Skyfire hits Canada, lands with a thud

Skyfire is the only mobile browser that allows for “full web browsing on a mobile phone,” or at least so claims Will Park in a post on Intomobile.com. Unlike Windows Mobile or the iPhone’s Safari browser, Skyfire is able to deal with embedded Flash and Silverlight content, as well as Quicktime, Ajax, and other Web 2.0 goodies. But while this is technically an impressive feat, it fails to take into account an important social factor regarding phones, technology and web browsing. Users who want those features on their phone have already gone out of their way to get them, as with Opera users on high-end Nokia devices, or else they likely don’t miss the features in the first place, like the vast majority of iPhone users who merrily surf the web, use their phone as a media device and occasionally take calls.

While a minority of iPhone users are jonesing for Flash and other webcentric features, and a few Opera users might migrate to Skyfire, neither group is big enough to create a viable market in an already crowded space. Additionally, Skyfire is in open beta on the Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile OSes, both of which are already a little long in the tooth. An eventual Blackberry app might make inroads, but there’s no chance in hell Apple will allow the Skyfire browser anywhere near their cash cow.

Having said that, the more options Canadians have to access the mobile internet, the better. Skyfire is without a doubt a significant technical achievement. It remains to be seen whether that’s enough to allow it to survive and thrive.