Skyfire Launches Popular $4.99 Browser for iPad

Almost two months after its iPhone version effectively sold out on Apple’s App Store, Skyfire’s browser for the iPad went live on Thursday. The cost is $4.99, compared to $2.99 for the iPhone version.

The browser’s claim to fame is that it enables users of Apple’s iOS devices to view Adobe Flash-based content, which is otherwise blocked by the system because Apple doesn’t want a layer of software between the platform and developer. Apple believes it would degrade performance.

Flash Converted To HTML5

Skyfire does an end run around the ban by uploading Flash graphics that would otherwise be blocked with an error message to the company’s cloud sever and streaming them back to the device in HTML5.

But Mountain View, Calif.-based Skyfire Labs wants it known that enabling Flash isn’t the app’s only asset. In a promotional video, product manager Robert Oberhofer showed off some of the latest features that enable quick social networking and easy web browsing on the iPad’s 9.7-inch display.

“We asked ourselves what can Skyfire bring to the table beyond enabling Flash, and it was clear to us that [we should] try to make the browsing experience on the iPad more fun, more connected, and most of all, more effective,” he said.

Skyfire’s Fireplace, working with Facebook, shares recent links posted by the user’s friends, bit not other posts. “It’s a great starting-off place for exploring the Internet,” said Oberhofer.

When visiting a particular site, a Popular Content feature displays “what is hot right now,” Oberhofer said — all the links from that site that have been posted by friends. There is also a universal Like button integrated into the browser.

Skyfire is also available on the Android Market, Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace, and Nokia’s Ovi Store, but the iPad app represents its first foray into tablet-size performance.

More Capacity This Time

Demand for the…

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