Hands-on With Windows Mobile Skyfire Browser Beta 0.6

Illustration for article titled Hands-on With Windows Mobile Skyfire Browser Beta 0.6

Skyfire just got its 0.6 update, bring with it a few more features (listed after the jump) and a bit of compatibility increase that makes it feel more like a real browser than it was even when we saw it at CTIA. The overall idea is the same: Skyfire servers render pages into image form, which then makes it onto your Windows Mobile phone over an internet connection. On our Sprint HTC Mogul, Gizmodo loaded pretty damn fast over EV-DO, and features like Flash actually seemed to work well.


Because the page is like an image, you can pan and scroll around fast and easily, but zooming in and out is a bit clunkier. Typing in a text field requires you to type something on Skyfire's text input, then sending that to Skyfire, then sending the resulting image back to your phone.


Although it touts Flash video, support, watching YouTube videos is still more like a fast slideshow than an actual video—though most of the video quality depends on your connection type and speed. It's no iPhone Safari browser—and probably will never be because of the fact that rendering is done off-phone—but it's a reasonably close approximation for now.

* Multi-line text entry (2,000 character limit)

* Auto-complete text entry

* Paste into URL or search

* Ability to delete bookmarks

* Multiple zoom modes for touch screen phones

* Double tap to Zoom In and Zoom Out

* Support for custom virtual keyboards (SIP)

* Web search shortcut in softkey menu

* Access to the Windows Mobile Taskbar in softkey menu

* Persistent settings for SmartFit, Mute and Zoom size

* Support for 12-key and ½ QWERTY devices

* Password masking

* Backlight usage based on system settings

* OK button sends Skyfire to the background


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I've been using this version for about a week now (using the original since launch), and I've been blown away by it. Extremely good browser that nearly covers all of my needs. Only problem is reading large blocks of text. The constant horizontal scrolling combined with loading of less-fuzzy versions of different tiles makes it tedious.