skyfire users can log in when they start Beta 0.85 for the first time, new users can create an account from within Skyfire.
SkyFire is a proxy based browser that is currently available as a native application for most Windows Mobile 5 and 6 (touchscreen and non-touchscreen) and Symbian S60 3rd edition phones. It uses Firefox as its back-end rendering engine and pages look stunning. Skyfire’s best feature is great support for web based animation and video. Unlike the Flash support built into S60, which is limited to obsolete Flash 8 .flv files, Skyfire supports the latest Flash 9 plus Microsoft Silverlight and can play virtually all web based Flash and Silverlight content.
I’ll post a full review of Skyfire 0.85 later. For now here are the release Notes:
Skyfire 0.85 Release Notes
Released: November 21, 2008
Skyfire brings the PC internet experience to your mobile. Watch videos on YouTube or Hulu, connect with your friends on Myspace or Facebook, shop on Amazon, or listen to music. If you can experience it on your computer, you now can do it with Skyfire on the go.
Skyfire is fast, easy to use and available for free for many smart phone models.
Skyfire 0.85 Beta adds (standard) VGA support for Windows Mobile devices and brings the feature set for our Symbian client in line with Windows Mobile. Skyfire will continue to maintain both platforms in future releases.
We greatly appreciate your participation in our beta community. Your support and feedback on the forums at http://support.skyfire.com/forums/ helps us to constantly improve the product.
What’s new in 0.85 for both Windows Mobile and Symbian:
- Simple Download: This is big for us and we hope for you as well. Now, there is NO requirement anymore to register in order to download, access, and use Skyfire. With this release, downloading is as simple as pointing your existing mobile browser to http://get.skyfire.com. We detect the device and provide the installer for your phone.
- Optional Registration: Once downloaded and installed, you can use Skyfire right away. Browse away, create bookmarks, and check your history. Everything will work.
Why create an account? So you can retain Bookmarks and History in case you lose your phone or have to switch phones. Furthermore you can post and participate in the Skyfire user forums.
Already have an account? You can still access your existing account by simply logging in on your device. Or, create a new account. Or, migrate your account between phones. It’s now all done from your phone on the Skyfire start page.
- New UK Data Center: We are looking forward to providing better service for our UK based users and are currently building out a new data center. If you are in the UK you should automatically connect to the new data center and experience better performance. If you are not based in UK, then you will automatically connect to the US data center. Please bear with us as we work out some of the kinks – especially with account migration.
- Overall Improvements: Client and Server robustness, streaming performance, recovering from lost connections.
- Improved rendering of mobile pages: We better detect and render more mobile pages. The list continues to expand.
- Updated Skyfire User Portal: We continue to evolve our user portal and start page. Although some of it was already visible before 0.85, it is worth mentioning:
- Google Search & Search Results: It’s the best and the most used.
- Updated weather widget: Now supports Canada and UK postal codes, in addition to US.
- Region specific start page: Custom feeds and pre-populated bookmarks for US and UK.
What’s new in Windows Mobile 0.85 since Windows Mobile 0.8?
- Standard VGA support: We are excited to now provide VGA support for the number of new devices that recently entered the market, including the HTC Touch Diamond, Diamond Pro, HTC/ATT Fuze. Please note that we support Standard VGA support (e.g. 640×480). Widescreen WVGA (e.g. 800×480 etc) is NOT supported yet.
What’s new in Symbian 0.85 since Symbian 0.6?
- More devices: We now support popular new devices such as the N85, N78, N79, N96.
- SuperBar: A handy new feature to perform a search or enter a URL from a single field – it’s a great time saver that is easily accessible on the top of any page. Search results are provided by Google.
- Content sharing: You can now share web content by SMS. We even make the URL short enough that it will fit easily into an SMS text message. Especially useful for the really long URLs used by many sites. You can now also share Skyfire itself with friends via SMS.
- Faster application launch: Skyfire launches much more quickly so you to get to your content quicker.
- Reconnect: Skyfire will automatically reconnect, so you don’t need to restart when your wireless connection is dropped.
- Content download: Allows you to download images and other content from most web pages.
- Bookmarks have been significantly enhanced – giving you much better control.
- Improved battery life: We won’t drain the battery when you forget to exit Skyfire. Promise!
Downloading and Installing:
For Symbian users PLEASE UNINSTALL YOUR EXISTING CLIENT FIRST! This is due to a change in the way we sign Symbian installers and Symbian security measures require the uninstall. Sorry for the inconvenience. Uninstall 0.6, install 0.85 and then log in to your account (in Skyfire Browser) to get your bookmarks back.
To install onto your Windows Mobile or Symbian S60 device simply point your Pocket Internet Explorer or Symbian browser to http://get.skyfire.com. We will detect the phone and provide you the appropriate installer — download, install, and you are up and running!
For more details on installing you can follow our guide here:
- UK Users (UK Data Center)
- If you have an existing account in our US data center your account might not migrate successfully to the UK. Please have patience.
- If you switch devices on a regular basis you might end up in the US data center and your account details may not be available to you. We are actively working on this and should have a solution soon.
- WiFi enabled Symbian devices might sometimes take their time to start. This is related to the device scanning for available WiFi connections.
- When leaving the phone idle for more than 5 minutes Skyfire will display the start page. (Issue 2892)
- Playing video for a long time (> 5 min) might disconnect Skyfire. (Issue 2827).
- Downloading files with long filenames might truncate file extensions. (Issue 2726)
- Links to media files (MP3’s etc) currently only play back, and do not initiate download.
- Scrolling through very long list boxes has slow behavior. (Issue 1202)
- Video will not play on CNN.com or video.yahoo.com. (both plug-in incompatibility)
- SmartFit on will break some sites (notably Gmail). Please switch SmartFit off.
- Limited multi-line text entry on Symbian phones
- WVGA phones (e.g. 800×480 or similar resolution) are yet not supported.
- DivX and XviD Video formats are not supported.
- Quicktime movies which require playback external of browser are not supported. (Quicktime clips embedded in a page are supported).
- FTP browsing and access is not supported. (e.g. URL’s with ftp:// )
- Anchors (In-page links) are not supported.