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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Weak Android Player Proves Jobs Right

As an iPhone user, I don't miss Flash.

http://blog.laptopmag.com/mobile-fla...ves-jobs-right

Mobile Flash Fail: Weak Android Player Proves Jobs Right
August 18th, 2010 by Avram Piltch
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I’m the last person on earth who wanted to believe Steve Jobs when he told Walt Mossberg at D8 that “Flash has had its day.” I took it as nothing more than showmanship when Jobs shared his thoughts on Flash and wrote that “Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices.” 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.

At LAPTOP, we’re still testing mobile Flash on a variety of handsets, but the early returns are a mixed bag, with some sites performing really well and other “unoptimized” videos and games causing restless thumb syndrome. When Flash 10.1 for Android is good, it’s great, but when it’s bad, it can make even the harshest Apple critic want to e-mail Steve Jobs an apology video playing in HTML 5.

To see mobile Flash at its best, I downloaded the Abobe Flash showcase for mobile in the Android Market, a directory of sites the company recommends. There I found a link to the Sony Pictures trailer site, and all of the clips played smoothly at full screen. I also found links to a number of TV shows that play in Flash, but not always smoothly. An episode of CSI on CBS.com didn’t cause any serious problems, but it was a bit jerky, particularly at full screen.

Despite the jerkiness, I was excited to be able to watch shows on my phone that previously played only on my PC. That excitement turned to disappointment when I ventured onto several sites that weren’t featured in the showcase.

When I went to ABC.com and tried to play a clip, I waited five minutes while the player said “loading.” During that time, it was nearly impossible to scroll around the page or tap objects on it. Eventually, I scrolled up to see a message that was previously obstructed and said ”Sorry. An error occurred while attempting to load the video. Please try again later.” It gets worse…

When I visited Fox.com and tried to start an episode of House, the program actually played but, even over Wi-Fi, the playback was slideshow-like. Worse still, the player became unresponsive as it ignored my attempts to tap the pause, volume, and slider buttons. At some point during playback, an overlay message warned me that this video was “not optimized for mobile.” I encountered the same message when I tried to play a trailer of the Expendables that was embedded on the movie’s mySpace page. Wasn’t Flash 10.1 supposed to erase the boundaries between mobile and the desktop?

During these Flash lockups, it was nearly impossible to scroll around the screen and most taps were ignored or followed many seconds later. The only way I found to get your phone back to normal when it’s having a Flash meltdown like this is to hit the back button or the home button to get out of the program and even then the phone takes a second to become responsive again.

The difference between the smooth Flash trailers on Sony.com, the jerky episode of CSI, and the system-stalling Flash video on Fox.com is that the smoother ones were optimized specifically for phone playback. But if content providers have to go back and optimize their videos for mobile platforms
, one of the key benefits of mobile Flash–backward compatibility with millions of existing videos–is lost. If you’re modifying your videos anyway, why not go the full monty and use an HTML 5 player instead of Flash?

Back in April, Jobs pointed out that mobile Flash had been promised and delayed since the beginning of 2009. “We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath,” he wrote. Unfortunately, many Web content providers haven’t been holding their breath either. As we surfed around, we found more and more sites that work with HTML 5 or other non-Flash technologies. The difference between one video format and another is so slight you can’t tell. I visited South Park Studios on my PC and saw that it used Flash to play episodes of the popular show, so I tried it on my phone. I was pleasantly surprised at how well Flash episodes of South Park streamed over 3G, until I realized that the site had detected that I was on my phone and was serving me a specially optimized non-Flash video player (like the YouTube app) instead.

After my mixed experience with video, I was curious to try Flash-based games on our Android phones. When I tried going to famous Flash game sites like Newgrounds or Addicting Games, I found that, as Steve Jobs said, “Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers.” Many of the games I loaded were slow to start and slowed the system, making it difficult to scroll around the page or tap on links. But much worse was that, even when these titles loaded, there was no way to control most of the action. Most games required keyboard or mouse actions I simply could not perform on my phone, even with its QWERTY slider. One shooter wanted me to hit the CTRL key to fire; another asked for the left mouse button.

Finally, I went to Mochi Games, a site that Adobe points to from its Flash showcase, a site that is designed specifically for mobile flash. There, I found an attractive looking zombie game called Blood Red that was made for touch and required me to tap the screen to fire my gun at the oncoming undead. Unfortunately, when I tapped my shots went all over the place and I was dead within seconds. Was it Flash that caused the bullets I shot to go to places I didn’t tap or was it my poor hand-eye coordination? I don’t know, but I was frustrated.

Aside from playing videos and gaming, another purported benefit of Flash is that gives you the real web, without showing empty boxes on your favorite sites. While I love this idea, 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 2′s browser got stuck at the point where it was trying to download some Flash ads and a Flash video player.

When we ran our phone battery test, which surfs the Web until the handset’s battery dies, the whole process crashed when the browser reached Veoh.com, a site with an autoplaying Flash video on its home page. Once we disabled Flash, we were able to run the test to completion.

Despite all the problems I experienced with Flash Player 10.1, Adobe deserves credit for bringing the grownup PC experience of Flash to phones. Now, I can browse around the Web and attempt to use Flash sites that were never designed for my phone and see how it goes. Sometimes, I’ll even be pleasantly surprised by how well something translates. The South Park Avatar Creator, which is featured in Adobe’s showcase, is a really neat Flash tool for creating a South Park version of yourself.

Unfortunately, most phone users don’t have the patience for bugs and incompatibilities that hardcore geeks like myself do. Sometime this week, either Verizon or I will get an angry call from my mom when she tries watching a Flash video that locks up the screen or plays a Flash game that won’t respond because it expects mouse clicks rather than finger taps. Both of us will probably advise her to disable the plug-in so we won’t get called again and she won’t see Flash again, which may be her loss.

If Adobe can’t make its mobile plug-in work effectively with all Flash content, it needs to at least warn users and give them the option to cancel before it downloads and attempts to play a game or video that isn’t compatible with Flash Player 10.1 for phones. Popping up a cryptic message that says “this video isn’t optimized for mobile” after it starts buffering is not acceptable.

More importantly, 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.

Online Editorial Director Avram Piltch oversees the production and infrastructure of LAPTOP’s web site. With a reputation as the staff’s biggest geek, he has also helped develop a number of LAPTOP’s custom tests, including the Notebook batteries provide power to the system whenever it’s unplugged.
Learn MoreLAPTOP Battery Test. Catch the Geek’s Geek column here every other week or follow Avram on twitter.

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 08:41 PM
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Leave it to the mobile area were Adobe fails. It's still very new to them and development while being worked on yes, success is not in this years future to what the public wants to see.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 08:45 PM
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 10:22 PM
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I switched from iPhone to Android and one of the things I was looking forward to was Flash. But after using full Flash on my phone, I completely understand why Jobs stayed away from it.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 11:08 PM
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-20-2010, 11:39 PM
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surprised that guy could type while jobs had his knob in his mouth.




ok, so.... lets say 90% of websites currently have flash on them.

so people want to access websites thru their phone, android can do it, iphone cant because jobs says its pointless, etc.


so because jobs doesnt like it 90% of websites are going to change?



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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 12:33 AM
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The market won't change because Jobs said to change... the market will change because people will bitch and complain about sites that are unusable from their phones and companies will be tired of fielding complaints about it (and losing customers)... there really isn't anything useful out there that flash does that can not be done another way.

It's a lesson in not using a limiting implementation on a website in the first place.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
The market won't change because Jobs said to change... the market will change because people will bitch and complain about sites that are unusable from their phones and companies will be tired of fielding complaints about it (and losing customers)... there really isn't anything useful out there that flash does that can not be done another way.

It's a lesson in not using a limiting implementation on a website in the first place.
The market is changing... look at all the companies that are switching to HTLM5 all because they what their sites to work on the iPad.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 07:23 AM
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I think the market will change, eventually. But for now flash is all over the place and android has at least made an attempt to show users flash content. Personally, I've got a flash website so it' pretty hard for me to agree with Jobs or buy his product when it can't even display my site while android does. Sure, someday maybe I'll have an HTML5 site...someday.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiReBReTHa View Post
...

so because jobs doesnt like it 90% of websites are going to change?


....
Pretty much.


Maybe if Flash didn't suck, Jobs wouldn't have so much pull. But it does and there are better alternatives, so as a result Jobs is the proverbial 800 lb Gorilla in the room.

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 07:19 PM
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It's as simple a this. As a consumer I use an iPad, I rarely even turn my regular commuter on anymore. My iPad as replaced my laptop for 95% of functions. If a site is not running HTML 5 and and wont work on my iPad, They simply loose my business. It has nothing to do what steve jobs likes or doesn't like. Sites need to improve with the times, adobe needs to shit or get off the pot and create a product that works with today's devices.

The only thiing I use my laptop for is downloading torrents and converting video.




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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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It's as simple a this. As a consumer I use an iPad, I rarely even turn my regular commuter on anymore. My iPad as replaced my laptop for 95% of functions. If a site is not running HTML 5 and and wont work on my iPad, They simply loose my business. It has nothing to do what steve jobs likes or doesn't like. Sites need to improve with the times, adobe needs to shit or get off the pot and create a product that works with today's devices.

The only thiing I use my laptop for is downloading torrents and converting video.
And you're not the only one thinking this.

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/02/...manufacturers/

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 09:06 PM
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And you're not the only one thinking this.

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/02/...manufacturers/
The iPad is still missing. Few things to truly make me 100% happy, but I am truly surprised at home much this has replaced my MacBook. I really didn't think it would this much.




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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 05:10 PM
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he still doesnt let the consumer decide. nobody is making android users download flash, they are offering it to us. if we want to see flash we can.

i also cant wait for the chrome os tablet and netbooks to start pwning ass just as the android phones are.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 05:18 PM
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he still doesnt let the consumer decide. nobody is making android users download flash, they are offering it to us. if we want to see flash we can.

i also cant wait for the chrome os tablet and netbooks to start pwning ass just as the android phones are.
The irony is that most of the people who work on design for android are some of the most socially inept people in the world. Many 'awesome' things fall short in the market because people assume that the target audience is geeky; and that's not always the case.

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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 05:37 PM
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Thanks for the article, good read.

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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
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The irony is that most of the people who work on design for android are some of the most socially inept people in the world. Many 'awesome' things fall short in the market because people assume that the target audience is geeky; and that's not always the case.
Very good point.




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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 09:33 PM
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Here's a consumer decision for ya: Don't buy an iPad if you love your crappy flash. Duh.

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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
The irony is that most of the people who work on design for android are some of the most socially inept people in the world. Many 'awesome' things fall short in the market because people assume that the target audience is geeky; and that's not always the case.
This is quite a bold statement, do you have proof?
Are people that work at Apple, Microsoft or Nokia not socially inept?
Android is pretty 'awesome' as you can see by the previous quarter's growth rate.
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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 07:26 AM
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This is quite a bold statement, do you have proof?
Are people that work at Apple, Microsoft or Nokia not socially inept?
Android is pretty 'awesome' as you can see by the previous quarter's growth rate.
Every place pretty much has people that are socially inept, but answer this:

How much UI R&D on the non-geek population and follow-through to the market place does Android do in comparison to, say, Apple ?

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post #21 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 07:45 AM
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I hate Flash and always have, not becuase Jobs says it sucks, its a crutch for shitty web designers. The only reason I have an Android phone is because there is no iPhone on VZW *yet*, not because I wanted Flash or because I could root it. That's part of the Android fanboy issue and where Apple excels in most aspects. Its a phone, it should always work and I shouldn't have to go old school DOS prompt hacking to make it work. Random rant off.

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post #22 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 12:36 PM
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really? cause apple has always had a trouble with it being a phone part, what with the network its on and the antenna issues.
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post #23 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 12:38 PM
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really? cause apple has always had a trouble with it being a phone part, what with the network its on and the antenna issues.
Yes exactly why I said if it was on VZW it would be the almost perfect device.

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post #24 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 12:11 AM
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really? cause apple has always had a trouble with it being a phone part, what with the network its on and the antenna issues.
Keep in mind your market here. My iPhone 3G in North Florida was fan-fucking-tastic. I never had anything but 5 bars. The density of users here is just ridiculously high.

The 3G got a little tanked by the iOS4 upgrade. Kind of odd really, most of the time unless there is a major architectural revision on the hardware Apple's operating systems tend to go DOWN in system requirements with each revision. I'm waiting for Microsoft to tell us that we NEED 16GB of ram just to run Windows 8 whenever that comes out.

I too am holding out for Verizon, but just you people wait, when the flood of users come over from AT*T, Verizon's network is going to slow down, period.
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post #25 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 07:57 PM
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