Tag: skyfire

Skyfire Explain Their Departure from BlackBerry Development

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Skyfire have recently come out with a really outspoken and honest blog post regarding their development for BlackBerry. As most know, Skyfire have been developing a 3rd party browser for BlackBerry that will render all manner of media and compete with/complement the native browser. The browser works by rendering all the pages on their server, and then sending your device a picture of what you’re browsing. This circumvents the need to render it on the device.

BlackBerry users have been waiting for some time now, and it seems they’ll have to wait even longer. This is Skyfire’s explanation for skipping BlackBerry for now, and focusing on Android:

  • We see Android as a fast-rising ecosystem, with a rich, totally open developer environment, a healthy app market and a healthy advertising and search ecosystem. The Android OS has a tremendous amount of interest from handset makers and carriers, and also has a strong need for making the explosion of video more network optimized (Skyfire’s wheelhouse).

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Skyfire receives $5 million in funding to grow BlackBerry platform and more

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Skyfire for BlackBerry

Skyfire has announced they have received $5 million in funding. The funds will top off their Series B from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures. The company will use the funds to support new smartphone platforms beyond Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry, as well as utilizing their unique technology for solutions beyond the browser.

It’s not obvious yet how RIM’s acquisition of Torch Mobile and their plans to update the browser will affect third party browsers such as Opera Mini and Skyfire. It’s possible that once RIM updates their browser, there will no longer be a need for third party browsers, as the experience would be adequate for the general user. On the other hand, third party browsers have been innovating in the space and there is something to be said for being the first to market. There may always be a need for third party browsers to deliver a browsing experience better than that of the native browser.

Flash for BlackBerry pretty much confirmed 6 months ago

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storm_browser_google

BGR is saying that it’s pretty much confirmed: Research In Motion is planning on integrating full Flash and Microsoft Silverlight support into their BlackBerry web browser.

Simon Sage was good enough to point out that around 6 months ago Mike Kirkup confirmed Flash would find its way to BlackBerry sooner or later and while it’s interesting that Silverlight will be part of the equation, the idea that Flash will come to BlackBerry in around a year can be easily deduced from simply keeping up with the industry.

The news is likely based on an inside tip relating to the known fact that RIM is planning on updating its BlackBerry Browser in order to be more competitive with the other smartphones in the market. This is common knowledge as anyone following the industry knows that BlackBerry gets a lot of criticism for not producing a browser experience on par with the likes of iPhone. If you hear the Internet complaining about a BlackBerry feature, rest assured the 10,000 employees at RIM have heard and are working on it.

While it’s nice to get affirmation that RIM is planning on updating its browser, the following could just as easily be deduced:

1. It’s pretty much confirmed that RIM will be launching a device with more than 1GB of on-board memory.
2. It’s pretty much confirmed that RIM is working on a new media player for future consumer devices.
3. It’s pretty much confirmed that the next generation BlackBerry processors will exceed 1GHz.

On a related note, Skyfire should be coming out with a beta before any of this can be confirmed. BlackBerry users should be able to enjoy Flash well before RIM updates the browser.

Skyfire Alpha testing continued – what’s new in 3.5

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Skyfire for BlackBerry

When we last wrote about the Skyfire Alpha program for BlackBerry, someone inside the program had leaked the browser files for all to download. Skyfire quickly cut off the leaked users but they’re back to Alpha testing.

The latest version, 3.5, has some great improvements, one of which being that you can set Skyfire to the default BlackBerry browser. This is something that users have been asking about for a long time with other 3rd party browsers. You will also be able to download files from the browser to your device.

Here is what the company had to say:

“As you are aware we temporarily closed the Blackberry Alpha. We planned for a certain number of users on our Alpha system that was quickly exceeded with the leak of the client outside the Alpha community. Please stick to the understanding of the Alpha program and NDA – it is NOT for open distribution. It just creates hassle for all people involved and spoils the experience for our Alpha participants.

This Alpha 3.5 is still targeted for Blackberry Bold mainly firmware 4.6.0.167 and 4.6.0.247 devices. , Feel free to try out the build as well on Blackberry 8900 and 5.0.xx firmware versions of Bold.”

What got removed in Alpha 3.5 (vs. Alpha 3.1):

  • Stream Mode: We are actively working on an alternate method to provide streaming for Blackberry that will provide better performance and reduces the number of errors during streaming. This work has not been concluded yet. In the meantime we removed the existing stream mode. Stay tuned!

Thus please focus feedback for Alpha 3.5 on page load experience and basic browsing vs. the media experience.

What’s new in Alpha 3.5

  • Inline Text Entry: You can now edit/enter form elements directly within the page, without being interrupted by a dialog box. Makes it more direct, convenient and retains the context.
  • Click-to Call: The Blackberry client now will utilize tags in websites that trigger a phone call, when clicked (e.g. callto: and tel: links). You have to confirm before the call is initiated.
  • Set as Default Browser: when set, links will open Skyfire
  • Downloading of Files: you can now invoke the download of files to your device.
  • Improved Scrolling: Further tweaking since the last Alpha.
  • Reduced Checkerboard occurrences
  • Alpha limit: We implemented a simple mechanism to limit the number of new users in our system. Once reached you see a message. If you encounter this and are part of this Alpha group then please contact us.

Known bugs in this Alpha:

  • Clear cookies: When you clear cookies in advanced settings it will not work. Will be addressed in the next release.
  • Inline Text: We are seeing several issues.
  • Sometimes old text is visible (Issue 331 & 409), when re-entering text box, the cursor is positioned at the beginning of the text field (Issue 333).
  • Download: timeout when downloading large files (Issue 435)”

[Via]

Skyfire browser for BlackBerry leaked – OTA link available UPDATE

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Skyfire for BlackBerry

UPDATE: It seems most users are getting a blank checkered screen. I’m guessing Skyfire has shut down access. Sorry guys!

Better hurry folks! The Skyfire browser for BlackBerry has been leaked and is available for download OTA.

Go to http://www.theiexplorers.com/BBM/Skyfire/skyfire.jad from your BlackBerry browser to download now.

Or here:

http://www.blackberryos.com/forums/software/4461-skyfire-ota-coming-soon.html

One of the downsides of being a site based in Canada is that we often get blocked from leaks requring service access in the US. I have tried this browser on both the TELUS and Rogers network with no success. Any other Canadians want to rule in on this?

According to the @buzzedword (leaked to BBRocks), here are some features you’ll find with the browser:

  • Its dominantly web based, the “enter url” function has autocomplete which I’m assuming comes from Skyfire’s servers
  • You’re assigned a unique Skyfire ID, and you can create an account on the Skyfire homepage, presumably for bookmark and RSS sync– the homepage has a very Digg-like feel to it
  • Flash is supported as well as javascript, but flash functionality breaks down when you hit version 10
  • It appears that the browser has its own independent audio controller because of options in the menu, but i can’t confirm volume buttons, none of my shortcut keys work
  • It doesn’t work well with the storm at all but it does install
  • Its definitely optimized for trackball, the mouse has a kind of crosshair around it that if you click down will zoom to that portion of the page
  • Overall its pretty quick, they render the webpage on their servers and you download what they render

Remember that the browser is in Alpha, so it’s prison rules when it comes to your device. Back everything up and don’t use this software if you aren’t prepared to encounter some bugs.

[Via with updated link from BerryReview]

Skyfire Alpha for BlackBerry screenshots and impressions

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Skyfire for BlackBerry

Bla1ze from CB has been using Skyfire for BlackBerry and it looks to be a huge improvement for the BlackBerry internet browsing experience. While the browser is still in Alpha testing, it’s looking really slick.

According to the company, some of the new features added include:

  • New Keyboard Shortcuts: We mapped the keyboard shortcuts to be similar to the ones in the native BlackBerry browser to offer a more familiar user experience.
  • Switch to Skyfire: Once Skyfire is installed, you’ll see a “Switch to Skyfire” option show up in the options menu of the original Blackberry browser. We added this feature to help when users click on links in email and SMS and end up launching the native browser instead of Skyfire or when you navigate to a web site that is better viewed in Skyfire.
  • Text Entry in Thumbnail view: You now don’t have to zoom-in to enter text. We resolved that issue and now enter text directly in the thumbnail view of pages.
  • Contextual zoom with camera corners: Similar to the other Skyfire platforms, we now support contextual zoom. Thus we detect areas of interest (say articles or images) and allow you to zoom-in to areas easily by fitting the area of interest to the screen dimensions.
  • Faster zooming: You’ll see a great improvement in your ability to zoom. Unlike Alpha 2, the page displays text at all zoom levels, without any redrawing of the screen. Less checkerboards.

More details, screenshots and impressions after the jump