Browser

Skyfire 2.0 browser for Android blows away the competition

Jack Wallen says Skyfire stands out as one of the best and fastest browsers for Android. Here are highlights of Skyfire 2.0's unique features.

Most of the browsers for the Android mobile platform are serviceable, but each one has some drawback. Skyfire for Android stands out as one of the best in this category -- even in beta it blows away the competition. Here's what you should know about version 2.0 of one of the fastest mobile browsers available.

Skyfire 2.0's features

Skyfire 2.0 offers some unique features to the mobile browser application, which include the following:

Optimized video: From the browser you can launch a mobile-specific, optimized video experience. Although the videos might take a while to load, and the quality will be directly related to your connection speed, I find the video offered in Skyfire to be much better than video I've seen in any other mobile browser. Social Sharing: From Skyfire you can share websites with your various social network accounts. (This is very similar to Google Chrome's Share button.) From this button (Figure A), you can share any page on Friend Stream, Twitter, Facebook, and more. To get to this menu, simply click the device's Menu button. Figure A

Smart Recommendations: This button will offer related content that will make mobile browsing easier. To find recommended content, click the mobile Menu button and then click the Explore button (Figure B). Not every site will be a hit, but sometimes you will find a gem. Figure B

Bookmarks: As with any browser, Skyfire contains a bookmark feature. Tabbed browsing: Is it possible to use a browser anymore without tabbed browsing? I don't think so, and it appears that the Skyfire developers agree with me. Load page as: You can tell Skyfire to load the page as either a mobile page (Android) or a standard page (Desktop). It's easy to switch back and forth between the two.

General browsing

Skyfire has the fastest rendering times and the best near-desktop rendering you will find on a mobile device. When I opened the page blogs.techrepublic.com on the same phone with three browsers, the page rendered in Skyfire in nearly half the time of the closest browser. Here is the time recorded for each browser:

  • Skyfire: 7.678 seconds
  • Default browser: 17.636 seconds
  • Opera Mini: 13.133 seconds
Also, pages render exactly as you would expect them to in this web browser. The following three screenshots (Figures C, D, and E) show how three browsers render the web page blogs.techrepublic.com. Figure C

TechRepublic page rendered in Skyfire.
Figure D

TechRepublic page rendered in the default browser.
Figure E

TechRepublic page rendered in Opera Mini.

Conclusion

Give Skyfire a try and see if you agree with my conclusion that it is the best mobile browser for Android.

(Note: Skyfire is also available for the iPhone. You can download Skyfire 2.0 for the iPhone here and see how it looks in this CNET gallery.)

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

4 comments
The Cars Forever
The Cars Forever

Opera Mobile - not Mini - looks like it could become the browser to beat. Of course it has not been released in the wild yet so we will have to wait and see to know for sure. It will be interesting to see Dolphin, Skyfire, Opera Mobile all compared once Opera Mobile is available.

wuppez
wuppez

Give me a break. Skyfire is way overhyped. All it is, is a media player on top of the default browser! So I'm willing to bet the page was already cached in the default browser when you opened it in Skyfire, reducing load times. Also, Skyfire is spyware. Skyfire is all hype and no substance, basically. It's slower than the standard browser, contrary to what this "test" might lead to to believe.

teguh.umar
teguh.umar

Yup agree with your conclusion. Sf has great video player feture but there are other browser you should count in, let see, xscope have a video download that sf does not have, the zoom xs is great idea. Dolphin also has a great features, like, subscribe to rss and sync it to google reader, and so on. Opera? Kind a dissatisfied after using other browser.Dolphin, sf, and xs is fast browser. Now I have 5 browser in my andro, default browser opera mini, dolphin, skyfire, and xscope. They have different plus and minus, it is a user choice, which browser they like. Anyway, Jack, i'm your fan

MrMikeM513
MrMikeM513

I liked SkyFire until I started using xScope. It's a pity that browser sees so little press, as I think it's faster and easier to use than any other, including SF2.

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