updated 10:50 pm EDT, Wed November 3, 2010
Developers -- not Apple -- pull app from store
Skyfire, a $3 alternative browsing app for the iPhone that was approved by Apple and available for sale for a few hours today -- rapidly climbing to the top of the paid chart in its category -has been "temporarily" withdrawn -- not by Apple but by Skyfire itself. The big selling point for Skyfire on the iPhone was that it used an intermediary server to decode Flash programming on-the-fly to HTML5, allowing iPhone surfers to watch Flash content. The demand on its servers, according to Skyfire blogger Robert Oberhofer, "caused the video experience to degrade" and so the company has taken the application offline, referring to it as being "sold out" while they work "really hard" on increasing capacity.
Apple has now scrubbed all mention of the app from its store, as is standard procedure for apps that have been made unavailable. The term "Skyfire web browser" still shows up on searches, but no longer appears in any listings, and selecting the search result yields nothing. For a period of time, searchers simply got a message that the app was "unavailable in the US store," but even that has disappeared. Skyfire's blog and web page reflect the idea that the product will be available again in the near future, though no timetable has yet been announced.
Early reports and reviews found the experience of watching Flash on an iPhone variable at best, and some critics have pointed out that Flash's reputation as a resource hog may have compounded the company's problems as they struggled to add the flood of users who started working with the iPhone version yesterday and today. The Android version continues to be available in the Android Marketplace.