Skyfire, which ranks pretty dang high on our list of free mobile browsers and is the only one to support Flash, Silverlight and a good chunk of other rich multimedia formats, was for quite some time limited to residents of the US. Back in October, they opened it up to Canada. This morning, their reach was further expanded as they released v0.85, simultaneously opening the door to folks in the UK and, albeit unofficially, the rest of the world. The new download page can be found at http://get.skyfire.com.
Previously, getting your hands on Skyfire required punching in your mobile number, and only numbers with a +1 country code were accepted, limiting downloads to North Americans. Today’s addition brings support for UK numbers (+44 country code) and, more importantly, adds a manual download link “for experts only”. Fortunately, the criteria for that “expert” title is pretty much “knows how to sync applications to their phone”.
The Big Changes in v0.85:
- No registration required for download or use.
- UK servers added, so folks in the UK won’t have to tunnel all the way over to the US proxies
- Client/Server performance enhancements
- Support for Symbian devices, which has long been limited to v.6. With this release, Skyfire for Symbian now has the SuperBar (search and URL both use one single text box), bookmark support, battery efficiency, content sharing, and overall performance improvements.
Full patch notes after the jump. [Via Decoder]
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:
o Google Search & Search Results: It’s the best and the most used.
o Updated weather widget: Now supports Canada and UK postal codes, in addition to US.
o Region specific start page: Custom feeds and pre-populated bookmarks for US and UK.
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:
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!
UK Users (UK Data Center)
o If you have an existing account in our US data center your account might not migrate successfully to the UK. Please have patience.
o 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.