Sure, Google Android 2.2 users can download Adobe Flash Player 10.1 which can handle virtually any Flash content that’s available in a desktop browser. But many current phones weren’t really designed with Flash support in mind (or vice versa), and Flash 10.1 for Android can lead to slow, choppy video playback, high CPU usage, and decreased battery life.
But there’s a way to access Flash content on a mobile browser without installing Flash 10.1 (or Android 2.2 for that matter). One of the key features of the Skyfire mobile web browser has always been Flash support. And this week the company launched Skyfire 2.1 beta, which now fully supports Flash 10.1 content.
Here’s how it works: Skyfire doesn’t actually render all web content on your phone. Instead, some of the heavy lifting is handled by remote servers. For instance, when you run across a Flash video or other Flash content, Skyfire’s servers will transcode the file into HTML5, allowing the Skyfire browser on your phone to easily display the video.
What’s more, Skyfire will examine your phone’s internet connection to determine the best video settings to use.
Skyfire says it’s performed tests showing that phones get about 30% better battery life when using its browser to watch video than the native Flash 10.1 app. Your results may vary.
Version 2.1 brings a new home page, new plugin options (including the ability to configure support for Flash on Android 2.2 if you still want to use the plugin). The new version should also feature improved video streaming reliability.
The company says Skyfire 2.0 has been downloaded half a million times since launching in the Android Market 6 weeks ago.