Skyfire logo

A chief rival to Opera Mobile in the cell phone browser space, Skyfire has released a new version for Windows Mobile (touchscreen | non-touchscreen) and Nokia's Symbian-run E or N series phones. Version 1.1 makes some minor, but still welcome, improvements to navigation and performance.

My favorite is that you'll now be able to punch the "2" and "8" key on keypad- or keyboard-equipped phones to navigate up and down. Pressing the asterisk (*) will jump you to the joint address/search bar. Of course, this may not work identically on phones with nonstandard keypad arrangements.

Web surfers will also notice that Skyfire may now show a Web site's mobile version more often than before. Behind the change are new WAP features that detect mobile sites better. In addition, Skyfire's browser will zoom in on the page automatically, saving you a step. The new treatment won't work for sites, like Yahoo's, that use "mobile" as part of a URL intended to be viewed from the desktop.

Behind the scenes, Skyfire's mobile browser also received updates for Flash, QuickTime, and Silverlight, all which give the browser the edge in streaming videos. Other tweaks and fixes are designed to speed up the time it takes for a page to load, and quicken scrolling on Nokia phones. Skyfire's blog has a full list of changes.

Skyfire mobile browser is free to all users. You can also download it over the air by pointing a different mobile browser to If you're an existing user who can weather a short wait, Skyfire will push the update to your phone. This should save you having to reconfigure all of RSS and social networking feeds.

Article updated at 12:15 am PT with a clarification on how mobile site detection works.

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.