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Skyfire “Retires” Legacy Browser Version 1.5 for WinMo

Well this comes as so surprise and just took a little longer than I expected to get an official announcement. Skyfire today has announced that it will “Retire” and “complete the phase out of our legacy v1.0 product on Windows Mobile and Symbian on December 31st, 2010 for remaining countries”. Skyfire had on intended on leaving the popular proxy based browser in tact for Windows Mobile device owners in North America and Western Europe [read] while they concentrated on their Version 2.0 hybrid Browser for the iPhone. The hybrid version would be a paid app and make use of the native browser as well as their own server to render, as in the likes of the iPhone, Flash embedded video, converting it to HTML5 (Steve Jobs/Apple Approved) and sending it back to the device using the native Safari Browser. [read] The Lanuch of the Skyfire browser for the iPhone was a huge success and quickly was pulled off the App Store because of the Skyfire Servers could not handle the demand. [read] At the same time the App was pulled, or close to that time, Windows Mobile device owners and users of Skyfire could no longer log on to the Skyfire Browser using the Legacy Version 1.5 Browser. [read] This left a lot of users with a bad taste in their mouth and quickly relabeled Skyfire as “SkyFAIL” by some of our readers.Which leads us up to today.

Skyfire has officially announced the end of the Skyfire Version 1.5 for Windows Mobile and Symbian and will have everything closed up by December 31st. Check out their press release below and enjoy Skyfire for the few more weeks we have left with it.

Thanks to radon222 from our Forums for the tip!

Here is the official press release from Skyfire:

Retirement of Legacy 1.0 Product

Skyfire 2.0 is the world’s first hybrid browser, using the best of the device’s native browser, and adding a cloud “booster engine” for extra features like video and social networking. It is our flagship go-forward product, as we’ve reported publicly for months, since our Android launch.

With that in mind, we are announcing that we will complete the phase out of our legacy v1.0 product on Windows Mobile and Symbian on December 31st, 2010 for remaining countries. This two-year old product used a “proxy browser” approach which is no longer our vision.  It was a revolutionary product when introduced and offered for free, but the fast-moving mobile market has changed significantly since 2007, and as a small tech start-up, we need to keep innovating forward.

Our new 2.0 product is built for the next generation of smartphones and tablets with full support for html5, offline browsing, javascript, WebKit, and full-screen video. The 2.0 architecture is exponentially more data efficient as well, and better fits the technology roadmaps of our B2B customers (wireless carriers and handset makers).

This was a very difficult decision for us.  We put our hearts and souls into the 1.0 product and greatly value the many Skyfire fans who used the product and provided us with invaluable feedback during this intensive research & development phase of our company.   We experimented with ways to charge for the product (in certain international test markets) so that existing Windows Mobile and Symbian users could continue to use the service, but the payment mechanisms were very cumbersome and the piracy rates were so high on those OS platforms that we could not make it work.  More importantly, we faced a decision point:  If we were to begin charging money for a product, we had to commit to multiple years of support and enhancement of the product.  It would not be the ethical thing to do to start down that path, given that we would not expect enough revenue to make that sustainable on the legacy 1.0 product, and we can no longer subsidize it.  The right thing we decided was to focus on 2.0 and beyond.

We do expect to bring Skyfire 2.0 to additional platforms, and have begun discussions with some carriers and OEMs to decide which will be our next OS.   Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 and Nokia’s MeeGo platform are both shaping up as platforms with a lot of potential and the recent launch of the new Blackberry OS 6 with a WebKit browser core makes for interesting potential for a future release of Skyfire 2.0.  We value feedback from our users, so please let us know what platform you would like to see Skyfire on next and just as importantly let your wireless carrier know that you want Skyfire!

Thanks to all of our fans, new and old, for their support.  We’re a small 35-person development shop, so all the enthusiasm for Skyfire has been gratifying for all of the engineers here in Mountain View.

Jeff Glueck, CEO