The 'full web' on a full screen

The iPad is a wonderful thing, and thoroughly deserves to have sold the millions of units it's shifted in the few short months since it launched. But it does have one flaw: it doesn't run Adobe's popular browser plug-in Flash. You probably don't realise it, but your browser uses Flash to show videos, banner ads, interactive menus and much of the multimedia content on the web. It's often said, in fact, that without it, the iPad doesn't offer the 'Full Web.'

Now, Steve Jobs has his reasons for not making Flash available on the iPad (or the iPhone, but people didn't notice so much there). He says Flash is slow and buggy, which is true, and that it kills mobile devices' battery life, which is also true. But many iPad users would probably rather have the option to sacrifice a bit of performance for the full web experience, even if it was turned off by default.

Well, now they do. A few weeks ago an app was released for the iPhone called Skyfire. An alternative browser, it used clever behind-the-scenes trickery to show Flash content on the iPhone without actually running Flash. (If you must know, it sends the content to its own servers where it's coded into an iPhone-friendly format and sent back to the phone for display.) It naturally proved riotously popular on launch, so much so that the company had to ration availability to stop its servers from getting overloaded.

But iPad owners, for whom the need was arguably greater, were left out of the fun. Well, no more. On Friday, it was reported that Skyfire for iPad has been submitted to Apple for inclusion in the App Store. It should appear for download before Christmas and probably cost £2.39, the cost of the iPhone version, or thereabouts. So now you can curl up in bed with your iPad and watch video from all sorts of obscure websites. Er, keep it clean now...

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