The recently released Motorola Droid 2 is the first Android 2.2-based phone to come with Flash 10.1 pre-installed. Because much of the web contains Flash, this was a welcomed addition, allowing the smartphone to view the web as it was intended to be viewed; with all its Flash-y goodness as seen below.
However, LAPTOP Magazine’s experience with Flash 10.1 on the Motorola Droid 2 sounds a lot different from what is seen above.
When attempting to view video content from websites such as ABC.com and Fox.com, Piltch experienced a myriad of problems, including long load times, freezes, error messages, and incompatibility issues. Even after leaving the web browser, the Droid 2 was unresponsive for a second or two. However, some video, found using Adobe Flash showcase for mobile, reportedly played smoothly.
Gaming proved to be an equally frustrating experience for Piltch. Many popular Flash games on websites like Addicting Games were made with PC input in mind, requiring the user to click the left mouse button or press CTRL. Though the Droid 2 has a physical QWERTY keyboard, Piltch found that pressing the CTRL key had no effect on the game. Even games made specifically for mobile use did not function correctly.
One of the biggest arguments for Flash on mobile devices is that it would enable websites to be viewed as they were meant to be viewed. But, as Piltch discovered, many flash elements on websites simply did not function correctly or caused the Droid 2 to lag. The “empty boxes”, as Diana Helander says in the above video, seems like the lesser of two evils when the other evil is a phone that can barely function.
“I actually found that some Flash sites had more difficulty loading on the mobile browser when I had the plug-in enabled. At one point, for a period of about 45 minutes, I was inexplicably unable to load either New York Times home page or LAPTOP’s home page as the Droid 2â€²s browser got stuck at the point where it was trying to download some Flash ads and a Flash video player.” – Avram Piltch
Apple’s iOS Devices
Back in April of 2010, CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, composed a lengthy synopsis, titled “Thoughts on Flash“, on why Apple has not integrated Flash into its mobile devices. Jobs stated,
“Flash was created during the PC era for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards all areas where Flash falls short.” – Steve Jobs
With this in mind, Piltch responded:
“After spending time playing with Flash Player 10.1 on the new Droid 2, the first Android 2.2 phone to come with the player pre-installed, I’m sad to admit that Steve Jobs was right. Adobe’s offering seems like it’s too little, too late.” – Avram Piltch
So what’s the alternative? Apple’s iOS devices support HTML 5, which has become increasingly popular. It is a format that works on nearly any device and is a more open standard that allows videos and content to be viewed on mobile devices just as they would be from a PC or Mac. Piltch noted that it was hard to distinguish between a smoothly played Flash video and an HTML 5 video, but HTML 5 seems to be more reliable. Also, many websites already support HTML 5, such as Vimeo.
“Adobe needs to have a better answer to whether or not Flash is still relevant in a world where other technologies have rapidly started displacing it. Based on my early experience with Flash Player 10.1 for mobile, it could soon join the floppy drive in the tech graveyard, something else Steve Jobs helped kill.” – Avram Piltch
Via LAPTOP Magazine