Skyfire 1.5 Brings A New Interface And A Bunch Of Polish

Screen shot 2009-12-09 at [ December 9 ] 8.14.48 AM

Skyfire has come a long way in the past few months. Since shedding the Beta tag back in May, it has grown into what is easily one of the best mobile browsers around. If nothing else, it’s still the only cross-platform mobile browser able to churn through Flash 10, Silverlight, and a ton of other media formats generally reserved for the PC.

Today, Skyfire is launching version 1.5 of their browser for Windows Mobile. In addition to the standard performance enhancements you might expect, v1.5 also brings a number of enhancements aimed at touchscreen users.

Here’s whats new:

  • VGA Screen Support: A decent number of popular handsets are packing VGA (640×480 resolution) or WVGA (800×480 resolution) screens these days – Skyfire now supports both.
  • Smooth Scrolling: The iPhone may not have invented smooth, kinetic scrolling, but it certainly made it a must-have feature. Just about every touch-based mobile browser has made a move toward supporting it in the past few months, Skyfire now included. If you flick your finger across the screen, Skyfire will now scroll a bit rather than stopping as soon as you lift your digit.
  • Finger Friendly UI: This one’s a big one. Windows Mobile certainly isn’t the most finger friendly OS, but that doesn’t mean Skyfire needs to stick with the stylus. Most elements of the interface have been made a bit bigger and rounded out for the sake of finger use.
  • Full Screen Mode: If you’re on a touchscreen, you can now tap the Hide UI button to completely do away with the interface, allowing you to fill every pixel of your screen real estate with content. Tap in the lower right of the screen to get it back.
  • Auto-move Text Entry: Few things are more annoying than attempting to type into a password box that you can’t see. Tapping into a text field will now reorient the page for visibility, including moving things around virtual keyboards.
  • Support for latest versions of Flash 10 and Silverlight
  • Performance Enhancements: Both the client and things on Skyfire’s side have been improved for speed and general stability

All of these upgrades are currently only supported in the Windows Mobile build; the Symbian client is still stuck a few builds behind. We’re still crossing our fingers that the BlackBerry beta client will launch before this decades over.