The debate about Flash on iOS devices rarely makes headlines these days, but it’s far from being over. You can see it in an increasing number of apps from third-parties that aim to solve this nasty issue once and for all. While the vast majority of solutions only tackle Flash videos, only a few iOS apps are capable of rendering other content types delivered through Flash, like games and interactive apps.
Enter iSwifter, a new iPad app that claims to stream any Flash content. That’s right, not just videos, but animated Flash banners on websites (YAY! advertising!) and even full-featured Flash applications and games. Although it was released last September, iSwifter was recently updated with a bunch of new features, including a built-in web browser that lets you surf the web and play Flash games inside the same app.
If Engadget’s review
is an indication, it works as advertised. Everything is processed in the iSwift cloud and then beamed down to your device. It’s worth noting that iSwifter loads all Flash content on web pages inline, in its embedded WebKit browser. It’s the closest thing to having real Flash software on your device.
Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for an iPhone version. iSwifter is a free download for your iPad
so you should definitely check it out (you’ll be asked to pay 99 cents to remove a usage limitation). Our Android friends will be delighted to know that an Android 2.2 version is scheduled for release in the coming weeks.
On the final note, iSwifter mounts a formidable challenge to Skyfire, a paid WebKit browser for the iPhone and iPad that has a host of nifty little features, including the ability to automatically detect Flash videos embedded on web page so they can be streamed to the device in an iOS-friendly format.
Video transcoding happens in the cloud and the user gets to watch Flash clips without the battery drain associated with mobile Flash Player software. On the downside, transcoding takes awhile so you end up waiting 30-60 seconds before the video starts to play, it sometimes stutters and you cannot quickly scrub through it.