Just a day after overwhelming demand drove Skyfire from Apple’s App Store, the Flash-playing iPhone browser returned in limited quantities. Five hours after going up to sale, the app was showing as “sold out” as the company looked to increase its server capacity.Skyfire has spent the weekend beefing up its servers. The good news is that if you’re lucky, you should be able to buy Skyfire again soon. The bad? Skyfire’s selling the app in batches to make sure they servers don’t get overwhelmed: they’ll put the app back up on the App Store for a little while, pull it, then put it back up a few hours later.
Skyfire Labs, makers of the popular software, brought the browser back to the App Store Friday, but warned that it would be released in “batches.” Once a certain number of downloads was reached, Skyfire Labs would suspend availability until its servers had digested the additional workload. “We are taking this approach because Skyfire believes a good user experience should come first, and we would rather have fewer, happier customers, and add new users as we can support them,” Jeff Glueck, chief executive of Skyfire Labs, said in the company’s blog.
Skyfire did what Adobe couldn’t and brought Flash to iOS, albeit non-natively. Instead, the Skyfire browser converts Flash videos to HTML5 on their own servers, then pumps the HTML5 to your iPhone or iPad instead. Interestingly, Skyfire Labs was forced to remove its software application from Apple’s Application Store within just five hours of its debut due to the overwhelming demand which risked its server and bandwidth capacity an overload.
Skyfire’s popularity is an indication of Flash’s importance for playing online video. Nevertheless, Apple is pushing HTML5, a relatively new technology, as a better alternative, claiming Flash hurts the performance of the iPhone and uses up too much battery power. Adobe denies the claims. Despite its refusal to support Flash, Apple recognizes its ubiquity on the web. In September, the company changed its iOS 4.0 developer agreement to allow the use of just about any programming tool, including the Adobe Flash Packager for the iPhone. IOS is the operating system used in the iPhone.