Puffin ($0.99) is another app that touts its ability to play Flash as a major feature. Technically this is true, but its Flash playback isn't stellar. Right now, Flash video on the iPhone looks more like a series of still images, not a smooth sequence of events (the situation is a bit better on the more-powerful iPad 2). Puffin has relatively few features, but it's a speedy app and usually loads sites quicker than Safari. If it can improve its Flash playback, it could be a real contender. Overall rating: 2.0 stars out of 5.
12. Flash Browser
With a name like Flash Browser, you'd think this app ($1.99) would be better at actually playing Flash files. However, I was never able to get it to play the Flash files it downloaded (yes, to play Flash here, you download the files as separate items rather than viewing them in websites as intended). Combine that with a very slow browser that doesn't have many other features and Flash Browser is one to avoid. Overall rating: 0.5 stars out of 5.
SkyFire (US$2.99) debuted to a lot of hype because it is the first iPhone browser app that can play Flash video. It works by transcoding Flash videos to HTML 5, so there is a short loading process before you can play the video in a new screen. Videos at YouTube load quickly and play glitch-free over both WiFi and 3G. However, the app was less successful at other sites. A Lil Wayne video at MTV.com was pixelated and had no volume; likewise, I couldn't get an SNL Digital Short at NBC.com to load at all. Hulu.com is also off-limits. The app saw a huge demand when it first launched, which may explain these growing pains. We'll reevaluate the app after some of these kinks have been worked out.