updated 06:55 pm EST, Wed December 22, 2010
Adds new features beyond just playing flash videos
After reporting last week that Skyfire had submitted an iPad version of their self-titled alternative browser for the iPad to the App Store for approval, SkyFire v2 is now available. The new version brings social-web functions and other new features along with its celebrated (server-based) ability to play videos and some audios originally available only in Flash and thus normally blocked from functioning on iOS devices.
Flash videos, when requested, are re-encoded on-the-fly by SkyFire's servers into HTML5, allowing them to work on iPhones, iPod Touches and now iPads. On its initial launch on the iPhone in November, the company quickly found itself overwhelmed by demand and had to enact measures to limit sales as they scaled their service.
The iPad version of the browser boasts a social-media bar at the bottom, allowing users to quickly see Twitter feeds or Facebook statuses and respond to them without opening another app or navigating to the actual site. It also adds the Fireplace and Google feed readers and puts the Facebook "Like" button on every web page. Also new in this version are private browsing, a full-screen mode, a "popular content" feed and the ability to share pages to several of the popular services such as Instapaper, Deli.co.us, Read It Later and Pinboard.
Performance is still described as "lackluster but functional" by early testers, but it does offer the ability to access Flash-heavy sites -- such as Comedy Central -- that are otherwise incomplete experiences for iOS users. The iPad version of the browser costs $5.