Feeds

SkyFire massacres own proxies

Too much content, can't cope - on the way out?

Security for virtualized datacentres

SkyFire, pioneer of mobile browsing by proxy, has been shutting down those proxies around the world as the cost of processing everyone's content gets too much for it.

The disappearing proxies were noticed by All About Symbian, which started compiling a list of countries in which SkyFire had stopped working, but rapidly reversed that into a list of countries in which it continues to operate: USA, UK and Canada.

The message presented to users, and reproduced by All About Symbian, claims the service will run down entirely on 1 July because "SkyFire is consolidating the countries in which it operates". Strangely the message refers specifically to the Windows Mobile and Symbian versions of the free browser, ignoring the recently-updated Android version – the company hasn't yet responded to our request for more information.

SkyFire offloads processing to the national proxy server in order to reduce the burden on the handset, meaning that even quite basic handsets can support Flash animations and streaming video, and reducing the bandwidth too. The concept wasn't new when SkyFire deployed it, and these days Opera Turbo offers the same sort of functionality, but SkyFire's support for streaming video gained it a second-browser spot on a lot of handsets.

But unlike Opera, SkyFire's browser is entirely dependent on those proxies – turning the browser from a capital expenditure in which one can invest, into an operational expenditure which needs constant funding. Every new customer costs the company money, which must be recovered from somewhere.

SkyFire, like Opera, hopes to make that money though a combination of charging manufacturers to pre-install the browser, and from content deals such as using a specific search engine or linking to social networking sites. From the message it would seem that in most countries that revenue isn't covering the cost of running those proxies, so the company is pulling the plug.

Windows Mobile is a dead platform walking, but Symbian should continue to be in SkyFire's target demographic – even more so given Nokia's avowed intention to push the platform into the mid-range. The Android version of SkyFire, which was updated only a few days ago, isn't mentioned in the message, but it would be strange to see support continued for one platform while being dropped for others.

There are still too many mobile browsers, given the immature market and unproven revenue stream, so some consolidation is inevitable. SkyFire isn't out of the running yet, but it doesn't bode well. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Net neutrality protestors slam the brakes on their OWN websites
Sites link up to protest slow lanes by bogging down pages
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Who us, SHARE infrastructure? Networks reject gov proposal
Execs pour scorn on 'national roaming' outline – report
Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress
FCC invites opinions in CSV format, after Slowdown day 'success'
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.