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Skyfire Browser Beta Coming This Summer… I Can’t Wait!

skyfire_8The Skyfire browser has been making some waves in the BlackBerry community in the last month. Leaked screenshots of the beta look awesome and finally bring Flash support and a awesome browser to the BlackBerry. It picks up where Bolt and Opera Mini left off and adds more features such as supporting Hulu.

In the press release below they released version 1.0 for Windows Mobile and Symbian and are finally acknowledging a BlackBerry version this summer. I got this email from Skyfire themselves yesterday so things are looking good. I only hope they can speed things out the door! Cool features like an RSS based homepage and Twitter/Facebook integration really make this browser sound awesome.

Their exact words about the BlackBerry platform:

BlackBerry next platform

Skyfire has plans to bring their browser to more smartphones and recently launched a Private Closed Alpha program for the BlackBerry platform.  The company will announce plans for a Public BlackBerry Beta at a later date. This step will offer an approximate twenty-one million BlackBerry users the opportunity to finally be able to access the PC web on their phone.

Skyfire Launches its 1.0 Version with Over One Million Users, Making it the Fastest Growing Downloadable Mobile Browser in the United States

The 2009 People’s Voice Webby Award for Best Mobile Application is the only mobile browser to bring the full PC Web to phones with a variety of new features and improvements

(MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA) May 27, 2009 – Today Skyfire, the makers of the same-name PC-like browser for mobile devices, is announcing the launch of its 1.0 version now available for free download at get.skyfire.com. Over one million consumers have installed and used the Skyfire browser in just under five months, making it the fastest growing downloadable mobile browser in North America.  This demonstrates the explosive consumer demand for exact-PC like full internet browsing on mobile devices.

Skyfire 1.0 delivers the PC web, real fast

Skyfire remains committed to providing everything the PC web has to offer in a mobile experience with blazing fast speeds. For the first time, consumers can use their phones to watch any web video and live events, stay connected with friends, share web pages instantly, and use the full-featured PC versions of their favorite websites.  Skyfire is the only mobile browser to support popular web standards and plug-ins such as Flash 10, Silverlight 2, Ajax, Javascript and more, so the rich media on websites work on phones just like the PC.  Known for its speed, Skyfire launches quickly and loads web pages quicker than other mobile browsers.

Skyfire users can customize the start page with RSS feeds from their favorite websites.  In addition, they can integrate their Facebook and Twitter accounts to import status updates and tweets, and easily publish their status to these networks. Skyfire is the only mobile browse to share and publish any web page to Facebook and Twitter networks with one click.

For an example of how Skyfire works, watch this video.

What’s new in Skyfire 1.0

Improvements specific to the Skyfire 1.0 release include enhanced navigation, zooming and interaction as well as faster launch, power optimization, and new search functionality.  Having previously delivered rich media and text readability on a small screen, the focus of this latest release was helping users get to the content they want more quickly.

As the new version starts-up, users can type a search or URL in the Superbar while even while Skyfire is connecting in the network. After a web page loads, smooth scrolling and zooming – similar to an iPhone – helps users navigate the page more quickly.  Likewise, now users can click on links on the first page load without having to zoom first.

Please refer to the Release Notes for specific details about Skyfire 1.0 features.

Tremendous growth and engagement during Beta

“We were absolutely floored by the initial response to the Skyfire Beta,” said Nitin Bhandari, CEO. “We knew people wanted the PC web on their phones and this was clearly confirmed in the significant user growth and engagement during our beta period. We achieved our goal of delivering both a better and faster mobile browsing experience. However, bringing it to over 1M consumers exceeded our expectations of a beta, especially since they were all acquired organically by buzz and word of mouth. As we experienced explosive growth, we also experienced significant uptake in user engagement. People were using Skyfire more often and more people were making Skyfire their default browser – for all of their mobile browsing, not just video consumption.”

Unique user activity – Doing things no other mobile browser can do

Skyfire users are different than iPhone and Opera users because they can watch video, and tend to watch a lot of video on their phones – something not possible on other browsers. They watch video on the PC version of websites such as Hulu, but also video embedded and shared in Twitter and Facebook updates from their friends. The also watch video on news sites and experience browsing and video in one experience, vs waiting to click through to a separate application.  There is also high engagement with watching live streaming events such as the Barak Obama Presidential inauguration and Summer Olympics during the beta period.

Skyfire users are active on websites that don’t work on any other mobile browser.  Consistently, the top websites used on Skyfire are the top websites used on PCs – such as the full-featured Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, Google Docs, full-featured Gmail, and professional sport leagues’ full websites.

Giving a significant installed base a better browser

Skyfire runs on more than 70% of the worldwide installed base of smartphones, based on figures from a March 2009 Gartner report. These include smartphone devices made by HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile, to name a few, and newer models with VGA and WVGA screen resolutions all running on Windows Mobile or Symbian platforms.

These consumers now have a mobile browser that gives them an iPhone-like browsing experience but more, since Skyfire offers Flash 10 and Ajax. With the Skyfire 1.0 release, this large installed base can get the PC web on their phone with a simple to install, free download.

Poised for massive growth

The smartphone market is forecasted to be larger than 400M installed base by 2010, and almost 4B total mobile devices. The smartphone segment is growing even in the recessionary climate.  Mobile data revenue was $32B in revenue in 2008, with a 26% ARPU growth.  As a browser that delivers the PC web, Skyfire has much to gain from this growth. Additionally since Skyfire handles much of the processing work on the server-side, the browser reduces carrier bandwidth – making it not only good for consumers but mobile operators as well.

“As web content continues to include more Ajax applications, Javascript, video, Flash 10, and web pages double in complexity every 12 months, there will always be a gap between phone and PC capabilities. PC web progress will not slow down for the mobile industry to catch up,” said Bhandari. “Skyfire’s architecture keeps pace with web technologies and seamlessly bridges the gap. Using Skyfire, consumers continue to get their PC web on their phones, no matter how complex a website.”

BlackBerry next platform

Skyfire has plans to bring their browser to more smartphones and recently launched a Private Closed Alpha program for the BlackBerry platform.  The company will announce plans for a Public BlackBerry Beta at a later date.

This step will offer an approximate twenty-one million BlackBerry users the opportunity to finally be able to access the PC web on their phone.

About Skyfire

Skyfire is the creator of the Skyfire mobile browser, which delivers the PC web to mobile phones so users can experience the web on their phone exactly as they do on their PCs. The company was founded in 2006 by Nitin Bhandari and Erik Swenson, who serve as CEO and CTO, respectively. Skyfire is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures and Matrix Partners.

For more information, visit www.skyfire.com, or follow Skyfire on Twitter at twitter.com/skyfire.

2 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Good to see when it comes out, but the question is, will it run over BIS so those of us on unlimited plans (providing you connect via RIM’s infrastructure) don’t end up forking over $$$$ to use it?

  2. How can I get into the test program? I need this now!

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