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[Updated] Skyfire Flash Browser for iPhone Back in App Store

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Update 1: it looks like Skyfire was pulled from the App Store. Engadget reached out to Skyfire:

We just pinged Skyfire for comment and they say it’s not Apple’s fault; demand for a Flash video workaround is apparently so high that the company’s having server issues and decided to pull the app rather than introduce new users to a sub-par experience. Skyfire assures us that it’s adding servers as quickly as it can, but didn’t provide an ETA on when we might see the app once more.

Update 2: The Skyfire blog has some more news to shed on this:

Skyfire for iPhone has been received with unbelievable enthusiasm. Despite our best attempts and predictions, the demand far exceeds our initial projections.

The user experience was performing well for the first few hours, but as the surge continued, the peak load on our servers and bandwidth caused the video experience to degrade.

Thus we are effectively ‘sold out’ and will temporarily not accept new purchases from the App Store. We are working really hard to increase capacity and will be accepting new purchases from the App Store as soon as we can support it.

We are very grateful for the demand. Within 5 hours, Skyfire for iPhone became the top grossing app, the third highest paid app overall and the top application in the Utilities category. Wow!

Please bear with us as we bring our capacity in line with the incredible demand – stay tuned.

Thanks, Robert.

Wow. So it looks like the hype around Skyfire resulted in some major downloads for them, therefore exceeding their expectations. This sounds like a scenario out of Game Dev Story. Either way, let’s hope the team works to improve this app. But as of right now, I don’t think I will be using it in the future. Most of my video needs have been met so far with iOS the way it is.

Update 3: Looks like Skyfire is back in the App Store. Here’s what their CEO had to say:

We are going to open batches of downloads for new users over the coming days.   The first batch will be in a few minutes on the Apple App Store.   It will be first come, first serve.

Due to overwhelming demand, we are taking this approach because Skyfire believes a good user experience should come first, and we would rather have fewer, happier customers, and add new users as we can support them.  We will open the first batches to US users only, with additional country support to follow shortly.

So it looks like it’s going to be a US-release first, then other countries later. Are you still interested in this, Canada?

Review Update: Okay, after testing various Flash sites with Skyfire…it’s a very tedious process that has only led to frustration. Not a great user experience. Maybe the Skyfire team underestimated how many people would be downloading their app?

One thing is for sure, their $2.99 price and subpar first time experience has already tarnished their reputation coming out of the gate. I hate to say I told you so but a $0.99/free introductory price point would’ve probably contained the fallout.

Here are some screenshots:

Yesterday we wrote about the upcoming Skyfire Web Browser that is coming to the iPhone. It was supposed to be released on Thursday, but it’s now available in the App Store!

How Skyfire works is this:

Skyfire enables Flash on Apple devices by transcoding video content into HTML5 on the fly from millions of web sites; itsupports iOS devices via Apple’s HTTP live streaming. Skyfire’s famed cloud-computing technology also adapts video content based on connection strength, giving the user the best video experience that will play smoothly given their wireless network conditions at the time.

iTunes description:

FEATURES:
• Play millions of Flash videos – everyday, with no limits!
• All-new ‘Skybar’ toolbar gives one-click access to video and related content
• Be social: Share via Facebook and Twitter.
• Stay in touch: Unique Facebook ‘Quickview’ allows you to see your wall and feeds with one click.
• Standard browser elements: Tabs, search, sharing, bookmarks, history, etc.
• Video search, with safe search option helps you quickly find videos about your favorite topic
• ‘Desktop’ option loads pages as on a desktop browser, giving a greater selection of video (vs. mobile sites)
• Private Browsing option: Browse with no history and cookies left behind
• Click the ‘Explore’ button for related videos, news trends, photos and tweets!

NOTES:
• Flash VIDEO content is supported, but Flash Games and Apps are NOT supported (aren’t there enough games on iPhone already?)
• Hulu NOT supported (they don’t allow it), but scores of other premium sites available
• List of supported sites grows daily (request new sites via Settings >> Feedback menu)
• It may take 15-25 seconds for videos to load: Preparing goodness takes time…

We purchased Skyfire to see how it performed with Flash video sites, to watch full episodes of TV in Canada. Here are some quick results:

  • CTV.ca did not work
  • GlobalTV.com did not work

Let us know how Skyfire works for you!

Click here to download Skyfire in the App Store for $2.99.

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