This should also help the company’s efforts to sell its browser to manufacturers and carriers looking to use the Android operating system. A recent sales and marketing hire showed a shift in the Skyfire’s business model, with a new focus on selling to to companies, rather than consumers.
Built off of its previous 1.0 version, Skyfire 2.0 looks like an impressive mobile browser. SkyBar is Skyfire’s newest tool that enables many of the additional features of the Skyfire 2.0 version. The toolbar hosts three main functions that all keep the user within the main browsing page. The first loads any Flash video through. Flash video that would otherwise not be watchable automatically loads and plays with one click within the browser page. This is a function the company has had time to perfect as the feature has been available for Windows Mobile devices. I loaded up Flash videos on ESPN.com, and it worked just fine.
The second and third functions are fairly simplistic. One gives content recommendations. A user, for example, on the official Boston Bruins hockey page will get a list the latest in Bruins video, news, Twitter feeds and images. The other makes it super easy to share content from the page with the users social networks like Facebook or Twitter. An article a user finds interesting can be sent to their Facebook wall with one click.
Skyfire’s biggest competition is probably the fast moving mobile browser developer Opera. That company released a beta test version of its Opera Mini 5 browser for Android several months ago. The browser is quick, but doesn’t support Flash. As mobile users continue to consume more mobile video, this could be a key differentiator in addition to speed. Other mobile browsers continue development as well. Mozilla recently announced that Fennec, its Firefox mobile browser, is currently availble for users to test.
The Mountain View, California company, founded in 2006, has raised $22.8 million in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures.
Don’t miss MobileBeat 2010, VentureBeat’s conference on the future of mobile. The theme: “The year of the superphone and who will profit.” Now expanded to two days, MobileBeat 2010 will take place on July 12-13 at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Early-bird pricing is available until May 15. For complete conference details, or to apply for the MobileBeat Startup Competition, click here.