PALM DESERT, Calif., Jan. 28 // -- Today at the DEMO 08 conference, Skyfire unveiled a new mobile browser that makes browsing on a smartphone just like browsing on a PC. For the first time ever, smartphone users can experience the "real Web" to access and interact with any Web site built with any Web technology, including dynamic Flash, advanced Ajax, Java and more - at the same speeds they are accustomed to on their PC. With this free downloadable browser, users can finally watch videos from the real YouTube, stay connected with their friends on the full-feature PC versions of Facebook and MySpace, and listen to any Web music service like Last.fm. Before Skyfire, users painfully waited for these Flash and Ajax-heavy sites to render - often resulting in error messages or crashes.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080128/AQM100 )
"For too long consumers have been promised the 'real Web' on their phone, only to be disappointed by slow rendering, error messages, no Flash support, watered down WAP pages or second-rate mobile versions of their favorite site," said Skyfire CEO Nitin Bhandari. "Skyfire has remedied those ills at a speed not seen before on the mobile platform. By extending the PC Web experience to smartphones, we fully expect Skyfire to fundamentally change the way people use their phones."
Users will not have to change their Web behavior on their smartphones because Skyfire allows them to access the same Web content, and interact with that content, exactly as they do on their PC. When users load their favorite sites, they will not encounter unrecognizable content, unfamiliar page layouts, or missing content, like they have with other mobile browsers. To date, Skyfire is the fastest loading mobile browser on the market.
"Many sophisticated technologies are launched at DEMO, and in my many years of hosting the event, it's the simple and elegant products like Skyfire which seem to have the most staying power," said Chris Shipley, executive producer of the DEMO conferences. "Mobile browsing has not advanced at the same rate as other mobile technologies, so I am delighted to see Skyfire bring a new product to market which directly addresses one of the biggest pain points in the mobile experience today."
Skyfire has broken down the two primary barriers for Internet adoption on smartphones - speed and user experience. Recent studies point to the demand for mobile content, but the browsing experience has hindered the potential growth. As prices continue to drop, more users will adopt the full functionality offered by smartphones. According to ABI Research, 115 million smartphones were to be shipped in 2007, and that number will rise to 410 million by 2012.
"Skyfire's ability to support Flash video can give a shot in the arm to consumption of video on smartphones which currently stands at 18.4 percent," said Seamus McAteer, senior analyst, M:Metrics. "Technologies that improve the user experience of mobile applications will bolster the adoption of mobile media as it becomes increasingly mainstream."
Skyfire includes numerous features aimed at simplifying the mobile browsing experience. For example, when a user conducts a Web search from the home page, Skyfire pulls results from multiple search engines and displays the results in multiple tabs that consumers can easily navigate. In addition, users can bookmark specific locations on a Web page to get to the content that matters most to them in one click - such as stock quotes, sports scores, blog messages, etc. Skyfire's user interface features full screen navigation, thumbnail views and zooming to seamlessly resize the Web content to fit the mobile screen.
Skyfire's patent-pending technology is the foundation of Skyfire's unique ability to support all Web technologies, both current and future, at speeds comparable to the PC. With Skyfire's proprietary technology, supporting any new Web standard becomes a seamless user experience without the need to upgrade to new releases. This technology allows Skyfire to support real Web browsing while saving precious bandwidth and reducing processing power and memory needed on the phone.
Private Beta Announced
Skyfire announced a private beta to support Windows Mobile phones, both touchscreen and non-touchscreen, in the U.S. The company will introduce a version for Symbian smartphones in the coming months and other platforms and geographies are on the product roadmap. Users can sign-up for the private beta by visiting http://www.skyfire.com.
Skyfire was founded by Bhandari and CTO Erik Swenson in April 2006, and has been in stealth mode under the name DVC Labs until today. Based in Mountain View, Calif., the team includes engineering veterans from Adobe, Creative, eBay, Extreme Networks, MobiTV, Pinnacle, and Shutterfly.
Skyfire is the creator of the Skyfire mobile browser, which extends the PC Web to mobile phones so users can experience the mobile Web exactly like they do on their PC. The company was founded in 2006 by Nitin Bhandari and Erik Swenson, who serve as CEO and CTO respectively. Skyfire is backed by Trinity Ventures and Matrix Partners and has raised $4.8 million in total funding. For more information about the company, visit http://www.skyfire.com.
Produced by Network World Events and Executive Forums, the semi-annual DEMO conferences focus on emerging technologies and new products, which are hand-selected from across the spectrum of the technology marketplace. The DEMO conferences have earned their reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow's cutting-edge technologies, and have served as launch pad events for companies such as Palm, E*Trade, Handspring, and U.S. Robotics, helping them to secure venture funding, establish critical business relationships, and influence early adopters. Each DEMO conference features approximately 70 new companies, products and technologies. For more information, visit http://www.demo.com.
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