App of the Week: Photon


Name: Photon Flash Player Browser for iPad
Cost: $4.99
Platform: iPad

Any iOS user has had the experience. A YouTube clip that hasn’t been optimized for Apple products, the favorite game rendered unplayable on the iPad or iPhone, the suggestion that you download flash so you can see the latest video. The lack of flash support has been the bane of many Mac fans since the iPhone’s inception. While there are a number of apps with alternative browsers for flash support, but I particularly like Photon.

Photon offers tabbed browsing, with very basic navigation and rather low-fi graphics reminiscent of an earlier computing era. Whenever you happen upon sites that are flash-dependent, you can use a toggle within Photon to view those files on their remote servers.

Photon allows adjustment of the streaming quality, depending on Internet connection and type of task. Games are playable, but can lag do to the transmission factor with a less-than-optimal connection. Streaming video is surprisingly watchable, only a step or two removed from the network’s online streaming offerings. Websites seem to display well, though some demand that you resize the display to an appropriate dimension.

It probably won’t replace Safari, but for those who can’t leave flash behind, Photon has made it simple enough to copy an offending URL in Safari and paste into the other application. I did have some difficulty with Photon re-directing me to iPad-optimized sites UNTIL I used the lightning bolt toggle to use their proxy server.

In addition to the $4.99 iPad version, there is a $3.99 iPhone version of Photon. Purchasing the iPad version will allow you to use the iPhone version, but the reverse is not the case, so plan accordingly.

With today’s Amazon Instant Video app announcement, it seems like there are more and more software applications designed to stream video on mobile devices. But Photon will remain a lifesaver in situations where you don’t have the time, permissions, or connection to download a native app. For video viewing, this app is worth the price.

View more App of the Week reviews in the Archive.