Skyfire Beta 2 Browser Delivers Rich PC-Like Mobile Web

Skyfire threw another hat in the mobile browser ring recently with the launch of its second private beta program. So far the new beta has been pretty limited in reach, but a stroke of luck came my way last Thursday during a break at MobileBeat 2008. That’s when I managed to win an HTC Tilt in a text-in-to-win promotion from the makers of the new mobile browser out of Mountain View, Calif. Within a minute of texting the company’s name to a short code I got a reply telling me a new device running the mobile browser’s second beta was waiting for me.
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I’ve been wanting to get some hands-on time with the mobile browser that’s been making lots of promises of late and after a couple days of use, I’m thoroughly impressed. Web pages are loading faster than they would on Internet Explorer, Opera or Safari. Safari comes closest however. The support for Java, Flash and Ajax makes browsing even more PC-like than competing mobile browsers. I checked out a few sites that typically have some problems on Opera, for example, but they’re working fine on Skyfire. Video streams clearly on YouTube although I had some video framing issues when I zoomed in. The browser’s intuitiveness and ease of use is on par with Safari – simple clicks and drags do exactly what you expect them to, zoom and move the page in a smoother fashion. I’ve only used Skyfire on a Windows Mobile touchscreen device, but look forward to installing it on a Nokia (NYSE: NOK) Series60 device soon. The company has raised $17.8 million in venture capital thus far, but it’s still a tough ring its entering and one that’s expected to get even more crowded with the likes of Android in the coming. Still, the capabilities and full web support Skyfire offers are a much needed and welcome addition.

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