First round: iPhone Flash player Skyfire K.O.

We eagerly await for the little treat that Safari did not bring to the iPhone for this long, but it all ends up being a big launch failure. You've probably read about Skyfire, the app that (kinda) brings Flash video to the iPhone being approved and on sale on the AppStore. I say kinda, because using a front end mobile web browser to select a Flash clip, send it over the SkyFire servers, coding it to HTML5 and sending it back to your iPhone, can't really be called a native solution.

It appears it took Apple two months to get this app approved. Fanbois will say that it is quite a stupid workaround for playing video, but Skyfire has been using the same idea for other mobile platforms, including Android. Once Skyfire went on sale, the result was unexpected: app pulled from the AppStore within hours. The company blog admits that they have removed as its servers wouldn't cope with the demand.

"The user experience was performing well for the first few hours, but as the surge continued, the peak load on our servers and bandwidth caused the video experience to degrade.

Thus we are effectively ‘sold out’ and will temporarily not accept new purchases from the App Store. We are working really hard to increase capacity and will be accepting new purchases from the App Store as soon as we can support it."


According to Skyfire, the app reached the top spot on the top grossing list and the third highest paid app in the general ranking in the US store within five hours. Perhaps I'm a late adopter and arrived four hours late... Or maybe I'm just too impatient! In my experience, loading videos was a cumbersome process that wouldn't work as straightaway as we all wished. True that Skyfire needs some time to process this data and warns users that "It may take 15-25 seconds for videos to load: Preparing goodness takes time..." The experience wasn't great, but I can't really say it was to the service's great demand or the thing just being simply sloppy. I hope its not the latter. 

So far Skyfore has gained a lot of coverage from tech media and iPhone blogs, but with the risk of putting themselves in the spotlight on their return. Whenever this happens, they must deliver. A PR stunt of this caliber and the whole "sold out" campaign won't stand a chance once the app, and iTunes reviews are back on the AppStore. How will users react when its back? I hope this is not one of those "take the money and run." The first round for Skyfire on the iPhone has been a K.O.