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Flash on Android test shows slowdowns, incompatibility

updated 03:55 pm EDT, Thu August 19, 2010

Flash on Android seen too slow and unoptimized

A test of Flash 10.1 on Android late yesterday has cast doubt on its usefulness in the short term. Using both the Droid 2's preloaded Flash install and the final release on an original Droid, Laptop found that claims of desktop-level access were inaccurate. Most desktop video sites, which Adobe has usually claimed should run, often produced long load times, stuttering or froze any outside input.

Only mobile-optimized sites can reliably work, the magazine found.

Games also underscored the problems of using Flash. Apart from the well-known issues with games that assume the presence of a keyboard, the titles often bog down or become unresponsive even when optimized for touch.

General web browsing is also much slower and less responsive, as the browser has to download Flash content it otherwise would have skipped over and risks the same plugin-related crashes as on the desktop.

While Flash 10.1 potentially works well in situations where the resolution and actions are optimized for a phone, the test supports notions that the plugin is currently a liability for smartphones rather than a help. Apple chief Steve Jobs is well known for having explained the absence of Flash on iOS as a matter of quality since the present implementation isn't as fast and stable as Apple would like for its web experience on the iPad and iPhone. He has instead pressed for HTML5 for at least video; the technology doesn't yet support copy protection or on-the-spot adaptive quality but puts much less performance overhead on the 1GHz or less processors in phones today.

The increasing use of HTML5 inadvertently made the Flash test difficult, as sites like South Park Studios will push Android phones to HTML5 even when they have Adobe's add-on, giving an impression of smooth playback that might not necessarily translate to Flash.

by MacNN Staff



  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Is this a surprise?

    It seems Apple made a decision based on sound reasoning.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And It Seems Like Only Monday ...

    ... that Shamu was yackking about Adobe "moving on" from trying to please Apple. Apparently he was right. They've moved on to trying to please the Android world.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. elguappo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What else?

    Agreed..why waste time on a platform that chooses for its users what it can use. Here is the cool thing...On the Android you can CHOOSE to have Flash. It if does not work to your liking - don't use it. If it works, great.

    Its all about choice. Apple did not make this decision on sound reasoning...its a pure business move...the HTML 5 codec issue will become a bigger problem then if Flash runs well or not on a mobile. Making it work is Adobe's job. Not Stevie-boy's job telling me its not good enough for my phone. If you really think Steve did this for you, his dear ole blindly following masses, you should really think about what technology is next for Steve to say is not good enough for you to even choose to use or not.

    Eliminating choice is the worst thing to do. And Job's is all about telling his maases what to use and how to hold a phone.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: What else?

    That IS your choice...iPhone or Android.

    You choose one where the experience is controlled to insure optimum performance for the features provided, or you can choose to have the custom phone that allows you load anything you want but at your own peril to performance and/or compatibility.

    This assumption that the majority of people appreciate customization in their smartphones is vastly exaggerated. There is a reason so many people like the iPhone and continue to buy it...because of the features it has and the simplicity in using them, period.


  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's obvious from this account, along with every preceding one, that the current incarnation of Flash for mobile iPhone-like devices is not ready for widespread use by regular users. It's unsurprising that Apple wants no part in exposing their customers to such a shoddy web browsing experience, simply so that Flash ads can be displayed, along with the occasional video and crappy restaurant website or broken game. The reduced customer support costs alone are likely worth the few customers lost due to lack of Flash support. In any case, everyone benefits in the long term from the momentum Apple gives HTML5 adoption by refusing Flash, eventually freeing us all from the shackles of a shoddy web browser plugin, even if we're not quite there yet.

  1. facebook_Nelson

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2010



    Well I use Apple stuff for 14 year now, and remembering what Steve said on D8, I still think it was a wise decision. Like is said, Apple is not the most resourceful tech company and they had to choose were to focus on, and decide to focus on technology that is in it's way up instead of one that is on is way down.

    There's a lot of Apple fan boys/girls. I belong to this group that came from the "early day". This days the vast majority of Apple users are not from this group. This days the biggest group of Apple users are the switchers that start to come on board after the release Intel Macs and take a calculated risk. They bought a Mac 'cause it was able to run Windows if did not like not like Mac OS. But the greatest part of them liked the simplicity and "get things done" in a easier way. Then became the iPhone that change the phone market forever. Contrary to the common belief most people do not customize there phones and OS's. They like to feel they have the possibility of doing it, but they really don't. What drives Apple is to build products that deliver the best user experience to the average user. And that is a full package to them, from asthetics to function.

    On the other hand I really believe that they will adopt Flash if Adobe make it work with very good performance... For that to happen Adobe has to optimize Flash to make use of hardware acceleration, and considering the amount of different hardware from Apple and Android phones, I think that would be a gigantic amount of work... Let's see

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It took Adobe long enough...

    Yep, over 3 years to deliver the sub-standard user experience Steve Jobs was talking about.

    By supporting standers-based apps, Apple and others aren't beholden to the skill (or lack of it as in Adobe's mobile Flash) timetable or other agenda. Yes, that's Adobe again, with their historical sub-standard support of Apple and Mac OS X.

    As we see in this case, even Adobe's full support of the Android platform isn't enough for them to deliver on their promises of a fully functional mobile Flash.

    THREE YEARS and all Android gets is a crummy Flash experience.

    Steve Jobs was right.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. alangerow

    Joined: Dec 1969


    On Demand

    Of course it's going to slow down load times when you're downloading the "full web". But seriously, there's a setting that tells the browser to load extensions on demand. That way, you don't load the Flash content initially, only if you want to. You're presented with a green download arrow in place of Flash. Then, if that site is worth allowing the extra download effort, you can do it. If not, you don't have to. It really nullifies the entire downside.

    If you want to use Flash, you can. If a site doesn't have mobile optimized Flash, then don't enable Flash on that site when you visit, thus the site's Flash causes no harm to your phone.

    It truly is the best of both worlds. My phone does not suffer just having Flash installed on it. Poorly programmed Flash is a problem, but just don't return to sites or enable on subsequent visits when the Flash experience is less than ideal. When it works, it's great ... you get tons of content that was previously locked off from mobile devices. The option is there, and the benefits of avoiding it are, too.

  1. James Katt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ha ha ha ha ha!

    Good luck to Android users. Your browsing experience is going to suck even more. Ha ha ha ha ha. Crashes. Boom!

  1. jimcord

    Joined: Dec 1969


    to the responder

    the saddest part of your diatribe about choice and Stevie doing all of the thinking for us(the apple users) is that you think you actually have choice! Are you that big of a dumb a** to think that Google and Adobe are not leading you around by the d***. You have even less going for you than we do, knowing full well that Google is using you like a sponge soak up everything thing you search, load and do on the web to then wring it out and sell it to everyone for their own profit. Even Apple folks haven't given up that much as you are giving up. Get with the program you tool!

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