With Apple CEO Steve Jobs arguing that Flash on a mobile device would not deliver acceptable performance for the user, the ensuing war between the two Silicon Valley tech giants have led to Apple evangelizing HTML 5 as an alternative to interactive content, browser-embedded videos, and games and advertising for mobile. However, the war is far from over as Google, which is a supporter of HTML 5, has stood behind Adobe and the Motorola Droid 2 has become the first device to launch with Google’s Android 2.2 operating system, which brings with it native Flash 10.1 for Mobile support out of the box. Reviews are in on the Droid 2, including ours at pocketnow.com, and the latest review on LaptopMag.com puts Flash for Mobile support through its paces. The verdict? According to LaptopMag.com, “Unfortunately, there are some popular Flash videos and games that just didn’t work well on our Android devices and there was no programmatic way to predict that, until we were already in the middle of those experiences.”
According to LaptopMag.com, there are many sites that work great, and games played well with Flash for Mobile, but there were also a number of sites that did not work with the plugin, including ABC.com and FOX.com. The review notes that videos on the former’s site lagged because “According to Adobe, these problems are caused by videos that were encoded at too high of a bit-rate for mobile devices to stream efficiently,” and videos on the latter’s site weren’t playable at all.
The reviewer notes that “In order for sites like Fox.com to satisfy users, they’ll need to optimize their content for mobile playback. Whether or not these content providers choose to accommodate mobile Flash users or choose another solution altogether remains to be seen. For some, these experiences pose a critical challenge to the platform.” This points out that although Flash 10.1 for Mobile, which is now available for Android 2.2, and may soon be coming to other mobile platforms, is supposed to make a lot of the desktop-based Flash content compatible on the mobile device, but in fact there’s still a disparity for videos.
Additionally, If developers want to ensure that their videos will be playable on mobile, they would essentially need to create a mobile-optimized version and possibly have two video versions. At this point, it may not make sense for developers to stick to Flash.
You can also see some of our reader’s thoughts on Flash on mobile on our post about Flash on Android 2.2.