A while back, Skyfire generated a considerable amount of interest when they announced that they were working on making their web browser available for BlackBerry. Their web browser ranks among the fastest and most reliable on other devices so this was great news to the BlackBerry community. We even remained hopeful after some of their beta releases failed to live up to the hype. After what seems like forever, they have spoken out about what seems to be the hold up in their development for BlackBerry…
So what’s standing in the way? The Android. This statement from the Skyfire blog explains why:
1.We see Android as a fast-rising ecosystem, with a rich, totally open developer environment, a healthy app market and a healthy advertising and search ecosystem. The Android OS has a tremendous amount of interest from handset makers and carriers, and also has a strong need for making the explosion of video more network optimized (Skyfire’s wheelhouse).
2.The Blackberry developer environment is not as favorable for cutting-edge application development. The APIs are fragmented and inconsistent, and the Java virtual machine Blackberry requires is not efficient. While Blackberry users are desperate for a better browser – we know, and we hear them – we only want to bring out something that meets our high standards and is truly great.
3.The timing makes sense to return to Blackberry in the future. Blackberry has pledged to improve their developer environment in their 6.0 OS coming at the end of this year, and we can’t wait to see it. Blackberry has said at that time they will introduce a webkit browser with server-side assist on html and text, developed based on their acquisition of Torch Mobile. We understand it will be a long way from able to handle native Flash 10.1 and similar rich media plug-ins, and we think we can build on that webkit engine and add cloud-based new features around it.
It seems like they are just restating a problem that we already know to be true. Lucky for us, RIM is making moves in the right direction with the upcoming webkit browser, OS 6.0, and the update of their developer tools. But, just like OS 6.0 and the webkit browser, we’re probably not going to see Skyfire for BlackBerry anytime soon. What do you think?