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Skyfire browser for Android review

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Skyfire is an Android browser built on Android’s Webkit core. The functionality and interface of the browser is pretty typical. The interface exposes some often used browser buttons without hiding them behind a menu, but Skyfire does it in a clean and minimalist way. But Skyfire offers one great feature over all the rest: flash video conversion. For a more general review, Engadget’s video is pretty good.

First question: Is the video conversion done through a proxy or on the phone? The logical answer would be to do it through a proxy, which means there may be privacy issues.

Let’s look at their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Thus your requests are processed through Skyfire servers and activity will live on Skyfire servers during your session.

Their privacy policy states that your browser may be uniquely identified. Before using Skyfire, you should know that your browsing history may be uniquely identified and exposed to Skyfire and they may be required to provide it if subpoenaed.

Second question: Is just video proxied, or normal browsing as well?

I browsed to, and the IP showed my Verizon Wireless IP and CMU’s IP when I was connected on wifi. So normal browsing is likely not proxied. You can be reasonably safe of entering your Google account passwords here.

Third question: What sites work?

I tried Liveleak and it worked. I tried Hulu and it didn’t work. The error message was from Hulu and it said “platform unsupported,” even though I was on the Desktop user agent. My guess is Hulu is blocking the proxied user-agent. Even if it didn’t block, I would bet that it wouldn’t work anyways because of Hulu’s DRM.

Sadly, Robot Unicorn does not work.

EDIT (2010/05/05): Hulu, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report works now, if you use the Desktop user agent. Totally awesome! Skyfire is unbelievable.

Would I use this over my current browser, Dolphin? I don’t think so. Skyfire lacks the Delicious support that I really need. Dolphin has that. Other than the video thing, I don’t think it offers more. It seems to be based on Google’s browser, so it is likely more stable. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t do that annoying Dolphin thing where if you switch back to an inactive tab, it forgets where it was and reloads your home page.


Written by notatypewriter

2010 April 29 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Nerding out

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