Los Angeles — Flash video on an iPad browser? You kidding? Skyfire, the alternative browser that uses some server-based trickery for iPhone and iPad that play back Flash video on the notoriously Flash-blocking devices, was added to the App Store Wednesday night for $4.99.
The latest Skyfire version tailored for the iPad comes with social-web features, and the ability for you to play flash videos from the web that would otherwise not run in your iOS devices, as well as other new features, including one touch access to your Facebook news feed, profile, friends, inbox, events and places. It functions as a Web browser, converting Flash video into HTML5 and playing it back in a separate window. With the iPad version, that window can be expanded to full-screen mode to take advantage of the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen.
Skyfire browser on iPad (Credit: Skyfire)
Nevertheless, Flash videos are supported, but Flash games and apps are not. That being said, not every Web video site–like Hulu–will work with Skyfire for iPad. “We are working hard at it,” the company said. Users outside the U.S. might also not be able to access their local TV Web site since some stations do not stream to Skyfire’s U.S.-based servers. It is currently only available in English.
The app adopts the same path as its iPhone cousin in being able to play Flash video. The company uses a workaround that diverts video requests through their own servers. They then push those videos through the browser. It is not elegant, but it is usually successful.
The iPad version also consists many of the social-networking components Skyfire recently attached to its Android app. The bottom menu bar includes links to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader, so users can read and interact with their news feeds or followers within the Skyfire app.
A “Fireplace” option, meanwhile, collects up all the links Facebook friends have shared, so you can open up news stories or view videos within Skyfire. The “Popular” button on the SkyBar will show you what content from the site you are currently on is popular among (all) Facebook users. And the Facebook “Like” button lets you instantly ‘like’ any Web page with just one tap. You can also share the page you are on with Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Read It Later, Instapaper and Pinboard.
This is all made possible by what Skyfire calls Facebook “QuickView,” which is basically a button on the lower-side toolbar that gives you quick access to the aforementioned items. Similarly, there is a QuickView for Twitter. Your Google Reader feeds are also just one tap away. Skyfire does not incorporate a feed reader, rather it has a dedicated button that will launch the mobile version of Google Reader (and, for one extra tap — Gmail, Google Buzz, Calendar or Docs) at any time in an overlay.
There is also the option to browse privately so cookies and browser histories are not left behind. Additionally, Skyfire for iPad has support for full-screen browsing, user agent switching, and private browsing.
In the meantime, you can watch Skyfire’s iPad demo video below to see it in action. If you are an iPad user, chime in. Skyfire for iPad costs $4.99. Download it from the iTunes App Store.