App Junkie is a regular feature where Brihanna Watson, self-confessed app junkie, takes a look at an app that has got her attention. She will dissect the app in her own style, but still keep to the rigorous testing policy of the site. If you are indeed an ‘app junkie’, and find yourself spending an inordinate amount of cash on apps that you never touch more than a couple of times, then Brihanna could save you a lot of pain and money by seeing if those apps that look like sparkling little gems in their App Store descriptions are really as tempting as they appear. Today: Skyfire Web Browser
There are many developers out there that have tried to capitalize on improving the web browser capabilities of the iPhone. Though Safari is simple and works well on the device, it lacks a lot of the small customizations that users have gotten used to on their home computers. Even with iOS 5 improvements, the tabbed browsing, a much sought after feature, was only enabled on the iPad, and not the iPhone. And there is still the matter of the missing Flash video component, a feature that people live without on their phones, but do miss and want incorporated. I have tried several different browsers out there, many are pretty decent, and even sync with a desktop version in some cases so you can pick up your browsing where you left off right to your phone. I only found one that had everything I wanted and it now takes the spot on my front page where Safari once sat. That browser is Skyfire Web Browser.
Skyfire Web Browser’s claim to fame is the ability to watch Flash videos on your iPhone. With a recent update they have even incorporated a Video Recommendation Engine which will suggest related videos based on your browsing content. When you visit a site if there is a video that can be played a small video player icon will pop up in the bottom left-hand corner to let you know it is playable. Just click on it to watch. Now not all sites with Flash video can be played on the browser, but they do support over 200,000 websites and you can check to see if your favorite site is supported at www.bit.ly/site_check. The video is also compressed up to 75% while streaming so it cuts down on data usage. One note to make is the browser will not play Flash games and apps as they are not supported.
Now this is just one feature of the browser, and though I do use it to view video, it really became my default browser because of it’s multitasking abilities. I can choose to view any site in mobile, desktop or tablet views by just changing the setting. Comes in very handy when you need access to options that are not usually accessible from the mobile site. There are also Twitter and Facebook buttons built right in so you don’t have to exit the app to check your streams or post an update. You can also share links to email, Instapaper, Read It Later, Tumblr and more. If all that wasn’t enough, Google reader is integrated so you can keep up with all your RSS feeds and there’s a popular content button that will automatically show you what is popular on any site with the click of a button. Of course you can keep all of your web surfing private with the Private Browsing mode. To top it all off, your sites are in full screen as the tool bars of the browser hide so you can see more.
You might say this browser has it all, though it does depend on the user. If there are any drawbacks to using Skyfire verses Safari, one is loading time. Though if you are anxious to watch video this will be a minor annoyance. It does need time to find and convert the video after all. This is one of my highest app recommendations, and even though I usually go for strictly free, this one is worth the $2.99. Fork it over and browse like a pro with Skyfire Web Browser.