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Summary:

Last week, the Skyfire mobile browser brought Flash to iOS, albeit imperfectly. Crushing demand on its servers caused Skyfire to pull the app from the iTunes store, but not before it sold well. Very well — Skyfire managed to make almost $1 million during its first weekend.

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Last week, the Skyfire mobile browser brought Flash to iOS, albeit imperfectly. Crushing demand on its servers caused Skyfire to pull the app from the iTunes store, but not before it sold well. Very well — Skyfire managed to make almost $1 million in its first weekend available for sale.

Skyfire cost users $2.99 to download on the iPhone, even though the browser is available for free on other platforms. When it was initially made available in the App Store, it was downloaded more than 300,000 times by users anxious to get Flash access on their devices. I was one of them, and I wasn’t all that impressed with the experience Skyfire provided.

According to MobileCrunch, Skyfire’s take was between $600,000 and $700,000, after Apple’s 30 percent cut. That’s pretty good for an app that was only available for a few hours before it was pulled due to strain on Skyfire’s servers, which handle the conversion of Flash elements to HTML5, then beam that back to user devices. The browser is now being released in batches, so that Skyfire can better scale its back end to keep up with demand.

Steve Jobs has famously insisted that Flash will never appear natively on iOS devices. The reasons include resource management and power demands, among others, and while Jobs may be right that Flash isn’t all that great, or even necessary, it looks like the average user has yet to come around to his way of thinking. Skyfire’s success shows there’s still strong demand for Flash access on the iPhone, and no doubt if an iPad version arrives, we’ll see similar results.

But what’s driving demand? Skyfire doesn’t allow users to play Flash games, so that’s out, but it does offer access to lots of U.S. streaming TV video content, including The Daily Show and South Park. I think that’s where the real interest is coming from. Despite the fact that many sites are now offering video in both HTML5 and Flash format to ensure a uniform experience across devices, some of the last to act have been television networks, which provide content the average user wants to be able to watch.

Flash may be on its way out in the grand scheme of things, but for the time being, it still has the support of the average user. That’ll likely remain the case, too, at least until networks and network partners like Hulu opt to use something else instead.

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  1. Apple should buy or license the technology and seamlessly integrate this into Safari. And while they’re at it they could use that billion dollar facility in NC and make the experience even better then it is now. Heck, they could do this for any format they think would kill iOS performance.

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  2. Are your heads really that buried in the sand?? You continue to claim that Apple has “won” the Flash war… then point out that there is still a high demand for flash on iPhone… and you STILL don’t mention the word PORN. If Skyfire showed us a log of converted Flash to HTML files/vids: I’d bet my house on it, that over 90% are from streaming porn sites.

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    1. Dude people want flash it’s clear. Porn isn’t the biggest motivator you may assume that if you like. People bigger HD screens for porn. People want flash because it sucks to not be able to enable or disable that feature on their phone to see view certain sites.

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      1. the overwhelming majority do not. What amounts to a handful of people have gone for this app.

        Websites are dropping Flash like a rock, and many desktop users are. It’s a POS. Did you even notice that there were nearly FIFTY critical security holes patched in Flash with 10.6.5? This is why Apple isn’t shipping it by default anymore.

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  3. Overall, that’s a small minority of iPhone users. Not even counting iOS users, just iPhone. Estimates say over 9,000,000 iPhones alone have been sold and so far maybe 300,000 iOS users combined have downloaded this? I think many of them were just there to try it out and won’t use it very often. Let’s see if Skyfire releases usage stats.

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  4. Flash is a steaming pile of dung! There can be absolutely no doubt about this. It is a CPU & GPU hog which translates into a montrous battery drainer of the highest order, a huge security risk and basically the most horrific batch of spaghetti code ever released on the web. End of Story people just deal with it.

    At least this solution does mitigate some of the risk to Apples mighty iPhone and with the amount of money to made look for similar solutions from others shortly. Money talks. Steve is perhaps the only person in the world that can ignore the money since he sleeps very comfortably on a pillow of $52 BILLION IN CA$H every night and wakes up with absolutely no debts whatsover, Yes its good to be Steve, he is rich and smart you are not.

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  5. “Skyfire Reveals Demand for Flash on iOS Still Strong”

    No, it does not. It just proves that people really really want to use Hulu and services like that, but are forced to jump through hoops because the service in question refuses tom recognise that their technology base badly needs updating. Apps like Skyfire are like DOSbox – they allow you to run material from a bygone era. No one really wants Flash – they want Video.

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  6. The title “Skyfire Reveals Demand for Flash on iOS Still Strong” is wrong!

    The title should be “Skyfire Reveals Demand for Flash CONVERSION on iOS Still Strong”.

    Skyfire does not pass along Flash to run on smartphones. Skyfire’s servers download the Flash video and convert it to HTML5 which is then sent to the Skyfire app running on your smartphone.

    No one in their right mind wants Flash running on their smartphone, whether it is iOS, Android, Blackberry, or any other OS. People know how Flash will slow things down to a crawl, and waste precious battery life.

    The majority of video on the Web is now in HTML5, and we will see this trend continue, and Flash become irrelevant over time.

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  7. I bought Skyfire during the second batch sale In the event there is a video I think I just HAVE to see, it’s there. Have I used it? NO. My purchase does not reflect a “demand” for flash.

    I started blocking flash on both my MAC at home and work PC long before the iPhone & Adobe controversy. Not having flash on my iThings is inconsequential to me.

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  8. Flash is an annoyance and should die. Companies should switch to HTML5 for streaming. Apple’s latest keynote stream was the best I have ever watched. It… just works.

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  9. You’ve actually been able to get flash on the iPhone for a few months threw an app in Cydia called “Frash”. Basically all flash object on a site show up in safari, and can be selectively activated by tapping them. Works brilliantly for the times it’s needed.

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  10. I got the browser. I don’t care about flash, but there are video streaming sites that are still not doing HTML5. I only paid the 3 bucks to be able to stream The Daily Show and Colbert Report from my iPhone.

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