Just how bad is Flash on Android?

Pretty bad. In fact, if you’re thinking video, utterly unusable.

Kevin Tofel of GigaOm and JKOnTheRun is someone who isn’t a dyed in the wool iPhone or Apple fan. In fact, he replaced his iPhone with a Nexus One in January (a process that I’ve recently gone through, more of which anon). And that’s why this video over on NewTeeVee of his experience with Flash video should be required watching for anyone who thinks Flash on mobile is a reality, today.

What does this demonstrate? Simply that the idea that Apple could simply magically put Flash on the iPad (which runs a processor in the same class as the Nexus One) is fantasy. Ignoring the broader reasons for Apple wanting to keep Flash off its platform, it’s clear that Flash is simply too processor-intensive to work properly on mobile-class processors as currently specified.

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  • http://twitter.com/iwrigley Ian Wrigley

    “That’s seconds per frame, not frames per second.” Wow, the performance sucks.

  • http://twitter.com/mikeBGE Mike Huuunt

    Weird… I can’t duplicate your performance on my Droid X over 3G. I might get an occasional hiccups but the videos play without lag most of the time. As far as animations and ads and what not though, those usually aren’t smooth. But I only use Flash for the embedded videos on sites like you’ve gone to and I get plenty of success.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=828515569 Anonymous

    couldn’t it just be, like the error / alert says, the video isn’t optimized for mobile? is flash video encoder scalable?

  • http://rodchristiansen.net/ Rod Christiansen

    Flash is a nightmare…

  • Anonymous

    The video shouldn’t need to be optimized for video. The Quicktime version on iPhone plays H.264 mp4 video just fine at 720p resolution.

    Why can’t flash?

    That’s the problem.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Just to be clear, Mike, that’s Kevin doing the testing. I haven’t even dared to install Flash on my N1.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    It’s an open question, but I think in a sense it’s pretty irrelevant. To an end user – someone who doesn’t want to tweak, twiddle and prod something into performing – the reasons for Flash sucking are irrelevant. What matters is that it just doesn’t work well.

  • http://twitter.com/techtiger Morgan McCallum

    Personally, I don’t think your review is all that fair considering you got a warning saying the video is not optimized for mobile. I would typically expect slower response for anything that is not formatted for a mobile device. the compression in itself would be a lot to handle. Watching your demo, I didn’t see any redirection to a mobile-optimized site or any attempt to visit one.

    So I don’t think it’s really a problem with flash per se, I think it may be more of a deal of Mobile technology is advancing faster than content providers can keep up.

  • kibbles

    if content providers need to *re-encode* flash archives for mobile, then whats the point of *flash*? if youre going to start maintaining multiple versions, shouldnt you just decide to “encode once, run anywhere” via HTML5? remember that was the point of flash — run anywhere.

    not so much.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Actually, I think there are cases where Flash is the right solution to use. What I find baffling, though, is Adobe’s insistance that it’s ready for prime-time on mobile, when clearly it has issues. Yes, some users report being able to get it to work perfectly. But users who I trust – and Kevin is one of them – have big issues. Clearly, Adobe is guilty of overselling its readiness for mobile.

    And that’s something I find a bit odd. Why claim that your key technology works well, when it obviously doesn’t?

  • http://twitter.com/xpdos Dustin Martin

    It works fine on my nexus one you can’t expect desktop performance. I call bullshit on you, apple lover.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Stinks of fanboy jealousy. The fact that the latest version of flash is on Android is fantastic. Regardless of whether the CPU can cope with this video or that video, pretty insignificant. Dual core 1.5Ghz cpus will be in handsets by the end of the year for that. In the meantime there are hundreds of thousands of sites that use flash for a lot more than just video streams! Those don’t need beefy CPUs to render properly. As Android becomes more and more feature rich, you watch Mr Jobs drop his pants and start enabling stuff to keep up.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Just to be clear on that, Morgan – it’s Kevin’s demo, rather than mine.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Dustin. Which part of “In fact, he replaced his iPhone with a Nexus One in January” did you not understand?

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    So which part of the video do you think is faked? Or do you really believe that choppy, unwatchable video is “fantastic”?

  • Anonymous

    Hmm, that Wipeout episode’s taking a while to load. I might watch an H.264 video on my iPhone while I wait.

  • http://www.theangrydrunk.com The Angry Drunk

    Personally, I don’t think your reply is all that fair considering that you obviously didn’t actually read Ian’s post or you would know that he wasn’t the one doing the review.

    Also, I find it hilarious that the people pooh-poohing this demo continually bring up the “optimized for mobile” red herring when the demo clearly states that Kevin is using a WiFi connection. Not to mention the fact that Adobe has repeatedly pushed the theme that the advantage of Flash was that everyone was already using it and thus wouldn’t need to reformat their content. Of course, now that real-life reviews are coming in showing that Flash isn’t, in fact, the Alpha and Omega of content delivery, Adobe’s official response is “reformat your content.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    None of it is faked Ian. Read carefully; I wasn’t referring to video as fantastic. And FYI I like Apple products. hth.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Well, you did say that “The fact that the latest version of flash is on Android is fantastic” and given that we’re talking video here, I think I made a pretty fair assumption about what you were talking about.

  • http://twitter.com/os_kr oscar

    Lot of fandroids here.

    Steve Jobs was right.

    You have to admit.

  • Anonymous

    Woah – I guess Flash adverts play like butter though. Thanks for saving me the install and removal. The question is whether enough sites will optimize/down/scale Flash video so that it does run decently on mobile devices. There again, if they need to do that, why wouldn’t they just transcode to an HTML5 compatible format and pick up the iOS users?

  • Anonymous

    The hardest part about all of this is that people who want the flash experience they enjoyed during the 2000s don’t understand that the technology doesn’t work on mobile.

    They don’t understand the unique challenges of mobile. They only know that flash = fast smooth video. They actually want the fast smooth video experience. Adobe / Macromedia did a great job connecting the brand to the desktop experience but are unable to deliver that on mobile.

    All of this would have been alright if Adobe hadn’t bristled with such intensity when Apple made the right decision excluding the technology from iOS devices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    I wasn’t & I don’t. There are tons of applications for flash. Despite how unfortunately prevalent it is, at least you can now have the whole internet easily on your person outside of a traditional “fat” OS.

  • http://twitter.com/dustinrue Dustin

    Sorry but, really? It’s ok for flash to suck today if better processors are coming tomorrow?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Why not. Everything has to start somewhere and evolve Dustin.

  • Anonymous

    “The fact that the latest version of flash is on Android is fantastic.”

    Stinks of Fandroid astroturfing. (See what I did there?)

    Has anything in the history of astroturfing been astroturfed harder than Android? You can’t go anywhere on the Web without this ANDROID FTW ZOMG commentary. It’s getting old. Really old.

    I’ve seen a lot of reviews of Flash 10.1 on Android, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the adjective “fantastic” used. But hey, enjoy your proprietary-plugin-driven Web, “Free and Open” Android fans. :

  • Anonymous

    The moral of this story is that Steve Jobs is right (again).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Missing the point.. HTML 5, which is touted as the logical and capable replacement for Flash looks great and I’ve seen and played with many a demo. However it will take years for developers, if they even choose to, to rewrite their websites.

  • Anonymous

    Yes – because everyone wants to wait over a year to watch content thats been available for far longer. It’s ludicrous to expect hardware manufacturers to pick up the slack that has been left by the software manufacturer. You can’t argue on a platform that might be workable later – you argue on how it works now. Fact is, it didn’t work. Flash on mobile is buggy, and it’s far from dependable. This isn’t a story on Apple hatred. It’s a story on how it didn’t work as advertised. End of story.

  • http://twitter.com/panze Panu Markkanen

    Actually flash runs perfectly fine in my Nokia N900 linux phone – including Youtube videos (and not only mobile-optimized ones). The processor in that one is Texas Instruments OMAP3 running at 600MHz. The Qualcomm Snapdragon at 1 GHz is easily equivalent what comes to speed.

    It seems to me there are factors other than the Flash itself that affect the performance. Also it seems clear that the current smartphone-grade mobile processors are easily powerful enough to run Flash.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Panu – is that Flash 10.1? I didn’t think there was a 10.1 version out for Maemo yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    It’s not Apple hatred & It’s not a balanced story at all, only focussing on a couple of websites with what appear to require a lot of cpu grunt. Meh. I’ve got a very old centrino laptop running 1.5ghz or something that runs flash VIDEO like that, horrible and stuttering. Other, “flash” websites / applets / games are fine…

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.eccles1 Paul Eccles

    Well even the last video stuttered, which wasn’t HD. Poor form.

  • Anonymous

    Why would developers “choose to rewrite their websites” if they can comfortably stick with the proprietary status quo??? They wouldn’t.

    Apple is the only one giving them any impetus with their Flash-free iOS devices. And I say good for them. If Google had a spine they’d get on board too. And we’d see HTML5 surge like crazy.

    “Years” to get there? Yeah, only if people keep clinging to Flash.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    http://www.chromeexperiments.com/ – Google are all over it son..

  • Anonymous

    Considering there is an option to make Flash only run on demand, I don’t see what it wrong about it not running perfectly. Just run your phone sans Flash, and if you run into something you gotta see, click to turn it on. Then the performance hit is only on content you normally wouldn’t otherwise see. Best of all worlds. Choice is nice.

    Related links also show a certain tendency here.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, Chrome “Experiments.” Yeah, that’s going to shift the tides. :

    This experimental HTML5 stuff is all well and good, but there is *no incentive for developers to drop proprietary Flash* as long as Flash can be used as a crutch. Or in Google’s case, as an OS feature talking point in their mobile war against Apple.

    You know what really would have pushed HTML5 over the edge? If Google had had the stones to say “You know, we really don’t want to support the proprietary Web on our mobile devices either.”

    Alas, profit over principle.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Well yeah. The theme is “Flash really doesn’t perform reliably well on mobile-class devices”. And I do, indeed, run my phone sans Flash – and my N1 doesn’t seem to suffer because of it.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Yup :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    What’s an N1 Ian, intrigued?

  • http://www.facebook.com/conradmacintyre Conrad MacIntyre

    As far as the “processors will catch up” argument goes… really? If it needs a NON-EXISTANT processor to work then IT DOES NOT WORK now. You can’t have it both ways, Fandroids.

  • RichardL

    So I can use my HTC EVO Android mobile to watch an embedded Flash video on your mobile-optimized blog site of someone reviewing how Flash video on Android works poorly on some clearly un-optimized sites.

    That’s what I call “meta-irony”.

    By the way, I had far more trouble using the comment system on your blog than viewing the Flash video on my mobile. Perhaps HTML/JS being ready for mobile is over-hyped too.

    By the way, by the way, just like kevin at jkOnTheRun I couldn’t get abc.go.com to display Flash videos on my Evo, but then if I try the same thing on my iPad I just get a big dialog telling me to download and install a specialized ABC app (a plugin by any other name…).

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Nexus One – like Kevin, I traded in my iPhone 3GS for one. I still keep the 3GS around and use it occasionally, but any iPhone apps I really want to use run on my iPad, so I don’t miss it.

  • kibbles

    ..what kind of battery will be powering these might CPUs of the future? cuz right now, there isnt enough juice for multi-cores like that. in fact, battery tech is the one area thats pretty consistently dismal and hasnt been improving.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently Android fans love “free and open” mobile operating systems but are perfectly content with a proprietary plugin-based Web, slamming anyone (or any company) who dares take a stand against it.

    Hypocrisy at its finest.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Interestingly, I’ve never had any problems with Disqus commenting on my Nexus One, so perhaps you should get a better Android phone? ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Ahh cool, I looked around for one for a while after the Hero but far too expensive :/; have settled on a Galaxy S for now. Just enjoying monitoring the mobile market and watching the advances!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Someone recognises the importance of the exponential growth (and can spot a quick buck!): http://androidandme.com/2010/08/news/angry-birds-beta-flocking-to-android-this-friday/

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    I got lucky – picked one up second hand for less than the resale price of a 3GS. The hardest thing to get used to was the screen, as I really don’t like the colour on AMOLEDs (or Super AMOLEDs, for that matter).

  • http://hgw27.net HGW

    I tell you what’s wrong. If Apple has to insert adobe’s code in iOS, then every time jumps up some problems with flash, Apple and iOS’s users have to WAIT for adobe to solve the problem. No matter if you using flash or not. This is why a toggle or a switch to activate or deactivate flash is a non sense. Because doesn’t solve nothing.

    Personally, I don’t want “a line” of adobe’s code in my iOS devices. Flash (nowadays) is great for desktop experience, but on mobile is like eating peperoni at brakfast: indigest and with no much sense.

    I know: adobe understood mobile segment (iPhone, iPad, tablets, others) sooner or later will grab more and more desktop’s market share and become dominant.

    Unfortunately for them (and many others) Steve Jobs understood that first. Again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Yea you did well there. All down to preference I guess. I’m no expert RE colour reproduction on various display technologies, but imho this 4″ beauty is a massive step up from the Hero / 3GS. Blacks, are literally black (pixels are off) so the contrast is amazing. all subjective of course however!

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    That’s related to something I’ve covered before (http://www.technovia.co.uk/2010/05/arms-experience-shows-why-steve-jobs-is-right-on-flash.html):

    “If you hand your developer platform over to a third party, you’re handing the whole platform over to them. You’re effectively tying your fate to theirs, and allowing them control over your future. For some, that might be acceptable. But for Apple, it’s not.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    Will be interesting to see eh Kibbles.

  • Anonymous

    I love the comments by the Fandroids, especially the ones that insist that Flash is perfect on mobile (and when it isn’t, it’s somebody else’s fault, definitely not high and mighty Adobe’s). The worst part is that these people are promoting Flash for something that HTML5 actually does better: video. Except when DRM is required (I didn’t realize Fandroids loved DRM so much), there is no reason why any website can’t show their video in HTML5.

  • RichardL

    Ian, spoken like a true fanboy.

    How do you know how Flash Player on mobile works if you refuse to even try it? Download Flash and Adobe’s Mobile Showcase from the Android Market and go to town. You can always uninstall it later, or you can easily leave your Android browser set to only load Flash on demand.

    I don’t buy that Flash is not running reliably. Why are you segregating out the problems of running un-optimized Flash content on mobile from any other problems of running complex un-optimized content on mobile (such as the HTML and JavaScript that runs your WordPress comment system and doesn’t work on mobile)?

    My experience with Flash 10.1 on the EVO and Nexus One is that it’s quite stable and complete, and that Adobe has done a lot of work load balancing. Flash player on mobile can’t completely compensate for un-optimized content such as content that was written for a desktop-sized screen or a 2GHz dual-core desktop CPU.

    I don’t know what’s happening on that abc.go.com site, but clearly mobile Flash can play embedded video as the example in your post here clearly demonstrates. (That video is “un-optimized” for mobile by the way, but plays smoothly.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CM2YQUS7BFX3P2FM2ZQX32MF44 Inspir8

    THE VIDEO ABOVE RUNS PERFECTLY FINE ON MY NEXUS PHONE, STOP WHINING ALREADY!

  • Anonymous

    Apple isn’t exactly the best at security themselves (PDF exploit and leaving original iPod and iPhone users come to mind). It is like every major software company. Stay up to date and hope for the best. Leaving everything on iOS in Apple’s helps no one but Apple. Currently not the consumers.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Richard, which part of Kevin’s video do you think is faked? Or are you saying that the fact that Flash isn’t performing on unoptimised content – which is something Adobe has consistently said will be fine – isn’t a problem?

    If content creators have to optimise their Flash video content for mobile but don’t have to optimise H.264 content, what, exactly, is the advantage of Flash? If you’re going to have to re-encode anyway, why not do it to a standard format that *every* mobile device can play well?

  • http://twitter.com/larry_m_davis Larry Davis

    Guess what, the iPhone 3G with a much slower processor can play better quality video than the stuttering Flash on your 1.5GHz Centrino. Why? Because it uses an open standard that has hardware acceleration without adding significant overhead. Flash, on the other hand, tries to do everything in software. That works with modern PCs that are little supercomputers. It doesn’t work with resource limited (due to size, heat, and power) mobile devices. That’s a Flash problem, not a hardware problem.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    PEOPLE WHO USE ALL CAPS RARELY HAVE ANYTHING USEFUL TO SAY.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t really address my point that who cares about performance hits when it only affects the phone on content you couldn’t see otherwise. Otherwise Android phones are the exact same as iOS device.

  • http://hgw27.net HGW

    It’s not the point. cause you can say (citing the PDF exploit, a thing that can happen on every OS and to everyone) Apple “isn’t exactly the best security themselves” and some people may say: okay.

    But if, in addiction to all you’ve already to control, you put an “insecurity stuff” like flash on which you have no control (on it Adobe has control, not Apple), then what you get? You get a more difficult work to do, stuff you have not control on it, not very happy users and more probabilities to fail in something.

    The lack of flash on OS devices is a win-win (Apple and users).

  • RichardL

    I never said Kevin’s video is faked. (It seems like he’s going out of his way to find things that work poorly.)

    As I noted, abc.go.com seems to have trouble serving the videos in question to mobile Flash. On the other hand Kevin’s video IS Flash video (to any device with Flash player). Kevin’s Flash video works fine on mobile even though it’s not “optimized”.

    This has nothing to do with H.264. If you’re going to hope to serve video to mobile AND desktop you are going to have to encode to both Flash and H.264. H.264 in HTML5 is a long way from ubiquitous and Flash will never be supported on iOS. There’s no getting around these two facts if you’re a video content producer today.

  • http://pwinn.myopenid.com/ Phillip Winn

    Have you tried the same site? I think there’s some confusion about sites that present Flash to desktop browsers but raw H.264 video to mobile browsers, and people often think they’re using Flash when they aren’t.

    Or they think they’re using Flash when they’re actually using Flash Lite.

    Or they are using Flash, but with mobile-optimized video, which requires effort on the part of the content providers, and could just as easily be H.264 video.

    So far all the demos I’ve seen of real Flash, Flash 10.1, the real thing, have looked pretty much like this.

    Maybe in another year or two…

  • http://pwinn.myopenid.com/ Phillip Winn

    That’s not Flash 10.1. It’s Flash Lite.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Well that’s the thing, Richard. If you don’t think Kevin’s video is faked, then you have to admit that he’s showing off a very real problem there. And it’s not just with ABC’s site, as none of the sites he chooses perform acceptably. All, in fact, perform way worse than I’ve every seen H.264 perform (on any platform – this isn’t an “Android vs iPhone thing”).

    H.264 isn’t ubiquitous. But for delivering video to lower-powered devices, it’s more reliable and less prone to weird issues than Flash video. And if content providers have to “optimise” their Flash content for mobile anyway in order for it to work properly, they might as well just convert to H.264, which works better on a wider range of mobile devices.

  • http://natebeaty.com nate beaty

    This looks very very similar to how Flash video performs on my 800mhz TiBook. As an iPhone and iPad owner, I have to say I barely ever feel I’m missing out on anything. It’s quite rare to run into something that requires Flash that I’m trying to view, and expect to feel that even less over the next year.

  • Anonymous

    I’m fairly certain that “optimized for mobile” warning is talking about codec, not throughput–that is, it’s optimized for playback on a slow-CPU mobile device (I would assume meaning it can take advantage of the device’s hardware h264 decoder), not that it’s optimized for playback on mobile bandwidth. That would mean that being on wi-fi doesn’t make any difference–if it’s not optimized for mobile, it still won’t play back smoothly on a device without the raw CPU power to brute-force the video.

    That said, it’s still 100% true that this defeats the entire “deploy once, play anywhere” theory of Flash, and as said, if you’ve got to re-encode your not-ready-for-mobile content anyway, why not just add an HTML5 version instead and bring several million iOS devices online as well?

    Of course, the video embedded above looks like a slideshow on my old 2x1GHz desktop, since it doesn’t have hardware accelerated h264 video, either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zak-Tomas/1593475315 Zak Tomas

    Hang on a moment. Why are we bothering with Flash on the mobile? To view the content THAT IS ALREADY OUT THERE, if it can’t do that – what’s the point? I have an HTC Hero, which has Flash – let me tell you, his Flash works a lot better than my Flash, and his is useless.

    I bought the Hero over the iPhone, because I was convinced that I needed this to experience “the whole web”. What I actually experience is long delays, crashing and the occasional ad that might deign to work. Next phone? An iPhone – my buddy has one and he can actually watch BBC iPlayer…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zak-Tomas/1593475315 Zak Tomas

    You clearly haven’t seen an HTC Hero running Flash have you? Unfortunately for me, I see one EVERYDAY.

    I’ve not seen the HTC Nexus One personally – but I have spoken to people who have and they say Flash is extremely patchy, and never particularly smooth.

  • Anonymous

    Adobe told us all that they could achieve performance on the par with the desktop so why are you defending this?

    BTW, I call bullshit on your Nexus One claims, Android fanboy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zak-Tomas/1593475315 Zak Tomas

    Err, do you know how many stinking iPhones/iPods/iPad there are out there? I can’t see people leaving that money on the table by not converting their sites (or at least providing that as a fallback).

    And no, I don’t have an iPhone (grumble).

  • Glenn Fleishman

    Is anyone posting videos of Android devices playing H.264? I don’t ask to be silly. I assume Android has a full H.264 client license, and I assume that if it can play Flash (in whatever way it does), it has the horsepower to do H.264.

    I’d love to see YouTube or what have you side by side on the same Android phone in H.264 and Flash. Because that would go a long way to isolating performance from technology, no?

  • http://pwinn.myopenid.com/ Phillip Winn

    The video above works perfectly well on my mobile, too, and my mobile doesn’t support Flash.

    That illustrates a common issue: people *think* they’re using Flash to do things they’re not using Flash to do. Like watch the video on this page.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    I don’t have Flash installed on my Nexus One, and YouTube performance is (subjectively) identical to my iPhone. I’d assume that’s H.264, given the lack of Flash.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    My device is DIVX certified Glenn (http://androidandme.com/2010/08/phones/samsung/samsung-galaxy-s-becomes-the-first-android-certified-for-divx-hd/), plays and indeeds records 720p video flawlessly. Amazingly even plays my MKVs..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613830982 Simon Briffa

    I own an HTC Hero.. as it only officially supports 2.1 at the moment and a 528Mhz cpu, don’t think there’ll be an official port of 2.2 / Flash 10.1

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/TGZ75URQ6DKTCNXV3RV36ZKALQ Matthew

    Every

  • Anonymous

    The above video runs just fine on my iPad as well…which means the above video isn’t Flash, capiche?

    Take your Nexus to the ABC site and see how well it runs.

  • Glenn Fleishman

    So how about recording some video of H.264 playback from the Web against similar Flash playback? I’ve never seen side-by-side comparisons on a device that was designed to use a released version of Flash 10.1.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the problem is on ABC’s end. Networks are not known for their brilliant websites. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • http://twitter.com/MattRix MattRix

    Um, your iPhone can play h264 just fine because it has an H264 chip(ie. hardware decoding). If you get an android device with an H264 chip in it, and a flash video encoded in H264(some of them are), then you’ll be good to go.

  • http://twitter.com/MattRix MattRix

    Um, your iPhone can play h264 just fine because it has an H264 chip(ie. hardware decoding). If you get an android device with an H264 chip in it, and a flash video encoded in H264(some of them are), then you’ll be good to go.

  • RichardL

    The above video from GigaOm serves H.264 via HTML5 to iPads. If your device has Flash it serves Flash.

  • RichardL

    No Phillip.

    The video embedded above I’m seeing served from GigaOm is Flash on my HTC EVO and Nexus One which both have Flash 10.1. That video works fine. The video IN Kevin’s video is being served by abc.go.com and isn’t working. It looks to be some sort of transport problem. And you will find the same videos don’t work in the browser on an iPhone or iPad either because ABC doesn’t even try. They detect the condition and display a message telling you to go to the App Store download and install a special ABC app, and then watch the videos in their magical plug-in (err… I mean app).

  • RichardL

    This is YouTube’s recent perspective on why Flash continues to play a critical roll for them in spite of the advancements in HTML5 hosted video. It’s worth reading.
    http://apiblog.youtube.com/2010/06/flash-and-html5-tag.html

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OK42M52VJS2OAKNLPPQJ2YRJLU Tweedle

    You’ve got to love all the people saying, “Well, Kevin’s video plays just fine, so there Flash does work!” Bwahahahahaha!!

  • David K.

    They have had YEARS to get it to work right. Android and iOS have been out for 3 years+ now. Plus they have how many years before that of working on Flash for the desktop to build on? Mobile devices can play HTML 5 video fine since back in 2007! Why should we wait on and invest in a proprietary, locked down, memory intensive, battery draining technology that was designed for mouse and keyboard input when HTML 5 video is here now and works just fine?

    I don’t care if you use an iPhone or a Droid or a WebOS device from palm or what, you are better served by an open and functioning standard like HTML 5 than the proprietary and un-functional mess that is Flash. Flash had its day and like many other technologies attrophied under its own weight when it had no competition. We are better off without relying on Flash for essential video technology on the internet.

  • Anonymous

    >They only know that flash = fast smooth video.

    “They” are apparently not long-time Mac users. :o

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  • Vamsmack

    So they’re provided with video evidence of it sucking and they still want to defend it. Guys until Flash can deliver a consistent user experience you will not see it on an iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    So right. Google touting Flash as being “open” was bizarre.

  • Anonymous

    So right. Google touting Flash as being “open” was bizarre.

  • Anonymous

    Because they are spreading FUD. They had no other option because they did not get FlashPlayer running on mobiles before 2007 when HTML5 arrived on mobiles. So for the past 3 years, we’ve had ISO MPEG-4 video and HTML5 interactivity on mobiles, but no FlashPlayer. The only thing that prevented the wholesale adoption of open standard video from 2007-2010 was Adobe saying Flash for Mobiles will ship in early 2008, then late 2008, then early 2009, then late 2009, then early 2010, then late 2010. Finally, the money got put where the mouth is with iPad versus FlashPlayer for Android. The video experience on iPad is awesome, absolutely first rate. So good that you want your content to be a part of that. The video experience on FlashPlayer for Android is terrible. A complete joke.

    So Adobe was trying to buy time and they failed to deliver. They are a sales-driven company, not engineering-driven. If they were engineering-driven they would have known better. They would have aggressively transitioned the Flash developer tool to HTML5 so that Flash CS5 could export a video player as a combination FlashPlayer/HTML5 presentation that would work on everything, and made Flash CS5 into an essential HTML5 tool. But they were too concerned with having a monopoly over online video playback. That was never going to happen. Consumer electronics and content companies were not going to suddenly abandon open MPEG standards after 20 years of them working really well to let Adobe be the one and only maker of online video players.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t have to transcode. That is the stupidest part of all of this. The same ISO MPEG-4 H.264 open standard video is used in both Flash and HTML5. It plays in FlashPlayer or QuickTime Player or Safari or Chrome or IE9 or iPod or iPhone or BlackBerry or game consoles, set-top boxes, camcorders, cameras, Blu-Ray, anything. That’s the whole point of MPEG. MPEG-2 was a DVD, and MPEG-4 is an online DVD.

    If you surf the Web on a PC and an iPad side-by-side, going to the same pages, in many cases you will see a Flash presentation on the PC and an HTML5 presentation on the iPad, both running the exact same H.264 video. One of the most dramatic examples is MSNBC’s show pages (e.g. Countdown or Hardball or Rachel Maddow Show) because the whole page is a Flash presentation on PC, but on iPad it is HTML5, not just the video, but the interactivity. The most recent site I saw go from Flash-only to Flash/HTML5 is Cracked.com a couple of weeks ago.

    Basically, instead of your website showing a “Get Flash” message when the user doesn’t have Flash, all you do is change the HTML so that when there’s no Flash you show the same video in HTML5. It can be as little as a half hour of work and as much as maybe an afternoon. It’s less work than the whole IE/ActiveX thing caused us a few years ago.

  • Anonymous

    These devices have had dedicated H.264 video decoders for 5 years or more, like a discless DVD player. The video should not even be running on the CPU.

  • Anonymous

    So why do we need Flash again?

    Why would we want to install FlashPlayer 5 times a year on 5 billion mobiles again?

  • Anonymous

    If it’s in Flash, I don’t gotta see it.

    Mobiles are used by consumers, not computer scientists. The technical work should be done on the server by computer scientists, not on the client by lawyers, doctors, construction workers, limo drivers, homemakers, musicians, and artists. So websites have to update their code so they serve their open standard H.264 video via open standard HTML5 interactivity. End of story.

    A few years ago, Microsoft was hit with a patent suit and overnight the Web had to change all ActiveX plug-in instances so they were done with JavaScript, not HTML. That is 10 times the work of Flash video to HTML5 video, and in the case of Flash to HTML5 you are adopting open standards, it’s productive work with many benefits, not make-work like the ActiveX thing. So there just aren’t any excuses for content still being served in Flash only.

  • Fanfoot

    So this matters to a user how? Its actually pretty hard to identify whether a given site uses VP6 inside flash or h.264. There are lots of forces keeping companies from switching to h.264 encoding for flash–the installed base of flash players pre-9.0 that don’t support h.264 decoding, the potential patent issues, their workflow, etc. If a given web site is still using VP6 and I might want to watch the shows on that site, doesn’t it matter that the flash player being touted won’t work on most of them? I know Hulu DOES encode it’s flash content in h.264, but oh well, you can’t watch that anyway. And even Hulu only uses h.264 for the higher bit-rate, higher quality encodes. If you just want something to watch on your phone even Hulu is using VP6 for those streams. And that’s a site that is committed to h.264 encodes.

    The flash player on your mobile phone won’t play most of the videos you might want to watch. Period. That’s pretty much all anybody normal cares about.

  • Fanfoot

    Okay, so I’ll grant you the Nexus one will be able to browse some restaurant or hotel sites that an iPhone can’t, because it supports flash. And maybe that’ll work okay. And I’d rather be able to browse the site rather than not. So that’s a good thing.

    But aside from that, the main reason I’d want flash on my phone would be to play video. What else do I want it for? Flash games? Seriously? Given that most of them need a mouse pointer they aren’t going to work anyway dude. And personally I could care less about most of that. There are much better games available for both Android and iPhone than those flash games. Yes I suppose there are people who want to play Farmville or something, but really? Is that the majority? The other thing I can see coming with flash support is Flash ads, which I really don’t want, and would rather see holes in the display rather than having my whole browsing experience slowed down. I don’t think you represent the average user here.

  • Fanfoot

    We’ll see how all this works out. I’m impressed we’ve been able to get to 1GHz processors without blowing the battery life to hell. But as you’ve maybe noticed with modern laptops, increased CPU frequency generally means more battery suck. And battery technology ain’t improving that fast. Will we see viable 1.5GHz processors in mobile devices that people deem successful products this year, or won’t we? I’m not that certain. I think the 1GHz devices already do most of the things you’d want a mobile device to do, other than render flash, just fine, and wouldn’t want to sacrifice battery life to get a faster CPU for no particular reason. I have good gaming performance, fine web browsing, etc at 1GHz, and most of the other 1GHz phones seem to be about the same. Why should I push the CPU up just to fix Flash?

  • Fanfoot

    Again, most of the content out there in flash wrappers today is VP6, not h.264. For various reasons. Yes its moving to h.264 slowly, but its not all in h.264. Yes it would be better if it were. Perhaps even for Adobe, since maybe that’s what “optimized for mobile” means–its VP6 or VP6 at any significant bit rate. Dunno. But browse the web for reviews over the last couple of weeks. Its not just the sites shown in this video that don’t work well–ABC, FOX, CBS, Hulu, etc Enough that you wonder what sites DO work?

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t you post a video of it running perfectly– so we can all see?

  • http://twitter.com/j_aroche Javier Aroche

    So you’re complaining about one particular case where Flash in your Android is just too big? Thats like blaming H.264 because my netbook can’t play 1080p videos. The problem isn’t the plataform (Flash) but the content (ABC videos), those videos are just too big, even with my netbook I’ve found flash content that is just too big (Hulu) to run smooth. Not all flash runs so bad, for example ustream or vimeo players run fine on my Nexus one.

  • http://twitter.com/Bradart Brad Ganley

    I made a video of my experience using flash on my android device: http://www.reddit.com/tb/d7z5i

    My performance varies greatly from yours, evidently.

  • Anonymous

    I have Flash on my N1 and it plays flash video just fine…

  • Anonymous

    this is a video of the exception, not the rule. i have flash on my n1 and it runs great. in this case it is a matter of the video itself being too large for the phone to handle, has nothing to do with flash. same thing happens when I try to watch HD video on one of my old powerbooks, not flash’s fault my video card sucks.

  • http://www.theangrydrunk.com The Angry Drunk

    Good lord. Even during the OS Wars® I never saw saw this much mindless zeal over a product. If Adobe isn’t paying for this, they’re some lucky bastards.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but I’m a consumer, not a hardware engineer, so I don’t *care* about the how or why, I just want to visit a website and know that it’ll load properly.

    I don’t want to read an error message about some video not being optimized for mobile.

    Are you saying that in order for Flash to work like Adobe claim it can, hardware manufacturers need to scrap their current products and replace them with ones that pack an “H264 chip”?

  • http://twitter.com/dennisforbes dennisforbes

    “What matters is that it just doesn’t work well.”

    Many web apps don’t work well, if at all, on touchscreen devices. Many web apps are far too resource demanding for mobile processors.

    The situation is virtually identical. Steve didn’t ban HTML5 “for your good”, but he could have used all of the same justifications.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.eccles1 Paul Eccles

    That’s a youtube video, are you certain it’s not playing via HTML5? Because it works like that on iPhone/iPad too.

    Try a site you know only uses Flash, like metacafe.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    But John, it’s far more beneficial to Adobe to simply say “yes, Flash on mobile is a work in progress. At present levels, it’s not perfect, but we’re continually working to improve it.” Given the weight of Flash video that’s already out there, and the (still) relatively low number of people who want to stream video to a mobile, it’s not like they don’t have time.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Kudos to you, Brad, for picking up the challenge to show Flash actually working. Note though that this isn’t *my* experience – the video is by Kevin.

  • http://twitter.com/dennisforbes dennisforbes

    Video “response”, or at least adding context-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb9jfdltkUU

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Dennis, in all honesty I’ve yet to find a web app that didn’t work to acceptable levels on my Nexus One. More pertinently, I’ve yet to find an H.264 (non-Flash) streamed video which didn’t play perfectly well.

    And this really isn’t anything to do with what Apple does or does not do. As I’ve posted previously, Apple’s reasons for keeping Flash off iOS are about primarily about controlling their own destiny, something that I think Jobs made clear. The performance of Flash is something that is secondary to that.

    But either way, what Apple has done/not done is kind of irrelevant to the matter at hand, which is the performance of Flash video. Note – I’m not saying Flash is a bad thing. I’m saying that, as a video container for mobile, it’s performance is not good enough.

  • http://twitter.com/Carniphage Carniphage

    It’s obvious that content makers need to optimise their content for mobile devices.( If they care about mobile users.)
    If they don’t optimise for mobile then the content isn’t going to work. Not on Flash, not on anything.

    So if they do decide to optimise, the smart thing to do is drop Flash. Because dropping Flash lets them target all mobile users, not just Android 2.2.

    C.

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    In Kevin’s video ABC was not the only problem. All sites were.

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    In Kevin’s video ABC was not the only problem. All sites were.

  • Anonymous

    He is using the default android browser, which DOES NOT support HTML5.

  • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign Shaun Murray

    Sorry Phillip but you’re mistaken. The N900 runs a full version of flash v9.4 and runs it well.

    Even still, Flash Lite v3 on Symbian handsets runs most flash video codecs just fine even on pensionable CPUs. You have to remember that Flash ‘lite’ is essentially Flash v8 with some v9/v10 video codecs added. That gets you Youtube, Vimeo, sIFR flash text replacement and most Flash adverts.

    So, that leaves the question of why Flash 10.1 on Android is so awful when a 400Mhz ARM9 Nokia can run rings around it.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    The performance of the Flash Player is not worse than when delivered with HTML5, it’s just that Flash supports a wider range of formats.

    h264 needs to be encoded using the baseline profile to at all be possible to view on mobile devices with HTML5. With Flash, if it’s not baseline encoded you can still watch the video but will get a warning since the performance will suffer.
    Also, Flash supports other formats like VP6 that is not supported by the GPU for hardware acceleration.
    I rather have the option of accessing any content, and if I’m not happy with how a certain video performs I can always stop watching.

    Videos that are baseline encoded h264 work very well in the Flash Player on my Galaxy S, and the overall Flash experience is very good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    The issues are worse with HTML5. If you do not encode in baseline profile the video will not be watchable on mobile devices at all, and if you only do baseline profile desktop users will have a sub optimal experience.
    And there is no video format that is accessible to the majority of users. Lot of users still have browsers without HTML5 support. And the browsers that do support HTML5 don’t all support the same codecs.

    So if you use HTML5 you severely limit the number of users that can watch the content at all, and you need to have different h264 encodings as well as Theora to reach the ones that do have a browser supporting the video tag..

  • Anonymous

    Most Flash video is h.264, and all ARM chips used for mobile phones (used in all Androids and iPhones/iPads/iPod touches) have extensions to accelerate video-decoding. On the iPhone these are used to accelerate h.264, and I highly doubt Android isn’t doing the same thing. There is no such thing as a “h264″ chip, there are only cpu-extensions which accelerate doing stuff common in generic video-encoding or decoding. Someone only has to implement a video codec which uses these CPU-extensions

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Users shouldn’t be wondering wheter Flash content is going to work or not. Adobe has been saying “full Flash experience on mobile”. You just have content and you watch it, read it, listen it.

    But it still doesn’t work and we should all move on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    They do display a warning when the codec used is not suitable for mobiles, so you do not need to wonder.

    Also, there are HTML sites that works really bad on mobile devices as well. And with HTML5 the situation is even worse:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfmbZkqORX4

    It’s a matter of fact is that there are differences with mobile devices and desktops/laptops, and existing web technologies can all result in applications or sites that does not work on every device. It’s up to the developer to make the effort to ensure that as many users as possible get an optimal experience. That is not harder with Flash than with other technologies, in fact it’s easier.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/simon.banyard Simon

    HTML doesn’t work that way. It’s fully backwards compatible for a start and those espousing it’s ability to replace Flash are wrong. Well, sort of. The audio and video elements in HTML negate the need for plugins such as Flash in modern browsers (such as those found on smartphones). Flash as a delivery mechanism for audio and video still has legs on it so long as people use versions IE prior to 9 etc. What is replacing Flash is the combination of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript/AJAX technologies, which are generally computationally more efficient and more accessible. As for it taking years to rewrite sites, in simplistic term all it’ll really take is changing the doctype declaration to < !doctype html>. Ironically perhaps, a fair amount Google’s output on the web, including YouTube and GMail, is already coded with HTML5.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    I watched the video in the Flash Player on my Galaxy S, and it ran really smooth despite not being optimized for mobile. And yes, it was the Flash Player that was used. I know since I have it set to “on demand”.

    And HTML5 will require you to have not only h.264 baseline for mobile devices, but Theora for Firefox and preferably another h.264 version for non-mobile as well. And you still need Flash to get anywhere near acceptable accessibility.

    Can you think of one major video site that serves video as HTML5 when the user has a HTML5 capable browser
    that also has Flash installed?
    They all default to Flash if it’s available, and that is because performance is better for the vast majority of machines and you get more functionality like captions and overlays as well as a proper fullscreen mode.
    They cannot afford to be running their businesses based on fanboy agendas.

  • Anonymous

    The video played well on my iPad as it delivered html5. Are you sure you weren’t watching in html5?

  • Anonymous

    Abc app is free and awesome. You should try it. Content is smooth and nearly HD.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/simon.banyard Simon

    Erm, if I’m not mistaken the EVO is running Froyo (Android 2.2 for the uninitiated), the default browser supports HTML5. This is self evident as Flash for Android is currently only available for Froyo. And please, IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHOUT, have the decency to get your facts right…

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    I guess either all major video sites that default to Flash is stupid, or your definition of what is smart is a bit out.

    Currently below 40% has a browser that supports HTML5 playback using h264. Loosing more then 60% of users to please the around 1% that browses using iOS is maybe not the smartest thing to do?

  • http://www.owenshepherd.net Owen Shepherd

    Actually, many phones have dedicated H.264 decoding hardware. For example, phones built upon TI’s OMAP processors have an “IVA”, or Integrated Video Accelerator. This IVA is capable of decoding 720p H.264 video (Though perhaps not capable of then downscaling)

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    So it’s NOT FULL WEB experience that you can have with mobile Flash, right? Would you consider the following false marketing then?

    Adobe.com front page today:
    “Motorola DROID 2 now shipping with Adobe Flash Player 10.1: See the full web on mobile”

    Adobe on Demo about Motorola DROID 2 (http://bit.ly/bB19nE):
    “Diana Helander of Adobe demos the full web on the new DROID 2 by Motorola running Flash Player 10.1″

  • http://www.mike-pulsifer.org/ WVMikeP

    We need a plugin-free web. Clinging to Flash rather than adopting and improving open solutions that don’t require plugins is what we should be doing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    Just because you do not get optimal experience with all content doesn’t mean that you do not get the “full web”.

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Not working is not subjective state and doesn’t mean “not optimal”.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    Are you referring to the video posted here?
    I don’t see content not working.
    Video on ABC not loading is just stupid to blame the Flash Player for. The problem is obviously with ABC.
    And for example Hulu blocking mobile devices is not a problem with the Flash Player either, but a problem with Hulu, and changing the user agent will resolve that.

    With your reasoning nothing offers the full web since some servers might be down or require permissions to access.

    You have any examples of Flash content that can not be accessed with Flash on Android due to issues with the Flash Player?

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Flash on mobile is like a broken car. Engine might start but you don’t enjoy your ride and you might never get your destination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    At least you can use the roads you want. The Flash Player on my Galaxy S runs just fine and brings me to my destinations.
    Maybe your device is broken…or maybe you don’t even have a device with Flash?

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Oh my then there is no real problem with Flash as your Galaxy S runs just fine!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1044648021 Richard Sanchez

    Exactly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1044648021 Richard Sanchez

    Mr. Bergman, you make some good points (some of it goes over my head, lol). Still, my Plebeian two cents: just because Flash runs well on the Galaxy S doesn’t mean that its sub-par experience on other smartphones (as evidenced in the embedded video above) is justified. It’s like you said, Flash supports a wider range of formats; so how can Adobe expect to ubiquitously leverage the performance of Flash across all Flash-supported mobile devices? And why would I want the “full Web” if that experience is more frustrating than rewarding? I would rather use a smartphone with Flash disabled than a phone whose processor and battery is exorbitantly taxed when the plug-in is enabled. I’m not a software or hardware engineer, or even a tech hobbyist … as an end-user, I just want my smartphone to work well, not work “barely well” …

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    You have a point there that not all web browsers support HTML5 with H.264. So real question is if Flash is good enough technology to be built further on or should new better technologies be used instead?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    I don’t think it’s a sub par experience on the phones that support the Flash Player. It could be that the GPU on Galaxy S is better at handling video, but I have seen several videos with Nexus One displaying Flash video just fine.
    It seems like this video demonstration is a deliberate attempt to show Flash from the worst side, and most of it is actually showing problems with certain websites rather than with Flash.
    I mean seriously, why do think the video is not loading on ABC? Flash plays video using the same encoding as HTML5…it doesn’t take more bandwidth or make the server deliver data slower.
    Do you blame HTML as soon as an HTML site is slow to load?

    Do you have a phone with Flash? Or are you basing your opinion on this biased video?
    I can record a video of my Galaxy S playing this video about Flash video being useless on Android if that would make it clearer to you how off the mark this video is.
    Google for videos with the Nexus One showing Flash content and you will see that the norm is very different from what this video tries to portray it as.

    And that Flash should use more CPU or battery is a myth propagated by mindless followers of Jobs. If you look at benchmarks rather than read their opinions you would know that. In fact HTML5 is less efficient than Flash. But of course watching video, displaying animations or using interactive multimedia applications takes more battery than browsing text.
    With the Flash player set to show content on demand it does not use more resources than browsing without. But if I want to use some power to see content I can activate it when I like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    Who is not for better technology?
    I like a phone that supports Flash, HTML5 and Silverlight since they all have their strengths.
    Ideally I would like it based on an open standard, but if you look at HTML it’s fine for the propose it was created for, displaying text. But it just develops too slowly to keep up with more demanding tasks.

    Take video codecs as an example. h.264 has become dominant the last few years, but now Google want to use WebM for YouTube since they claim it will reduce the bandwidth needed drastically.
    Apple and MS will not include the codec in their browsers, and even if they did release browsers with support it will take many years before you have acceptable reach with WebM. There are still loads of users with IE6 and IE7, so without a plugin we would be stuck with h.264 probably for around a decade.
    So the lifespan of a browser is longer than the lifespan of a codec, which of course makes it a useless way of delivering the technology.
    Adobe has announced that they will support WebM, and more than 90% will have the updated player in less than a year.

    Also both c# and Actionscript are far superior to JS, both when it comes to development and runtimes. HTML5 will be fine for some purposes, but for serious application development it’s retarded.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    To dive in on what’s an interesting discussion for a second (thank you, all who’re taking part in the right spirit), I think I should make one thing clear.

    I’m not anti-Flash. There, I’ve said it :)

    What I think, though, is that Flash is nearing the end of the road as a technology which dominates online *video*. There are newer, better solutions and they’re gradually going to become the most common methods of viewing video online.

    And when you think about it, that makes more sense. Flash is a developer platform that’s capable of much more than just playing video in a window. Using it mainly for that online is overkill.

  • Anonymous

    “Many web apps don’t work well, if at all, on touchscreen devices”

    There’s something very wrong with your touchscreen device.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roymeo Roy Crisman

    My 5 year old laptop has a hard time playing Bones episodes, too. Now I can blame Flash?

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.bergman Leo Bergman

    In what way is HTML5 better according to you?

    Performance? Check some benchmarks comparing h.264 encoded video and you will notice that you will not get better performance with HTML5 compared to Flash.

    Features? When it comes to features HTML5 is limited. No proper streaming, no proper fullscreen, no content protection and no overlays and captions.

    Accessibility? You have fragmentation between browsers with MS, Apple and Mozilla trying to push their agendas by limiting support to different codecs. Browsers are updated slowly, meaning that many times a codec will be replaced by a more modern alternative by the time it’s accessible by enough users to be considered for serious use.

    The only advantage of delivering video with HTML5 would be that it’s an open standard, but that is actually a pointless distinction as long as the codecs are not open. Instead of a plugin using proprietary technology you add the proprietary technology to the browser, and nothing is gained in the end.

    A lot of people think that HTML5 will be the future for online video, but they seem to completely miss Google’s investment in WebM and the fact that the only way for them to reach a decent number of users reasonably soon is by using Flash to deliver the codec. Just like Flash enabled sites like YouTube to start with, it’s clear that it’s also a vital part of their future. HTML5 will remain a fallback for crippled devices in the foreseeable future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707691936 Greg Gwaltney
  • Anonymous

    Echoing so many other comments: WHO CARES?
    What matters is what works, and the Flash shown in Kevin’s video is laughably bad.
    It seems like a world of caveats that people not versed in ffmpeg would have a hard time grasping only because they couldn’t care less.

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  • Anonymous

    The critical resource on mobile devices isn’t GHz or CPU cores, it is battery life. Battery capacity is only improving at something like 10% per year, and CPU performance per watt for mobile class CPUs is moving according to Moore’s law. The current state of the art for mobile phone CPUs is roughly a single 1GHz core. iI don’t see how by the end of the year, dual core 1.5GHz CPUs are going to make these flash performance problems irrelevant.

    There is just no way that we are going to get a 3x improvement in performance/watt of mobile phone CPUs in the next 3 months, sorry. You can try to discredit other people by asserting that they are “fanboys” but your other assertions suggest that you yourself aren’t credible.

  • Anonymous

    What do you expect. How many people has Google bought with free android phones? Multiply it by all the people who think it it is awesome that their friend got a free android phone. Android seems like a decent option from my limited first-hand experience with it, but beyond what I can see for myself by using a Nexus One for a few hours, it is really hard for me to trust the opinions anyone voices about it on line.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.reinhardt Robert Reinhardt

    Desktop-based sites (i.e. sites not optimized for mobile, period) aren’t using processor-friendly video codecs. Common “video in a desktop browser” codecs are H.264 Main profile and High profile, and these will really play quite horribly on any mobile device. Video needs to be encoded in H.264 Base profile for mobile, and any video that uses this profile should perform quite well with Flash Player or HTML5.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, HTML5 can’t do everything that Flash can do. And right now, Flash does many things better, especially in the mobile realm.

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    You are an engineer talking. Think users.

    Why should there be plug-ins used in web? More rich content? Is Flash today needed for that?

    Flash was good when there was no easy way of showing a video on web and only high power desktop computers were around.

    Now we have mobile devices and alternatives for Flash. No need for confusing plug-ins on web anymore.

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Was your Flash video on your Galaxy S encoded with H.264 or VP6 or Sorenson Spark?

    You say Flash is default because vast majority of machines are able to play it but that’s only because most “machines” are high power desktops or laptops and not limited performance mobile devices. And mobile devices can’t play old Flash flawlessly so that old Flash content has to be re-encoded and that’s no good.

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Excatly. If Flash on mobile is supposed to give us “full web” on mobile but it doesn’t, why bother with Flash?

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Advantage of delivering video without Flash is that people might not need to install Flash plug-in anymore on any desktop or laptop so that content providers might stop using Flash to deliver anything and all web content would be available for anyone with PCs and mobile devices for whatever and all would just work.

    Flash is not good enough technology to be build up on.

  • http://techcomments.tumblr.com heikkipekka

    Is Flash great technology to provide other web content too?

    As a user do you ever suffer from slowdowns when there is a lot of Flash content on a website?

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  • http://twitter.com/ocube ocube

    I think the Apple brigade are missing the point, Flash has always been processor intensive, a Flash site would always be slower than an html site, its all about choice. If I choose to enable flash on my phone its because I want it and Apple should not be making that choice for me. Its a sad thing that the same people who champion the cause of the free internet cannot see beyond their love for their shiny iPhones and before you rile at me, just know I have an iPhone, a macBook and iMac… (and dont have a PC).

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    (I posted once and it didn’t give a confirmation so I’ll post again.)

    Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRS11rTVHAg.

    It’s mobile folks. The ABC.com player doesn’t play well on mobile. It is a player problem, as shown in my video. The HD video shouldn’t be expected to play anyway. It is a low-RAM, low-cpu device.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    Sorry about the double comment. Disqus required me to validate my email. :-/ My fault.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    No problem John – I’ll delete one of the duplicates.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    Hey, thanks Ian!

    ————————————–
    John C Bland II
    http://www.johncblandii.com
    http://www.johnandseason.com

  • http://twitter.com/pilehave_mp Mikkel P Jensen

    Seems a bit harsh to blame Android for you having:
    1. shitty internet connectrion
    2. used the normal abc.com website, even though you know it sucks on mobile devices.

    I can stream our public channels live in H.264 flash on my HTC Desire, full screen. Go take som anti-FUD pills…

  • http://twitter.com/chris_churn Chris

    My god this is grade A FUD.
    Flash video on Metacafe on Desire on a suitable connection works perfectly. Same with every other flash video website I have tried so far. No choppiness, no delay. perfect. Obviously, your test conditions were flawed, not Flash.

    It’s infuriating knowing people actually believe this stuff.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Perhaps reading a little more closely might have benefitted: there aren’t “my” tests.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arturo-Olifante-Vial/100000506776590 Arturo Olifante Vial

    “Alright, I’ll try again later [1/2 second gap] Ok, it’s later”

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  • Pingback: Pretty bad. In fact, if you’re thinking video, utterly unusable. Kevin Tofel of GigaOm and JKOnTheRun is someone who isn’t a dyed in the wool iPhone or Apple fan. In fact, he replaced his iPhone with a Nexus One in January (a process that I’ve recen