02/11/2010, 09:14 PM
A commenter on Engadget with some really good points: Adobe: Flash 10.1 will require 'some enhancements to existing versions of Android' - Engadget
"Hello! Yes, of course there are some good uses for Flash at the moment - it's the de facto standard for active content - but, if the main justification that the developers themselves can come up with (in their own video) is that you get all the banner adverts displayed correctly on NatGeo (while sucking the hell out of your battery) then it's tough to see much of a point to it in the long run from our point of view.
What can Flash do that can't be done with a combination of native apps for games / tricky stuff and web / video standards for the rest? All decent mobile platforms already support that approach.
I say this because I was a used to argue big time against friends who recommended Firefox to me back in its early days, claiming to them that IE6 was much better for displaying all that day's websites, but who realised the errors of his ways.
In 2002, I found that IE6 correctly displayed 100% of the websites I visited whereas Firefox failed to render around half of them correctly, despite adhering to all the latest open standards. So, no matter the technical benefits of the "superior" technology, I was losing out as a user!!
But, in the long run, the problem wasn't Firefox... it was IE6. Content providers realised that they were being held back by IE and to support new, open web standards was the only way to go. Eventually they started seeing IE6 as holding them back massively and now we're in a world where the open browser engines are clearly ahead in performance and capability and support 99.999% of websites. Now even Google see IE6 as a liability and are dropping support for it.
In my mind, we're in pretty much exactly the same situation with active content - just replace IE6 with Flash. It's a legacy thing. But you can change one similarity - IE6 on the PC was a known, working entity. Flash on mobile isn't, so could be easier to displace.
For all the criticism of Apple for not supporting Flash out of principle, tell me which manufacturers _currently_ support desktop Flash 10.x on a shipping ARM platform? That's right - none of them. All the criticism is being based on Adobe's claims that Symbian / Android / WinMo will support desktop Flash as some stage in the future. But it does not exist... nobody has tried it to say it's usable or practical.
To me, Flash 10.1 on ARM is, at the moment, sheer vaporware - it's supposed to have been with us for about 6 months already and none of us have it yet.
Even when it does arrive, we now find out it will be limited to only the latest versions of Android, so Droid, X10, G1, Hero will all miss out? Clearly they can't write Flash plugins in Java / Dalvik so they've got to rely on favours from Google.... so any manufacturer who has branched away from the Google source code will now be in real trouble.
Because it's "closed", any manufacturer who wants to use Flash and doesn't just take the off-the-shelf code from Google will have to get into a massive fight with all the other people in the queue to beg Adobe to port it to their products... and then get them to keep updating it as Google move through the versions of Android at a rate of knots. Not fun.
Anyway, the pragmatist in me says "give me Flash now on all my products for compatibility, but with FlashBlock installed for battery life and performance" but, Adobe, you'd better deliver based on the hype you've produced however the long term strategist in me, having learned from IE6, says it slightly less subtley... "****** IE6, ****** flash!" "
How many of you would say flash wouldn't really be an issue if you were able to stream video from sites such as Hulu straight from the browser?