Review of Skyfire Windows Mobile Browser

Monday, 1 September 2008 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

Well, I thought Skyfire was going to be the second coming the way it was written about. I put myself on the list of salivating beta testers months ago. I got contacted last week that I can test. I was SO excited.

I downloaded. I installed. And I was quickly pissed off. Here is the letter I sent to Skyfire about what I think of their browser.

  • I can’t put in a local file. The address bar is forced to start with http://. That means no file:// and no secure server addresses or anything else. That makes no sense!
  • The whole thing is very iPhone. I don’t have an iPhone because I don’t want one. There are plenty of emulators out there. I thought you were going to do something innovative, and you’re just copying the iPhone.
  • When a web page comes up, it’s microscopic. I have to click to where I want to start reading or clicking. That’s a three click process. Click once to bring up the magnifying glass. Move that to where I want. Click again. Now I’m seeing what I want. Three clicks? Not innovative!
  • I find scrolling clumsy. It’s hard to grab the grain-of-sand-sized scroll bars. When I try to push it with my finger, it doesn’t flow. I use SPB Pocket Plus, and when I run my finger in IE, it flies until I stop it or it slows down. That’s helpful. With yours, I have to slide my finger every time I want to move a screen’s worth.
  • I hate that I can’t just type into form fields. I imagine you grabbing every password I put in and sending that back to your site. Sure, you could steal that in other ways, but this one sure would be easy. It also adds lots of clicks. I’m looking at form field. I click. I have to wait for your window to pop up so I can type. I then have to say OK for your window to drop what I typed into the form field I clicked on. Extra clicks again.
  • Pages hang a lot. I don’t know if you’re rendering the screen, but the app seems to do nothing. The progress bar stops and I’m on the last page I was on. Nothing seems to be happening. My only choice on the screen is a back button.
  • The settings don’t seem to cover things I was hoping to be able to set. In fact, I have to go under Actions to find Settings, and then my only options are to clear cookies and clear history. I can’t set any preferences for the most part.

I went to a hotel website to get prices on a room. It had to take me 10 minutes to keep zooming in, moving around, typing in the dates I wanted, etc… to find the rates. I then went into IE on my phone, went to the same website, and had the rates within 2 minutes taking the same path to get there.

So all in all, I find your browser to be slow. It takes so many extra clicks to do things. Scrolling is slow and clumsy. Entering things into fields takes twice the time if not more. And I can’t set this for how I want to use a browser.

I think I will keep using IE and look at paying for Opera. Opera has been quite good. I will be uninstalling Skyfire from my mobile as I can’t see myself wanting to surf the web with it when I have so much better ease of use from one free app and one paid app.

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Categories: That's Bad Marketing

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