Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Skyfire For Android Enables (Some) Flash Video

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-your-grandma's-headline dept.

Media 69

harrymcc writes "Skyfire, a browser formerly available only for Windows Mobile and Symbian, is releasing a beta for Android. The most notable feature: It can identify Flash video on Web pages and convert it to HTML5 and H.264 on the fly, so it'll play on Android phones. It doesn't support all video, and may be rendered somewhat superfluous when Adobe ships Flash Player 10.1 for Android — but it's an impressive trick."

cancel ×

69 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What could go wrong? (1, Insightful)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038342)

Wow, that is bound to work well, battery wise.

Re:What could go wrong? (5, Informative)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038406)

It's not actually doing Flash video, it signals Skyfire's servers to fetch the video and transcode it from its original format to HTML 5 video. http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20003714-1.html [cnet.com]

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038466)

This is a pretty obvious thing to do, no? I mean, a quick Google will pull up one liner scripts using mencoder to do FLV to H.264 conversion. A script to do this on the server side, run it through mencoder, and return the result would be what, a 10 liner script? Unless they are doing something more complicated than that, which I doubt. And a bit of logic in the browser itself to translate FLV references.

Of course, it's got to use a lot of CPU cycles on the server side to do this at any sort of scale, built into a browser. But I guess if you are making enough money off your browser, then cool.

Re:What could go wrong? (3, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038650)

Of course, it's got to use a lot of CPU cycles on the server side to do this at any sort of scale, built into a browser. But I guess if you are making enough money off your browser, then cool.

That depends on whether they're really "transcoding". Most Flash these days is H264 anyway, so it might just be doing something to bypass Flash and give the device access to the video stream. Of course, most sites are going to start doing this anyway (giving HTML5-capable browsers the ability to bypass Flash and go straight to the video), but this might work as an interim solution.

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040244)

FLV container stream -> demux to h.264 stream + aac stream -> mux to MP4 container stream
No transcoding required, unless the original video contains a video or audio stream in a format that the device cannot natively play.

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32042398)

Flash uses mp4 files for h.264 already, not flv.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32044466)

I'm a little confused here. I thought all of the Android folks have been claiming their phones have been playing flash all along as part of the endless iPhone/Android debate?

Re:What could go wrong? (2, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041906)

That depends on whether they're really "transcoding". Most Flash these days is H264 anyway, so it might just be doing something to bypass Flash and give the device access to the video stream.

Sounds very reasonable, and also immediately explains why it "doesn't support all video" as the summary indicates.

It is not a discharger (3, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039466)

If vendor of device is wise and OS is open enough to talk to chips, H264 will be possibly decoded on chip. Just like my Nokia does while running flash embedded video. Of course, it is a video and video does have some load on battery, just like if I launched a m4v from its file browser.

Please don't get brainwashed by Steve. Today, a Mac Mini having Nvidia 9400, Flash 10.1 does play 1080P HD video with 4% CPU, if it is running Windows. If it runs OS X, it uses a lot of processing power since until 10.6.3, there was no way to talk to GPU to do its job.

Re:It is not a discharger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32044724)

Hardware decoding is handled via the driver. If the driver contains hardware acceleration support, and the hardware itself supports it, that's all that's needed. There is no 'brainwashing' as he has always stated that Flash support ON A MAC was poor. You are also aware that 10.1 isn't even out of beta yet, so claiming it's brainwashing as if it's always been this way is a bit of a stretch.

3 years late and no backwards support (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32119834)

GPU decoding H264 on hardware does exist since... 2007? Well, it was first advertised by ATI at that time. It is 2010 now, it is the very exact same chip, nobody invented any magical hack or anything, it was always there sitting idle as you say driver support needed and Apple wasn't supplying.

After they figured people comparing Windows Flash video using absolutely comical CPU thanks to always present but not used GPU acceleration support, they magically added support in 10.6.3 resulting in very strange situation as there are people using/have to use 10.4.x, 10.5.x, having same or way better hardware (GPU) won't have GPU acceleration.

Also, as you seem to know Mac platform, please review how an internet plugin perform in Windows compared to Mac. Lets say, someone coded a fresh plugin that will write "hello World" a million times in plain language, compiled with latest available developer tools. Why would it perform 1.5x/2x faster on Windows browser compared to OS X one? Adobe should stop this CEO fight with Apple and should start talking about these technical facts which will really convince users and push Apple in right direction.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038354)

I've been using flash 10.1 beta on android and it's a piece of shit.

Re:lol (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038370)

To be fair flash is a piece of shit on all platforms. It only exists because it makes creating content brain dead easy.

Re:lol (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038746)

but... but.... I'm shocked!

First the summary tells me that Android phones don't already support Flash, and now you tell me that Flash is a "piece of shit"?

I thought Flash was some kind of perfect standard for video and it was already supported on every platform in existence. After all, that's why everyone is so pissed at Apple for failing to support Flash, right? The only reason any device might not support Flash right now is if the manufacturer is evil?

Re:lol (4, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038908)

I thought Flash was some kind of perfect standard for video and it was already supported on every platform in existence. After all, that's why everyone is so pissed at Apple for failing to support Flash, right?

Just because Flash sucks doesn't mean that "I can't get the content I want" is better.

The only reason any device might not support Flash right now is if the manufacturer is evil?

That's a Red Herring. Adobe would love to provide Flash support for the iPhone, but Apple won't allow it. That's what matters, not whether Adobe was quick-on-the-draw to get support to Android.

Re:lol (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041722)

Flash 10.1 is pre-installed on many Android handsets, particularly those from HTC like my Desire. It's a piece of shit though. Flash, not the phone. Hopefully 10.2 will be better when it comes with Android 2.2

Re:lol (1)

karolbe (1661263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041964)

This is NOT Flash 10.1. Flash 10.1 will be released in a month or so. Currently in Android we have a Flash Lite which happens to have version string 10.1. But it is NOT full Flash 10.1.

Re:lol (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#32042088)

Ah. This makes sense of a few things. Thanks.

Re:lol (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039900)

And brain dead easy cross platform business software development is TOTALY useless!

In the market targeted by Flash Builder (aka Flex) HTML5 will simply not work. We're talking about large businesses that dont want to migrate from IE6.

Re:lol (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040522)

To be fair flash is a piece of shit on all platforms. It only exists because it makes creating content brain dead easy.

Very fair, and true. Flash sucks, but some sites really suck with browsers that don't support it, or don't work at all. I'd prefer not to see it anywhere, but I like having the option to have Android support, at least. The good news I wasn't expecting: this will supposedly run on Android 1.5 and up, meaning those of us with "old school" G1s running 1.6 Donut can actually try it, which I wasn't expecting.

Re:lol (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041526)

To be fair flash is a piece of shit on all platforms. It only exists because it makes creating brain-dead content brain-dead easy.

Fixed that for you.

And only on devices with Android Market... (1)

awfar (211405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039208)

Adobe said it would be available only on Android Market, which I understand is apparently not available on many Android devices.

Even though Firefox (fennec) is available as a apk (so far), it will not do me any good unless Flash is available that way as well.

Re:And only on devices with Android Market... (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040200)

Really? There are very few Android devices that do NOT have access to Android Market.

It is true that the devices need to meet certain requirements before they are allowed access etc and be blessed with everything Android, but as far as I know, almost all current Android devices (particularly phones) do this.

Re:And only on devices with Android Market... (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041738)

All Android phones have access to the market. They may not have access to all apps within it, though: e.g. my UK HTC Desire only got access to the protected apps last week when Google finally got around to approving the HTC ROM image.

Re:And only on devices with Android Market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32045128)

How is this an improvement over Apple? You're still tied to Google's approval of your access. Sounds like the Android app store is a big ol' mess of differing versions, differing access, and differing approval from Google.

No wonder the Apple App Store is hugely successful.

Re:And only on devices with Android Market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32045502)

except you can load apps from third party markets or just loaf then yourself, dumbass

Is it a security nightmare like opera? (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038390)

I would rather not have someone recording every page I visit, which is what opera does with its man-in-the-middle attack is a feature browser.

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038428)

Yes, it does the same thing as Opera.

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038452)

if you don't want someone logging every page you visit, better not use a google phone.

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038526)

You have nothing to worry about. No one cares that you visit slashdot, and if you get good kharma, you can even turn off the ads.

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (-1, Troll)

exasperation (1378979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038870)

What ads? I haven't seen an ad on the Internet since the last century... do people still surf without Adblock or something?

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041930)

While probably no-one cares whether or not I visit /., that doesn't mean I like to tell just everybody that I am a regular reader/poster. If they ask me I will tell, but not need to tell them beforehand. And that's what we're talking about here.

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038792)

A man-in-the-middle attack doesn't have a legally binding privacy policy.

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (2, Insightful)

Agarax (864558) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038938)

I would rather not have someone recording every page I visit, which is what opera does with its man-in-the-middle attack is a feature browser.

Like your ISP's DNS server?

Re:Is it a security nightmare like opera? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039414)

Which is why I do not use their DNS servers.
Actually I don't use them because they go down more than a Thia hooker, but it would be another reason not to use them.

Is it really Transcoding? (2, Insightful)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038426)

Or is it just stripping the FLV container off of the H.264 video stream embedded inside?

Re:Is it really Transcoding? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038498)

I suspect it's stripping and repackaging it. (could be wrong, but I don't think a raw h.264 stream is streamable)

Which would mean, naturally, that it won't work for other codecs, but h.264 is the majority of flvs these days, so sounds OK.

The CPU to actually transcode would be crazy, I can't imagine they're doing that...

Re:Is it really Transcoding? (3, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040404)

It is neither, it works per proxy server.

Like Opera Mini, earlier versions of Skyfire for Windows Mobile and Symbian were proxy browsers that compressed Web pages on the server side before transferring them to the phone. With this Android edition, the Skyfire folks are shifting strategy. Android’s Webkit-based rendering engine is already capable of displaying Web pages swiftly and accurately, they figure, so they’re not trying to duplicate it. Skyfire for Android uses the same Webkit rendering that Android’s default browser does–but rolls it into a browser with a bunch more features.

The most notable of these new capabilities is Flash video playback. For that, Skyfire still uses a proxy approach: When you come to pages with Flash videos, it identifies them, compresses them, and converts them to H.264 and HTML5, then transfers them to your phone for playback.

Would have been too cool if they had managed to do it on the client. I'd have wanted it as a Firefox plugin ...

Cool, how can I block it? (3, Interesting)

straponego (521991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038464)

Does anybody know if the default Android browser will allow blocking Flash when 10.1 ships? I think it's possible that I might find a use for a Flash program on a phone sometime, but if I can't block it by default I'd rather not have it at all. Screen, bandwidth, CPU and battery are at a premium on mobile devices. I'd rather not sacrifice them so I can watch a visual bedlam of ads for products that I will never buy (if you throw Flash ads at me, I boycott you. Ads only affect my buying choices negatively; so really, I'm doing you a favor by blocking your ads, marketing weasels. And I'm saving you money too!).

Re:Cool, how can I block it? (2, Insightful)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038590)

Hopefully it will have way to bock Flash, and let you open Flash items that you want - but that means less money from advertising.

Re:Cool, how can I block it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039620)

Ad-block plus for Android anyone?

Re:Cool, how can I block it? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040518)

Hopefully it will have way to bock Flash, and let you open Flash items that you want - but that means less money from advertising.

You think that Google, the advertising giant will support this? Maybe as some sort of app/plugin, but I strongly doubt that any Flash blocker will emanate from Mountain View.

HTC Legend supports flash and can disable it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32041084)

My HTC Legend runs Android 2.1 and comes with a modified webkit-based web browser with which you can disable Flash, And yes, HTC's web browser does support Flash.

Re:Cool, how can I block it? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32042542)

I have no idea about Android (and thus am answering your question with a non-answer), but on Maemo on the N900 its trivial - open the browser, choose 'settings' from the titlebar drop down, choose 'add-ons', choose 'plugins', highlight Shockwave Flash and click disable.

Last I checked... (2, Informative)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038696)

Skyfire would show more than just videos, it would show pretty much all kinds of flash content. From games to vector videos like Strongbad emails.

Re:Last I checked... (2, Informative)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039766)

Indeed it has full support for Flash and Silverlight in the Windows Mobile version. However if you've ever used it substantially, it becomes apparent that the backend for WinMo is basically implemented using screen-scraping. The Skyfire client is basically just a clever image viewer.

From the sound of it they're implementing something more advanced (probably their own WebKit derived renderer) for the Android backend. Although I wonder if they're still delivering images, or just sending a special markup like Opera does with its Mini browser.

And this, folks, is why Apple will win. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038738)

While Android users shuffle between a half a dozen substandard browsers desperately trying to find one that works, Apple will have an entire ecosystem of applications and services that JUST WORK. Once again we witness how control over the ecosystem results in a superior experience for everyone.

Think Different.
Think Better.
Think APPLE!

Android does support Flash? (3, Interesting)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039016)

I just kind of assumed with all those bashing the iPhone for not supporting Flash that Android did it out of the box.

Is there any mobile that supports full Flash well?

Re:Android does support Flash? (3, Insightful)

evJeremy (1721378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039320)

I'm pretty sure the n900 does.

Re:Android does support Flash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040802)

Yes

Re:Android does support Flash? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32042554)

Yes, it does.

Re:Android does support Flash? (2, Informative)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039852)

Windows Mobile with skyfire is pry the best flash platform for mobile flash viewing, atm.

Re:Android does support Flash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039886)

The bashing is not about Apple not currently supporting Flash, it's that they never will.

Whereas Flash will be available on Android 2.2.

Re:Android does support Flash? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040168)

yes. it's always just around the corner, isn't it?

Re:Android does support Flash? (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32045330)

The very fact that we're discussing why Flash isn't already on these mobile devices is a good indicator of why Jobs hates flash. Adobe has gotten extremely lax when it comes to innovation, security, and keeping current with technology, all due to the fact that they had no competition in the Flash arena. Now that HTML5 is a serious threat (and it is a serious threat when sites like Youtube, Facebook, Hulu, etc. are all talking about supporting h.264 streaming instead of Flash), we're suddenly seeing them actively trying to get hardware acceleration working, reducing CPU requirements, optimizing even for the Mac platform, if only a few years after h.264 was out. Better late than never...

The simple fact is, that they should have had better performing versions out ont he market when Smart Phones took off a few years ago. Flash isn't optimized for Mobile, and it's not optimized for touch interfaces. Hell, you could even say it's not optimized for any current OS and you wouldn't be far wrong. Any time a site takes up more CPU than that required to run an entire VM in virtual mode is pretty sad.

Adobe didn't have to work for device support for years or lack of a captive 'flash audience', and now they do if they want to stay relevant.

Love Apple, or hate them, but I think their push for open standards and HTML5 and their refusal to allow Flash onto their mobile hardware was just the kick in the ass that Adobe needed. That said, I hope they die a quick painful death in the flash arena. Flash is still an abomination.

Re:Android does support Flash? (3, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039910)

The Nokia N900 supports Flash in it's own browser, or Firefox, or Chromium. Unlike iWhatever or Android there are no limits put on you. Oh, and you have root access, and can develop in whatever you want, and don't have to ask anyone for any permission, to do anything.

So there!

Re:Android does support Flash? (2, Informative)

lonecrow (931585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040284)

I think the issue that that Apple forbids flash whereas flash support for Android has just not yet been developed.

Re:Android does support Flash? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040624)

I think the issue that that Apple forbids flash whereas flash support for Android has just not yet been developed.

The big question is WHY?!

Adobe wants to get Flash on the iPhone. Yet Jobs has spurned Flash. Yet Adobe keeps trying.

All that effort could've been better spent getting Flash working on open devices, like Android. Instead Adobe just wants Apple to support Flash. Hell, didn't Jobs give Adobe a challenge to show Flash working well on any device?

Re:Android does support Flash? (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041178)

It's a big company, and you can only have so many hands in things at once. Shockingly, adobe seems to grasp the importance of android for flash and it seems like they're really putting some effort into it.

Uh oh. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039278)

From the license agreement:

When you use the browser, Skyfire has access to, and in many cases will monitor, your Browser Usage.

also

Personal information collected by Skyfire may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country in which Skyfire Labs, Inc. or its agents maintain facilities. By using Skyfire products and services, you consent to any such transfer of information outside of your country.

I understand that to work Skyfire needs to translate some stuff from Flash to HTML 5, but the word "monitor" is a little scary. Also I don't appreciate the fact that the GPS turned on before I even got a chance to read the terms of use.

So... speaking personally... I'm not accepting.

Re:Uh oh. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039432)

Did it over ride your settings to turn on GPS, or did you not have it disabled?

Re:Uh oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039694)

I didn't have it disabled. I guess I didn't expect running a browser to turn on the GPS. Anyway I said no to the terms and uninstalled and that was that.

Re:Uh oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050816)

I'm not a user of the software, but I could guess that it takes advantage of location data for sites that use it (see twitter.com, while logged in, for an example), which would be one reason the GPS may be turned on.

Skyfire... (2, Insightful)

aapold (753705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039804)

I've used skyfire on windows mobile for some time (and still do when I don't unload it for Android). It handles most flash flawlessly.... but not on the phone.

What skyfire does, as near as I understand it, is route all traffic to skyfire servers, which then convert the whole shebang, in real time, to what they then send to your phone. I've played flash games, seen web video, etc, all sans any trouble at all. It wasn't the most user-friendly browser initially but it has improved dramatically recently. It still won't zoom as easily as opera, for example....

However, you should be aware of the middle man, and in using it you are implicitly trusting them with everything you do through them, and some might have a problem with that.

Re:Skyfire... (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040468)

However, you should be aware of the middle man, and in using it you are implicitly trusting them with everything you do through them, and some might have a problem with that.

Sounds interesting, I'll probably try it whenever I need flash support for something, and use my standard browser the rest of the time when I don't.

flash is still amazing!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040726)

I just watch daily show, colbert report, south park, and youtube on my android with skyfire.

Plus i tested a fair number of Pr0n sites and they worked as well.

totally turns the android os into the ipad killer.

hi (-1, Troll)

lydiacanaan (1801034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040740)

Like Opera Mini, earlier versions of Skyfire for Windows Mobile and Symbian were proxy browsers that compressed Web pages on the server side before transferring them to the phone. With this Android edition, the Skyfire folks are shifting strategy. Android’s Webkit-based rendering engine is already capable of displaying Web pages swiftly and accurately, they figure, so they’re not trying to duplicate it. Skyfire for Android uses the same Webkit rendering that Android’s default browser does–but rolls it into a browser with a bunch more features. Hotel Elaphusa Bol [bolcroatia.com]

everything's good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32041758)

Don’t worry, you will be ok. I have had same experience like you do and then i go around and research a little bit and decide to get tested by buying the testing from this website http://www.hiv-home-tests.com/categories/Chlamydia-Tests [hiv-home-tests.com] the website has full discription and information you need to know about the disease, kills your worry in just 3 days. http://www.hiv-home-tests.com/categories/Chlamydia-Tests/ [hiv-home-tests.com] http://www.hiv-home-tests.com/categories/Gonorrhea-Tests/ [hiv-home-tests.com]

To be clear... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32044634)

Now just to be clear, Skyfire is not to be confused with Jetfire...

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>