Mobile Flash Fail: Weak Android Player Proves Jobs Right

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.

Update: We’ve done some in-depth testing of Flash Player 10.1  on Android, showing on video what we like and what we don’t. Check it out here.

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 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 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 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, the slightly jerky episode of CSI, and the system-stalling Flash video on 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, 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, because of all the sites that do work well.

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 LAPTOP Battery Test. Catch the Geek’s Geek column here every other week or follow Avram on twitter.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. B Says:

    Yeah, Flash right now kind of sucks, and it’s only out of beta for the Nexus One. HTML5 isn’t doing much of a bang up job either, but at least Android supports both. HTML5 has a long way to go before it can even reach the shittiness of Flash on Android.

  2. aftermath Says:

    Wow. I think you just shot the messenger.

    I have no trouble with Flash on my Nokia n900. I never have. I’ve been watching youtube videos, live streaming videos, and playing flash based games IN MY BROWSER since the very beginning with this device. I don’t even need “app” version of website. I just use the actual website. Either my reality is impossible, or “proves” is an ironic term for a self-proclaimed “geek’s geek” to misuse.

    It’s a shame that your experience was so bad, but it’s probably your operating system’s fault and not that of Flash. Flash is known to work well on this hardware platform under full desktop Linux. You should check out the Beagle Board.

    I’m unsurprised that Android struggles to accommodate Flash and IOS 4 flat-out can’t. They’re both very young operating systems, and not very good or very complete by modern standards. The hardware is certainly capable. My Nokia n900 doesn’t have the hardware resources available to it that the iPhone 4 and Droid 2 have, and it can pull it off. It must be something else. While I don’t like that Flash has become a de-facto technological standard on the web, it’s wrong to blame Adobe for the failing of the operating system. Flash works just fine on most hardware and operating systems, even “outdated” hardware that falls into the same dhrystone MIPS category as your phone.

  3. J Says:

    Flash is crap. Period. Try the Flash IDE. I would not use that garbage if you paid me to take it. Much as I disagree with a lot of what Apple does, they’re doing the right thing by pushing the world into a Flash-free age.

  4. John Dowdell Says:

    Hi, if it took you five minutes to load a video, then something is obviously different from what others are experiencing.

    First things first: are you using legit versions of software? The past few weeks have had a lot of people advertising leaks and early builds and what-all. Are you working from a clean system that has only had official software on it?


  5. Mark Haliday Says:

    Ugh, the bashing of Flash is getting absurd at this point. Lets deal with the facts on HTML 5 shall we?

    Please let me know when HTML 5 video has these issues worked out:

    1. No DRM support – this is a huge deal for many companies, and as you mentioned are unlikely to put video of shows out there without DRM of some sort and Flash offers this but HTML 5 video doesn’t
    2. How do you sync with time codes?
    3. You cannot adjust the stream based upon available bandwidth
    4. No alpha channel support (supported in Flash since Flash 8)
    5. You cannot embed links or any other interactive data (you could maybe use canvas to solve this?)

    If you were a “hardcore geek” as you mentioned I’d think you’d know of these short comings in HTML 5 video already.

  6. Matthew Fabb Says:

    You’re right that the process needs to be smooth and shouldn’t be as bad as you say it’s been. Yet I’ve seen articles like this, saying how wonderful Flash Player 10.1 on the mobile has proven to be:

  7. Jim Says:

    The point is that Adobe and partners have long promised phone Flash and did not promise compromises and second rate performance. Meanwhile, alternatives are emerging. Flash is fine on PCs but it will die on mobile unless it performs equivalently. People will move on as will advertisers and web site designers. Forcing a subpar experience on potential viewers/clients is not acceptable. Google has hedged it’s bets, Apple has made it’s bed and everyone else will vote with their clicks (or fingers).

  8. Avram Piltch Says:

    I don’t disagree that Flash has advantages and offers functionality not available in HTML 5. There are plenty of tools I’ve used that I’m not sure would work without Flash. I really hope nobody takes Flash away from the desktop or mobile anytime soon.

    That said, the point of my article is that mobile Flash is a huge disappointment so far b/c it doesn’t work as advertised. I would love to see Flash work with everything on the phone the way it does on my PC. On the Android handsets I’ve tried, that just didn’t happen. I can play a video from reasonably well on a netbook, but not on an Android phone.

  9. Avram Piltch Says:

    Yes, the examples I gave in this article come from using the Flash player that comes preinstalled on the Droid 2 and the official Froyo update to Droid 1.

  10. Remco Says:

    It certainly is not perfect but i tested the player (the final one on a HTC Desire) for several weeks and i did not found any mayor problems. Animations are pretty smooth and the option to go fullscreen on any Flash element is pretty cool. However i did found some problems with sites which have too many banners (like, video’s which are not optimized for mobile (see below) and games with keyboard controls. However i think these problems are not solveable by Adobe and you really can not expect them to fix it (even though they acted like they had the magical solution a thumbnail which when clicked opens the native video player. Of course Flash 10.1 on mobile offers you much more, just check out the vimeo player.

  11. Jim Says:

    10s of millions of phones in Japan have had Flash for years. They’ve created very rich user experiences with Flash. Richer than Java app experiences. Oh, Java is also there on almost every phone.

  12. Matt Snow Says:

    Many existing videos that were optimized for desktop performance won’t play well on mobile devices, due to their high bitrate data and/or codecs. Did you expect that near or full HD videos that were encoded for dual-core desktop processors to run well on low-processing powered mobile devices? The messaging appears that says that the video isn’t optimized for mobile means that the video is optimized for the desktop, which means it will have very poor performance on mobile. Adobe could have gone the iDevice route and just not shown the video at all, but instead, we chose to show the non-optimized video with a message overlay.

  13. Josh Says:

    Hrm, see a funny thing happened to me when I tried to play videos on my awesome HTML5 friendly iPhone:

  14. Eric in London Says:

    The article points out that only Flash optimised for Mobile works smoothly and many sites with Flash don’t work well or work at all. Then someone purportedly from Adobe implies that its user error by asking if the reviewer was using legit software and a clean (whatever that means) system. Then someone else says no, its Android and then mistakingly says iOS can’t when what he means is that iOS is designed not to (not a subtle difference). and says his Symbian phone plays Flash great. Good luck with Symbian on Nokia dude, Nokia has made the point that Symbian is not the future.

    What Jobs said was that after working for a long time with Adobe to get Flash to work predictably and smoothly on iPhone 1 they (Apple) decided that the resources (engineering and in phone) were not worth the effort. That seems like a reasonable decision for a company to make when their main concern is usability over feature ticking.

    Then someone else points out that Flash has lots of bits and bobs that let broadcasters monitise their vids. So the question seems to boil down to can Adobe get a good, reliable and consistent Flash performance on phones on ALL sites without special optimisation before HTML5 gets the bits and bobs that let broadcasters monitise their videos. Apple had the courage the to place their marker on no. Apple haters have placed their marker on yes. Spin the wheel crupier…

  15. Winkyboy Says:

    The problem with all of this, and especially Apple’s decision, is that the door has barely even opened to the mobile landscape and people are already deciding whether or not Flash is viable for the future. It is especially of poor choosing on Apple’s part to outright deny the usage of Flash on their products, period. The people who don’t care aren’t affected by this decision – except they’ll be puzzled why certain websites or features of the mobile web are unavailable to them. But the developers and other people who care to see Flash content are offended by Apple’s decision. It would have been better for Apple to try to please as many customers as possible, perhaps by allowing their users to toggle whether Flash could be displayed on their device as they chose.

    Flash on mobile has arrived at about the same time that HTML5 has – and they’re both pretty crappy right now. There are great reasons to use each of them, and they’re going to grow and change with time.


  16. John Dowdell Says:

    “Eric in London”, please don’t misrepresent… the biggest cause I’ve seen online of similar differences is when someone was working with one of the recently-publicized hacks instead of an official release. It’s sensible to get that potential cause out of the way before attempting additional troubleshooting.


  17. Relwal Says:

    Alas, Laptop Magazine has had its day.

  18. Matthew Fabb Says:

    Eric in London: “So the question seems to boil down to can Adobe get a good, reliable and consistent Flash performance on phones on ALL sites without special optimisation before HTML5 gets the bits and bobs that let broadcasters monitise their videos.”

    Browser vendors don’t see eye to eye on something as simple as video codecs, I seriously doubt they are going to agree on a DRM solution within the next decade if ever. Especially with an organization like Mozilla likely to be against philosophy of DRM, as they continue to advertise on how easy it is for users to download the source of a the video as a great feature of HTML5 video.

    Instead as Josh points out, tv networks will likely continue to create native apps for users to see their content on devices without Flash, rather than use HTML5 video.

    Meanwhile, YouTube wrote a blog post including other features on why their main video player will continue to use the Flash Player for the immediate future:

    There should be a better experience that what is described for hi-def video that cannot play properly. For tv studios and places providing this kind of hi-def video, they are likely to start to include mobile optimized video. Still until then the pop-up message should come sooner and allow the user to navigate away easily. However, from what I’ve been reading so far from people who have been using mobile Flash, they haven’t been running into these problems.

  19. kwyjibo Says:

    In addition to Youtube’s stance on Flash and HTML5, here is the BBC’s.

    Flash isn’t going anywhere. Flash on Android? It’s a start.

  20. PB Says:

    To the comments about problems with HTML5, I don’t know it works fine on my iPhone. And the number of places that detect and support the iPhone seriously out numbers the places that don’t.

    If your a high volume site then you probably want to optimize for mobile anyway, you get charged by the byte. You don’t want to stream to a 4″inch screen the same amount of data you would stream for 22 inches or 46 inch screens.

    I don’t consider flash a “grownup PC experience,” its more like a skin rash on the PC that I banish with flash blocker plugins. I which sites would default to html5 video and only fall back to flash if your browser can’t handle HTML5.

  21. Ben Says:

    lol congrats. to a certain group of people, you have officially drank the Apple Kool-aid.

    I think you just got hit by reality.

  22. Wilhelm Reuch Says:

    But the web needs to be open and device builders should be free to innovate and improve even when it comes to video playback.

    With Flash everything must be shoehorned through one closed product and there are *no* alternative implementations even after all these years. It is a pathetic situation and web builders should be ashamed for letting a closed company/product get monopolistic control over web video.

  23. Michael Says:

    “But the developers and other people who care to see Flash content are offended by Apple’s decision. It would have been better for Apple to try to please as many customers as possible, perhaps by allowing their users to toggle whether Flash could be displayed on their device as they chose.”

    Sorry, but when the iPhone was first released there wasn’t a full Flash available on mobile devices, so there was nothing Apple could do about it. Yes, there was Flash Lite, which was not compatible with the desktop version, which most Flash content on the web (other than ads) was developed for. Full Flash for mobile is just now being released, over three years later. So were companies supposed to just sit idly by and wait or do as they’ve done, moved onto a new emerging open technology like HTML5? Webkit is free to anyone and is the most compliant HTML5 engine available. Not only that, every mobile OS uses it as a built-in web engine.

    Maybe Adobe should get off their asses and build a Javascript Flash runtime that could run Flash content. There’s already an open source project working towards that; The Gordon project uses all open web standards to interpret and run Flash content without needing Flash installed…

  24. rick Says:

    John Dowdell et al…

    Actually there’s an easier way to tell if Avram’s seeing an anomalous problem – go to the same URLs and play the same videos on internal Adobe phones that you believe work well and for which you know the environment. As long as the phones you (or anyone else) uses are stock froyo and the released Flash plugin, you should see the same basic experience as Avram. If not, then there’s an issue – whether that’s a mismatch between phone environments, one of you have great wifi/3G signal while the other doesn’t, etc.

    However, some of the issues avram points out aren’t technical, they’re just things that aren’t going to work on a phone. A Flash app that wants you to press the Ctrl key isn’t EVER going to work on a touch device. It will have to be adapted to an environment that doesn’t have Ctrl keys, etc.

    As for playback, the entire premise of Flash on mobile is that you get the same experience as on the PC (within realistic bounds given the hardware differences) and that you get this WITHOUT having to optimize a video for mobile. That might not be possible given the current mobile hardware – but that’s what people expect and it’s what Adobe seems to have been saying. If the truth is that videos need to be optimized for mobile, then there’s a huge issue because the fact is that most of the Flash video out there will not be transcoded and the promise of a Flash that works on mobile just like on the desktop is further compromised.

  25. Christiaan Says:

    Adobe has lost their bid to be in control of the web. They should give up and concentrate on making us some kick ass HTML/CSS/Javascript web tools.

  26. Mark Topham Says:

    Flash on mobile is a joke.

    It’s a joke because Adobe chooses to ignore the fact that most content can’t and won’t work with it.
    The content that should work without issue? There’s only 2.

    – Ads.
    – Video.

    Video should work without issue, assuming it’s optimized for the bandwidth available; Ads should work as they are generally passive in nature and take you to a website when clicked or tapped.

    But, aside from Video, what End-User-Content is likely to work, and work well? 1 out of 100 interactive Flash games?
    1 out of 100 interactive websites?

    Nobody said HTML5 will solve all those problems; but HTML5 is an emerging standard, complete with the ability to influence its future direction. Flash is closed. Content has to be re-written to work well on mobile devices. Where do you want to invest your time and money? A closed platform like Flash, or an open platform like HTML5? One that multiple companies want to support…

    Adobe wants Flash on mobile devices so their customers (Advertising Agencies) don’t abandon Flash for HTML5 development tools. Ironically that will change in a year anyway when Adobe is done with development on their HTML5 tools and are satisfied with them. Then the’ll abandon Flash faster than Jobs did.

  27. grwisher Says:

    @John Dowdell who said – “First things first: are you using legit versions of software? ”

    Did you read the article?
    In the1st paragraph, 2nd sentence, the author stated: “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”

  28. Jason Kichline Says:

    A lot of you are talking about Flash working on your phone “for years”. What you are referring to is FlashLite, and not Flash 10.1 which is the full version of Flash. That means that content was created specifically for those mobile devices in Flash, but this version is very limited. This article is talking about the “full” version of Flash that only has come out with Froyo and Droid 2 is the first phone to have it preinstalled.

    So this version that the writer tested *IS* the final version. The truth is that people WILL expect it to work just like the desktop experience, and when it doesn’t, they will get upset. Then they will disable Flash which means developers will have to rewrite things for HTML5 anyway.

  29. Si Says:

    I’m no fan of Flash re. the enormous performance drain it seems to create on mobile devices, but I am involved in making websites in media and for things such as animation, sound etc. HTML5 can’t do what Flash can yet… I’m sure that it will, but Flash is still an extremely useful tool. So I wish Adobe well in making Flash work on mobile devices – because Flash’s day is not over yet.

  30. Anuj Ahooja Says:

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I watched half the Facebook event on live stream on my Nexus One last night and it worked as smoothly as it did later on my computer as I continued to watch it at home. Maybe I’m just one of the lucky ones, not sure..

  31. Will D. Says:

    @Mark Haliday,

    Check out HTTP Live Streaming, it supports many of these features you mention. It is also what allows apps like ABC News, ABC Player, and NPR to work so well in iOS. Flash has had it’s day and is now a legacy technology, the web has evolved and Flash is no longer needed for most applications. Much of the resistance to this technology shift is coming from web developers and designers who make their living from Flash. This is understandable, people don’t like risk and change. However, if less time was spent on fighting the inevitable and more time on improving on the new technologies and coming up with fresh ideas, the web would be a better experience for everyone.

  32. Drunky Says:

    Funny, Eric in London is spot on for vendors who insist that Flash is the *only* solution. Of course that vendor is Adobe (note to author, fix your ‘Abobe’ typo, the proper spelling is ‘Adopey’).

    It really wasn’t that ‘brave’ of Apple to say ‘no’ to an app vendor that has treated them as second class (on the Mac) for quite some time now. That the iPhone/iPad are based on the same OS (MacOSX, *nix based) that Adobe can’t seem to get working correctly is icing on the cake. Why would the iPhone, or now, Android, another Linux based OS, be any different? Seems Adobe doesn’t have have the technical chops for *nix-based systems.

    Adobe has demonstrated that the only thing they can get 100% right is Windows. Pretty much everything else is either buggy or ‘real soon now.’ Maybe they’re gunning to be M&A’d by Microsoft? But that’s another story, along with the why- *cough* development off-shored to India, the Visual Basic / .NET kapital of the world.

    The real question is, why does an Adobe employee feel the need to pop on a modest little blog like this one to ‘massage the message’?

    IMNSHO, Adobe would be better served by devoting time to *fixing* (not refining, *fixing*) their buggy products, rather than posting comments on blogs.

  33. Conrad Says:

    *clap clap clap* Bravo Adobe *clap clap clap*

    Author: Flash sucks on my mobile device.

    Adobe: No it doesn’t! You’re a thief and a hacker!

    Author: No I’m not, I just unboxed this phone for this review!

    Bystander: Good job, Adobe:

    Adobe: Well, he might have been a hacker!

    Way to not answer anything! TWO Adobe trolls and still no answers.

    And, by the way, Flash does not work great everywhere. Flash is terrible. Flash makes my MacBook Pro so hot it almost burns. Flash CRIPPLED my 2.00GHz P4 when playing simple games like CityJumper (meanwhile EA’s offerings like SimsCity and Sims 2 work fantastically on that same system, with all expansion packs). Flash was fantastic in the 90’s when Macromedia offered a high-compression, low file-size, and VERY interactive alternative to basic MouseOver Javascript functionality. But it’s day is done.

    Also, to the issue of not being able to route specific video to mobiles a different bandwidths, WRONG. Using Apple’s FREE MakeRefMovie program I am able to serve HTML5 video to iPhone 3G, iPhone WiFi, iPad, and three different bandwidth speeds in one .MOV reference file. (I suspect this could be done with Javascript as well).

    That comes with the special benefit that when you try to right-click and save you only download the container and not the videos themselves.

    HTML5 is doing fine, don’t blame HTML5, talk to Mozilla and Opera. Flash is dying, long-live HTML5!

  34. Kevin Says:

    As was stated before in the first comment by “B”, the only phone that has a non-BETA version of Flash player on it is the Google Nexus. Every other phone that has Flash 10.1 on it is in beta (yes, even the Flash player that comes preinstalled on the Droid 2 and the official Froyo update to Droid 1 is in BETA).

    Having the HTC EVO – I’ve had no problems. I’m loving surfing the web and being able to see everything on the page, including Flash content.

  35. KieranD Says:

    Dude, I have an oldish HTC Hero and have had nothing but good experiences with whatever version of flash I’m running on it with Android 2.1. Are you using TasKiller or similar? Try it again but after killing all background tasks.

    Mochi games worked well on my Hero too.

  36. contextfree Says:

    Do the videos need to be optimized for mobile because of API incompatibilities, or just to make up for dearer machine resources (CPU, RAM, network etc.) available on mobile? If the latter, wouldn’t it presumably be just as possible to make HTML apps that don’t work on mobile for the same reasons?

    Ditto for the game control issue – if someone makes an game that’s designed for keyboard control, it won’t work well on mobile whether it’s implemented in HTML, Flash, or whatever else, right?

  37. Todd Shirley Says:

    Although Apple has “banned” Flash, I’d bet dollars to donuts that they’ve got it running on all sorts of present and future iOS devices in their labs, and that they test they crap out of it constantly. If there ever is a critical point where it works awesome and doesn’t suck up battery life and is still in widespread use, don’t be surprised if there is an Apple/Adobe lovefest press conference where everybody kisses and makes up and all of a sudden it is available on iOS. Business is business. All this rhetoric of haters and fanboys and whatever is BS. If Flash implementations can provide a consistently good user experience for mobile use, Flash has a future.

  38. Peter Cook Says:

    What mystifies me in all of this is the contrast to what happened to Macromedia years ago. As I recall, Flash was created as the lightweight, junior sister to Director, but was quickly adopted by all and led to Director’s demise. Essentially, Flash cannibalized Director’s market—but that didn’t have major repercussions (except to high-priced Director power users who knew its Lingo scripting language) as both were Macromedia products.

    Cut to the present: the obvious thing would be for Adobe to seize the bull by the horns, get to the forefront of HTML5 development and create a new WYSIWYG app to take advantage of the upcoming technology—for use by the same clients who currently rely on their Flash (ad agencies, etc.). Why stay on the defensive?

    (Given Adobe’s track record of late, I grant you that maybe major innovation might be asking too much.)

  39. Denis Says:

    I don’t know, sounds to me like Flash 10.1 on Android is working as well as it does on my MacBookPro today. Congrats Adobe, you’ve achieved a consistent user experience. I hope that there are ClickToFlash-equivalent programs in the Android market, cuz they’re gonna be needed.

  40. TC Says:

    I have flash running on my droid incredible… absolutely great experience. Everything works on pages I visit, have viewed many videos on many sites and had them play back smoothly, in the browser, and be resizable… Even messed with settings and watched some hulu once even though they look for android and block it… by the way, ABC purposely blocks android devices, regardless of flash / browser… same as hulu, hell maybe fox too even though i have never heard if fox does.. You should check into things like that before including them in an article.

  41. Graham J Says:

    Great post Avram, thanks. Flash was a great stopgap for the desktop web where lack of standards made video and animation difficult to implement but it was never designed for mobile devices and their UIs. Now that Adobe has finally, many years after their promise, got it sort of working I can’t help but chuckle that all their efforts really did was prove this to be the case.

    HTML5 might not be the panacea now, but it will be. Now is the time to get development tools for it up to snuff and to stick with non-DRM formats. DRM is BAD and it’s laughable that some are holding up as a benefit of Flash.

    Want to watch shows on ABC or other networks you’re already paying for access to via your cable subscription? Set them to auto-download via torrents and use AirDisplay to stream them from anywhere. You don’t need DRM encrusted formats running on inefficient, proprietary runtimes to enjoy content you’ve already paid for.

  42. Thor Says:

    Android fans really want to see themselves as technological sophisticates with superior products, while those Apple fans are just dopes that get blinded by marketing and shiny things. Whatever. That’s fine.

    What’s funny is that these cutting-edge sophisticates have latched onto a dying technology, Flash, as one of their key claims to superiority. Google itself is compromising its own values, hedging on its earlier full-throated endorsement of HTML to act all sweet with Adobe for the time being.

    All this fuss about Flash is so blown out of proportion, mostly by those who make their living on it and those who want to use it as a temporary marketing strategy vs. Apple. It is simply not that great.

  43. Scott Lewis Says:

    @ Kevin and @ KieranD –

    Kevin – it doesn’t matter if the version of flash that ships with the Droid 2 or the Droid 1 update is beta or not. It’s arguably more dangerous to release a phone to CONSUMERS (not geeks) that is buggy and beta then to just delay another 6 months and have no shipping Flash for ANY mainstream phones.

    KieranD – TasKiller? Tell me, do you really expect the masses of consumers out there to buy a Droid, go to a Flash site, have trouble, go to another Flash site, have trouble, and think to try a task killing application? Nobody knows what that is outside of the tech circle.

    I carry a Droid (work) and an iPhone (pleasure). I LOATHE my Droid. Everything I do that’s unrelated to checking work email or text messages, I do on the iPhone. It’s just more pleasurable, and everything always works, everything always is well designed and classy, the layout is never complex and convuluted, and I never have to stop and think. I just do things. About the hardest thing Apple has made people swallow is telling us that FaceTime is WiFi only, not 3G. Most non-techies have a pretty good grasp of that.

  44. Verne Lindner Says:

    On the games side: give it a little time! Current Flash game offerings may be designed for mouse use, but that’s today. I’ll be interested to try games made in the next six months.

  45. SA_Boston Says:

    I am running a Nexus One, and using the recently released official 10.1 Flash Player. All of the sites mentioned above load fine using the default Android browser, without needing to tweak any settings. Yes, there are obviously gaming issues here and there due to the lack of a mouse, but that is to be expected for now, until these games are programmed to accommodate for touch input.

    I would suggest that if you are still on Flash Beta, you should use the free “Dolphin HD” browser, if you want a real web experience. You can go into the settings and setup this browser to be seen by websites as a “Desktop” rather than as a mobile device. You will have a much better experience, since it won’t filter you down to a .m type experience. Just my 2 cents…

  46. nobody Says:

    @ Mark Haliday, please let me know when Flash includes an FM radio. Oh, what.. you don’t want/need/give a shit about that? What a surprise.

  47. Conrad Says:

    “Todd Shirley Says:
    August 19th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
    Although Apple has “banned” Flash, I’d bet dollars to donuts that they’ve got it running on all sorts of present and future iOS devices in their labs, and that they test they crap out of it constantly. If there ever is a critical point where it works awesome and doesn’t suck up battery life and is still in widespread use, don’t be surprised if there is an Apple/Adobe lovefest press conference where everybody kisses and makes up and all of a sudden it is available on iOS. Business is business. All this rhetoric of haters and fanboys and whatever is BS. If Flash implementations can provide a consistently good user experience for mobile use, Flash has a future.”

    Wrong. Apple is not spending it’s time and resources to develop a player for Adobe’s technology. Apple doesn’t care. Maybe if Adobe came to them with a light-weight Flash player that actually provided the exact experience it does on desktop machines (maybe I should say Windows desktop machines?) then Apple would probably reconsider its stance. Apple’s already got the hottest handset in the world without Flash, Adobe proprietary technology will do nothing to advance Apple’s platform, so why would they care?

    You know how many times I’ve missed Flash on my iPhone/iPad? Zero. I can’t watch most American shows from Canada anyway, so I just Torrent the shows, watch them (even over the web) with AirVideo and them delete them when I’m finished with them. As far as games go, I can get way better games on the App Store for a buck or two, many of them are even free, so that’s no problem.

    And banner ads? I really miss those! *eyeroll*

    Even on my MBP I have Click2Flash installed and I rarely ever unblock Flash content.

    As a side note, Adobe has lost a lot of my respect. I used to live in Photoshop (5.0-CS5), Dreamweaver (MX2000-CS4), Premiere (6.0-CS3), InDesign (5.0-CS3). Then I graduated and no longer qualified for student (read: REASONABLE) pricing and have come up with great alternatives for each of these programs, except Photoshop (GIMP is terrible and Pixelmator is on it’s way, but it’s still far off).

    Dreamweaver – Panic’s Coda
    Premiere – Apple’s Final Cut Studio
    Audition/Soundbooth – Garageband, Logic, Protools, or Soundtrack
    InDesign – Apple’s Pages (Not all the functionality is there, but enough that I make do for the publications I’m responsible for)
    Flash – HTML, CSS, & Javascript.

  48. Bob Says:

    Flash sucks and Android sucks, so you’re bound to have problems.

  49. Andrew Says:

    I’m confused about the mention in the article of visiting and watching HTML5 videos. This page on their site specifically says they don’t serve HTML5 videos and don’t plan to do so:

    “As of right now, we don’t have any super-pressing plans to switch to HTML5. We’ve obviously talked about it and are aware that it would be sweet, but there’s a ton of technical and web-security issues that need to be resolved first…”

  50. Par Eklund Says:

    I have been running all sorts of Flash apps on my HTC Desire (upgraded to FroYo a couple of weeks back) and I haven’t had any problems. Obviously it takes a little longer to load than on my desktop and trying out full-blown, high-end Flash-based video slots for example obviously causes lag due to them being so feature-rich and developed for desktop PCs.

    Of course, one can always find cases where things aren’t running smoothly but that will hold true for any technology where the intended runtime environment is almost a magnitude more powerful.

    Also, anyone who seriously believes that Jobs is honestly dismissing Flash from a qualitative standpoint and not because he wants all video on the Internet to be mp4/QuickTime instead of the predominant Flash video is living in la-la-land.

  51. Steve Jobs Says:

    Hate to say, but… I told you so! LMAO

  52. t Says:

    Just to test out my own experience, I went to and, and I was able to view flash videos without any problems or streaming issues. So now what… ?

  53. Renaud Says:

    By the way it’s HTML5 not HTML 5.

    The only thing I can’t believe about this article was that you were surprised.

    Also yesterday Vimeo released their embeddable HTML5 player and Hulu has iOS apps. There’s not much left iOS users care about.

  54. RattyUK Says:

    John Dowdell et al. I know Steve Jobs has banned Flash from the iPhone – at least the runtime – and Adobe is apparently “over” Flash on the iPhone. But did you ever get a plug in working for the iPhone? Did it work? Or were you just talking up something you would have never delivered on anyway? Coz from where I’m sitting it looks like a pissing match.

  55. Larry Ellison Says:

    Steve, I know that we agreed to go for the FUD strategy here but can’t we sue Adobe as well. I have some silly patents burning in my pocket that could come in handy. Pleeease, for me!

  56. Perspective Says:

    I must be living in la-la land then. In my opinion, Jobs/Apple’s position on Flash has evolved over the years. In 2007-2009, it really wasn’t implemented in a way that could work on the iPhone. Sure, there was a lite player for non-touch devices, but nothing for touch-based phones. Yet people still bought the devices, which leads us to 2010. More than 100 million iOS devices have been sold, and not a single one runs Flash.

    I can imagine why Adobe might not be motivated to provide a player for the original iPhone, which was a very high-priced item whose success was not assured at launch. But by the next summer, when the 3G was released at $200, Adobe still did not have Flash ready, but the absence of it did not slow adoption, so Apple did not care. Now, Apple can’t make iPhones/iPod Touches/iPads quickly enough, even without Flash. So why bother?

  57. Ben Says:

    “Alas, Laptop Magazine has had its day.” – haha, la-la-land indeed. I’m not sure it ever had a day, what site is this??

    Anyways, I’m pretty sure Avram Piltch is just running another sensationalist anti-flash post here. It’s funny when people don’t quite get things but love to regurgitate crap they’ve heard other people say.

    “Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers.” This is one of the stupidest statements ever. Flash is the platform, if you’re referring to the platform discuss the platform. Specific web sites, or applications, etc. are created with a platform, and may or may not have been designed for PC’s with mice vs. touch screens with fingers. The Flash platform is much more broad than that. It’s akin to saying “iOS was designed for touchscreens, not PC’s with mice.” You’re mixing up the discussion of the platform vs. the use of the platform.

    Besides, the number one fallacy with your lame argument is that Flash is not solely a technology for mobile, and it was just released for mobile in it’s full version. It’s still huge on the WEB as a whole, and probably will be for some time. It will probably die someday, just like most technology, but your post proves absolutely nothing except that you had a bad experience with your phone and you name dropped Steve Jobs.

  58. GQB Says:

    To those making the statement that ‘HTML5 sucks just as bad as Flash’, you do realize that what you’re saying (even if one accepts that assessment) is that the up and coming technology is now pretty much at a par with a technology that has pretty obviously peaked, right?
    Think about what that says about the project improvement curves.

    Flash had its day. Time to move on.

  59. Sara L. Says:

    So many of you people just don’t get it. It needs to “just work.”

    Hear that Adobe? It tolls for thee.

  60. Linuxluver Says:

    Flash works well enough on my Nexus One that I’d rather have it than not have it. Absolutely agree that content written for PC hardware controls poses problems for devices with a touch interface. But that isn’t an architectural fail in my views….that’s just how the app was written. HTML5 is much newer and much of the content has been written especially for mobile so it will work better because it has been written. I think you’re confusing specific application choices with platform architectures.

    The Flash on my phone works fine with the video sites you mentioned and a truck-load of other sites, too (DailyMotion, BBC World, TVNZ OnDemand…and the list goes)

    Does it work perfectly? No.
    It is better having it than not having it? H*ll YEAH!

  61. Avram Piltch Says:

    I didn’t say that Flash for PC was bad, that I was rooting against it, or that it has no benefits. What I did say is that, given the fact that so many Web sites are now using HTML 5, Flash needs to perform better on mobile. In my experience, Flash performance was mixed; it worked well enough on sites that were optimized for mobile, but very poorly on sites like which are not optimized for mobile Flash.

    Now here’s where I am concerned (genuinely concerned and hoping for better) about the future of Flash. If I am the head of web development at a content site and I have to choose which platforms to support with my video player or with my online games, I have a tough choice. What I wanted was for all the Flash videos and games I spent years working on to “just work” on Flash for mobile like they do on the PC, but since they don’t, I have to put in the time and money to change the way I serve / encode video. I can support three different platforms: HTML 5, Flash for Desktop, and Flash for Mobile, but what’s my motivation to create three versions of everything? What developers really want is simple: write once, run everywhere. But it looks like mobile Flash isn’t really offering that and considering that HTML 5 works well both on iOS and Android, it’s at a huge disadvantage.

  62. joe c Says:

    I think Apple’s main points on Flash on mobile are:

    1) it sucks. I agree. Every time I give Flash another chance I send up disabling it. They can’t even get it to work well on desktops then how is mobile going to be better?

    2) The web should be open. I agree there as well. The web itself should be totally open; if you want proprietary stuff, go do it elsewhere. And no Flash on many (most?) computers does not equal being open.

    Adobe can call Apple’s bluff by opening up Flash. The “open” excuse would be gone, and anyone would be able to get into the code and fix/optimize it. But Adobe won’t ever let that happen.

  63. Conrad Says:

    HTML5 as a way to serve video is supported in all modern browsers (Except IE, how I loathe IE) so it is write-once, run anywhere. Re-encoding is trivial, I have an Applescript set up to re-encode my video into various formats with two clicks of the mouse and without launching any programs. I simply select a file in the Finder, Secondary Click to invoke the services menu and select my batch encodes.

    Having to serve a Flash fallback to IE users is infuriating, though. Especially since it takes up so much HD space just to encode a video. Is there an easier way?

  64. Jackifus Says:

    The market will decide if Flash is dead or not.

    Apple felt, thusfar correctly, that Flash would degrade the overall user experience in a mobile device – battery life, heat, responsiveness and stability.

    Given that Apple’s target market is a broad consumer base and Apple decides to insulate their users from the workings of machines, it follows that they have not included Flash in their offerings.

    If Adobe can create a Flash implementation soon enough without the above limitations, the market will push Apple to support it.

    The current implementation is not mature and stable enough to push the market yet. But perhaps it will. It’s not a right or wrong thing- full featured Flash hasn’t existed until now. And now that it does, we’ll see if the market demands its inclusion.

  65. F.Baube Says:

    Adobe is a blight on the landscape

  66. Sigivald Says:

    Kevin: If Adobe is letting people like Motorola ship a beta of Flash as “the flash player” on their mobile device… Adobe deserves the criticism that “beta” gets.

    I mean, if they never released a non-beta Flash you could always say “it’s in beta”, but it wouldn’t mean anything, now, would it?

    I look forward to the day when I never have to install an Adobe product at all on any of my computers to do daily tasks.

  67. RidleyGriff Says:

    I cannot believe the Adobe response here was to actually claim the software being used wasn’t legitimate. And to the commenter saying that poor performance was okay because the software labelled “beta” — sorry. If it’s shipping pre-installed on one of the flagship Android phones, the powers that be are signaling it’s ready for prime time. No excuses.

    What’s fascinating is that the argument already seems to have shifted from “HTML5 can’t possibly get adopted quickly enough” to “HTML5 doesn’t offer DRM solution X or technical solution Y”. HTML5’s adoption seems to be a given at this point.

  68. Jackifus Says:

    Note – the prevalence of Flash-blocker extensions reveals that some section of the market isn’t clamoring for Flash content. Or at least finds most Flash content bothersome enough to want to selectively enable bits and pieces.

    It took Adobe 3 years after the first iPhone to release full-featured Flash for mobile … to Avram’s point – during that time the demand for Apple products didn’t slack because of Adobe’s absence …

    The market is actually making a decision …

  69. Matt Says:

    If you are on a forum debating whether or not a particular technology is obsolete, then that particular technology is obsolete.

  70. Barney Says:

    @Ben, first sensible post on the subject. Blame the developer who requires a CTRL key press for his game, not the platform on which it was built. And when he authored that game he didn’t have a phone in mind, his app was probably a completely valid, fit for purpose piece of development.
    The interwebs are full of HTML sites that use hovers and other behaviours not well suited for touch devices. Same deal.

    If I hear another person state “Flash is a dying technology” without substantiating it I’m going to scream. What because Steve said it it’s fact? Substantiate it. Or don’t offer your opinion.

    Flash has many advantages over HTML5 _right_now_ beyond video DRM. How about a mature and sophisticated development toolset for one (no I don’t mean the Flash IDE). The ability to create robust, testable, well structured OOP applications. The lack of tools for Javascript applications makes that challenging, then they have to work in half a dozen completely different browsers.

    Not everyone uses Flash to create memory intensive buggy rubbish. Sheesh you can do that in any platform. I’ve seen more than a few shitty apps on the App Store. But again, the crux of it is this: blame the developer, NOT the technology.

  71. Jeremy Says:

    Couldn’t anyone see this coming a mile off? HTC had Flash on their “Hero” Android phone and pretty much nothing worked. I have a Nokia N810 (not strictly a phone) with Flash as basically nothing works. Oh you could say: “that works” but always it “works” so slowly that it might as well not work.

    Here’s the thing, if we recreate the content in Flash for mobile consumption then sure, it can work. But if we have to recreate the content, why the hell are we using Flash?! For get Steve Jobs for a moment, forget the iPhone – why are we using Flash to do this? Flash isn’t open. Only Adobe can improve Flash. Flash has a terrible reputation (deserved) on security and reliability. Adobe have repeatedly delivered substandard Flash players on everything but Windows. Why are we still using it? When will we wise up and actually sort out HTML 5 so we have full control over the playback experience? Does the lousy Flash player on Linux not matter? Do we just automatically take the opposite view of Steve Jobs because he’s Steve Jobs? Are we so afraid we might become Apple’s whipping boy we’re prepared to continue to be Adobe’s whipping boy?

    Seriously, if we’ve got to recreate everything anyway, isn’t it just time we took the opportunity to finally ditch our reliance on a closed source browser plugin?

  72. Flexmeister Says:

    “Flash is the platform, if you’re referring to the platform discuss the platform.”

    This is one of the stupidest statements ever. Nobody cares about the actual platform. What’s relevant, is everyday use. If the games aren’t optimized for touch control, then they are no argument for Flash on mobile devices.

  73. mark Says:

    iPhone lovers and People who use iPhone want to justify not having Flash on their phone. Here see..people who has Flash are not happy neither. I don’t know what the author is talking about. I am happy having flash and watching videos on my phone. And yes, it works.

  74. Micah Says:

    There are a couple aspects to this.

    1. Flash Plug-In Support on iPhone. Steve Jobs has always stood by the fact that Adobe has not delivered a player that performs acceptably. If Adobe where to provide that player, Apple would bow to the pressure to support it.

    2. Adobe’s Flash to App cross compiler. Apple would not want to support this for very obvious and stated reasons. This would result in a large number of Applications built by Flash developers and tie Apple’s iOS development cycle to Adobe. Any changes that might break the Flash Apps would lead to Apple having to build their timelines around Adobe updates to ensure compatibility. If they did not, they would be blamed for every Flash based app that quit working.

    With regard to Flash as a technology, I see a couple of use cases:

    1. Movies – Why wrap movies in Flash if HTML5 evolves to provide the DRM and stream sizing? In that scenario, does Flash provide real value over HTML5?

    2. Ads – Don’t want to see them anyway.

    3. Interactive Games: Most are not even developed for multi-touch but use keyboard controls, etc. If there is not enough mobile optimized content in this area, then by not having Flash I’m not missing out on anything. Get back to me when there is enough to make it worthwhile.

    I really don’t find that I’m missing out on much when browsing on an iOS based device than a PC. In fact, in 2 years on an iPhone, I can’t think of a single instance where I was annoyed by the lack of Flash.

    I don’t hate Flash, nor am I a huge open standards guy, but take what I think is a fairly reasonable view in that I don’t want a bunch of proprietary sandboxes when they don’t add significant value. I’m also not a content provider or web developer, just want things to work and a nice smooth quick browsing experience.

  75. James Says:

    Android fanboys are always rabid about how ‘openness’ makes Android clearly better than iOS. I mean, isn’t it obvious, Appletard? It’s OPEN! Except, of course, for when it comes to this issue. You see, Apple is on the other side on this one, so our previously cherished beliefs can sit this one out. Appletard indeed… I seem to have lost my script; remind me which is the real cult again?

    -Has Apple got something good that Android doesn’t? Who cares? It’s closed, end of conversation!
    -Has Android got something good that Apple doesn’t? Who cares if it’s closed? Don’t kill my buzz!

    It’s called hypocrisy. Look it up.

  76. Resource Hog Says:

    It’s funny that Fragdroid fans (who constantly chimp-scream about “freedom” and “openness”) seem to be the most likely to support mobile Flash. Even when they know full well that Flash in all its forms is as closed and proprietary as any binaries Microsoft ships. Massive hypocrisy at best, mass psychosis at worst.

    I think everyone might feel better after Android is retired in favor of Chrome OS. A fate that is being hastened by the Oracle lawsuit. (Maybe instead of “retired” I should have said “impounded and destroyed.”)

    Then again, rushing out a late-beta Google Tablet before the holidays could be a horrendous mistake. Better to be late than to ship on time with a half-baked product. If you’re late, you build anticipation. If you ship a bad product too early, people will hate you forever. (Looking at you, JooJoo.)

  77. James Katt Says:

    The biggest geek on gives Flash for cellphones a BIG FAIL. WOW. That should tell us all that Adobe is a failure and that Flash is a DEAD END technology.

  78. James Katt Says:

    I love ClickToFlash on my Mac. It avoids all the crashes that occur in the Mac as a result of Flash. Flash is dead.

  79. Eric Says:

    “Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced.” – H. L. Mencken

  80. Chad Says:

    Ahh, nothing like a biased review!

  81. John Gruber Says:


  82. Dave M Says:

    I can’t tell if I’m humored or saddened by the awkward defensiveness of people who can’t accept that Flash is a dead-end technology for the future.

    This isn’t an exact analogy, but it’s like discussing the future of the automobile with a farmer who’s been using horses for the past 30 years. “You mean to tell me that your piddly car is gonna pull my plow through the field? You can’t even hook up my plow to that kiddie toy!”

    Well, farmers, yes: HTML5 is the future and Flash is the past. Keep using your horse but it’s useful to acknowledge something else is coming and you should prepare.

  83. Andrei Timoshenko Says:

    To quote a post on on of Wired’s blogs on the advantages of the web:

    “Notably, the web makes it very easy to share, link, embed, cut and paste, bookmark, search – in short, everything that makes content useful in the web-enhanced world.”

    Flash prevents all of this, even on the desktop platform. Hell, Flash even breaks the Back/Forward/Reload browsing paradigm for Internet navigation. Outside of its use in video (which has now been rendered superfluous) I cannot remember seeing a website whose user experience was actually improved through the use of Flash. Its use for pretty (but non-selectable – argh!) fonts was an advantage, but WOFF, even in its nascent state, has already surpassed Flash for this use.

    The whole platform needs to die. In its present form, it does nothing but encourage hack designers to create crappy, difficult to navigate websites.

  84. Steve Says:

    Have to strongly disagree here. Flash on my Android phone works brilliantly. I use it to watch videos and play games all the time without issue and it hasn’t crashed on me once. Flash is set to load on demand when I request it and otherwise it stays out of my way. It feels good to be able to access all the content I want on my cell. In my opinion it proves Jobs dead wrong.

  85. vpndev Says:

    I guess I’m a greybeard (although I don’t currently sport a beard) and have different issues.

    If find any animation on web sites (as opposed to movies etc obviously) to be a pain, and block them. Flash, animated GIFs and all the others – kill ‘em. It makes for a very problematic browsing experience, at least for me.

    I don’t have an issue with Flash per se, just with its overuse by advertisers trying to distract my eyeballs. If you want me to see your ad, make it static. Animate it and I kill it.


  86. Reg Says:

    Could the author perhaps check some Flash based childrens’ games sites for successful interaction? For example, Nickelodeon’s at

    At the GoogleIO conference, one of the selling points made for having Flash on Android was how it would let such sites play on Android phones.

    In fact, in the keynote Vic Gundotra stated that his young daughter rejected an iPad and asked for his Android phone instead because it could play Nick Jr.

    I’m interested to hear just how genuine this claim actually was.

  87. Gopi Says:

    I think that some people here have forgotten one of the criticisms of Apple’s choice to not include flash: people say that you don’t get the whole WWW.

    If you need to re encode your video and modify your game controls and do other changes, then clearly adding a flash player won’t solve the problem.

    If you accept that content needs to be optimized for mobile devices, then the question is not, do you want all the web on your mobile device. Rather, the question is, which tools should content developers use to produce mobile content? A very different question IMHO.

  88. LemonadeJoe Says:

    If it’s called flash, it should run flash. Period. People don’t care about the semantics, they just want their flash. If it doesn’t work, they’re going to blame Flash ( and possible connect that to Adobe ). Not one ‘normal’ user is going to say ‘oh, guess I was on the wrong ‘platform’.

    Can anyone explain how Flash is open if I need to buy Adobe’s $1200 tools to create something in it?

  89. Ruben M. Says:

    It does not make any sense to make Flash work on IOS for Apple. Apple and Adobe could make it work BUT because you can get free Flash games on the internet via Flash, Apple will never allow it even if the iPhone 4 has enough power to run Flash. Apple makes it money and so do developers that develop for IOS. Flash developers have Android devices to use their Flash apps on the web. I also think Apple will not make it easy for people to view video via flash since they want you to use their apps on the IOS. I am sure IOS will not have flash installed unless you jailbreak your device. If you so upset about missing flash on IOS devices then don’t buy them.

  90. jean-paul Says:

    That review was hilarious: Flash is looking more and more like a clown with his pants down running across a minefield. Booom!

  91. Tom Says:

    Why are we arguing? Flash needs to die and HTML5 needs to mature. So lets put our efforts towards moving HTML5 along so we can drop Flash sooner. End of discussion.

  92. Flexmeister Says:

    To those who think this is all a giant conspiracy and Flash would run perfectly on all devices if it weren’t for the Apple-led Illuminati… consider yourselves laughed at.
    I’m running a Mac Pro w/ 6GB of Ram and I still have to invoke Click To Flash regularly in order to stop the system from grinding to a halt.
    Flash is Windows tech, pure and simple. Adobe missed the Mac boat, and right now it’s missing the mobile one as well.
    If you ask me, good riddance.

  93. GC Says:

    well i have run flash on my HTC Desire with next to no problems. It is all very well saying flash doesn’t work perfectly but there is nothing better at the minute. And dont give me the nonsense about it being a huge deal to optimise flash content for mobiles, it is hugely easier to select a few alternative options in the most recent version of flash than go away and create new html5/css/java content which will look completely different on every browser as nobody actually agrees on the standards yet.

    Do i want video/ animations and web games on my mobile without having to install a new app for each instance. Yes well looks like im using flash for the near future. Do developers want content that will work on most phones without having to develop 5 or more native apps -yes. Again flash is their best bet.

    Oh and just to mention android phones can play html5 pretty much the same as iphone both (webkit browsers) content too so this is not android fanboys sticking up for what they have on their phones.

    Finally just to balance out the post i am not a huge flash fan in general it pretty much sucks on the desktop especially outside windows. But this review just didnt match my experience with flash on android one bit.

    I think this pretty much splits the iphone users from android. Do you want the most features available even if it means a few bugs, then get android. Do you just want things to work (although my recent experience of iOS and ipod certainly doesnt go along with this), even if its the way Steve says and there is no room for manoeuvre, then get an iphone.

  94. David Ryan Says:

    Would have really appreciated if Adobe concentrated more on compatibility of 64 bit browsers with Flash player. Adobe is working with Motorola to bring flash player while you still cant install Flash player on 64 bit IE running on a 64 bit Windows… with adobe giving a workaround, to open the 32 bit browser or to use another browser….

    Sounds ridiculous isnt it?

  95. steffenjobbs Says:

    Android fanboys don’t care about the level of user experience. It’s merely a matter of bragging rights. My Android smartphone runs Flash and your crippled iPhone doesn’t. They know they’re not being controlled by Steve Jobs whims and it makes them happy. I’m not sure if the average Android consumer is going to be happy with encountering various Flash sites. There are some Flash sites that will almost give desktops a rough time displaying their fancy coding. I don’t think mobile Flash will be universally bad. It will be a matter of a site to site trial and error adventure. I’d think that mobile Flash could display most of the Flash on the web without any major problem. Steve doesn’t think that’s good enough for iOS users. It’s too hit and miss and it would probably frustrate users and they’d be calling Apple to find out why such and such site doesn’t work properly.

    I think Flash could be used on mobile devices if the Flash coders used some sort of restraint. I agree that there is a lot of Flash stuff on the web that people might want to see. Then it’s up to them to purchase a smartphone that runs Flash. That’s it. Apple needs to keep pushing more and more sites to use HTML5 which will suit nearly all smartphone user platforms. I just can’t figure out why Adobe is so bitter that Apple doesn’t want to use Flash in its current state. I’m very interested in seeing Flash being released on all smartphone platforms and see what users think of it. Most of the users smartphones are going to be substandard and will probably have loading problems and slow response. At least they’ll be able to turn Flash off, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having it.

    I use ClickToFlash in my Safari browser, but I still have exceptions on sites I absolutely need to use that run Flash. I’ll admit it. But I’ve got a powerful iMac that’s plugged in and doesn’t use a battery. I’m only saying my iMac a big difference from using some battery-powered smartphone with a relatively weak processor.

  96. Martin Says:

    I have flash working fine on my HTC with those sites mentioned. Video plays, smooth enough. What’s the big deal? Apple haters are delusional, and ummm.. plain worng.

    All the flash haters on here are just spitting out Steve Jobs crunchy grey pubes they munch on ferociously, not my fault they’re all a bunch of turtle neck wearing simpering limp wristed wankers that overpay for silvery chinese tat electronics. The sooner every apple bleater gets cancer and dies the better, irritating tossers.

  97. Ian Says:

    Flash is a bad joke. 10.1 on Linux supports no hardware acceleration and Adobe’s whiny blog insists it’s not possible (this is probably why it performs poorly on Android as well, since Android is Linux). Meanwhile the open-source Gnash has it working fine. Maybe Adobe’s proprietary closed-source platform will end up being rescued by the FSF.

  98. Volker Hett Says:

    I tried on my Palm Pre which has no flash player and the videos work. So there must be some sort of alternative player for that.

  99. penas Says:

    No problems whatsoever since started using my Bluetooth mouse in my Milestone. It rocks!

  100. oobie Says:

    Flash = 100% closed.

    Apple = 50% closed, 50% open.

    Apple better.

  101. Kas Says:

    Like someone said earlier, the full web experience for mobile and touch devices is still in it’s infancy. I’m sure given the time and support by all, Flash content on these devices would end up working well.

    But I think when Steve saw what we’re hearing now, that Flash for mobile couldn’t play existing content properly, that it had to be repurposed, that all of their proprietary lock-in had disappeared… he saw a golden opportunity to take down a competing development platform. And not just to halt it’s growth into mobile, but to reduce or even remove it’s existing control on the desktop.

  102. His Shadow Says:

    “Can anyone explain how Flash is open if I need to buy Adobe’s $1200 tools to create something in it?”

    Because Adobe is lying about the meaning of “open” and “standards”. They’ve muddled the discussion as they flail about for a convincing argument to allow the to continue to exist.

  103. His Shadow Says:

    “Steve Says:

    Have to strongly disagree here. Flash on my Android phone works brilliantly. I use it to watch videos and play games all the time without issue and it hasn’t crashed on me once.”

    Oh, for the love of god stop it. Flash crashes in Chrome every other hour and brings Firefox to it’s knees regularly on desktops with horsepower and RAM to spare. There is basically no chance that what you are claiming is true.

  104. duq Says:

    i don’t think ios can’t run flash, apple’s probably already tried it internally to make such sure statements about its poor performance.

    is flash needed? we have an open scaffold on the net that can do 90% of what flash can and many things it can’t. image processing, push-pull communication, effects, character-based machinery to crunch, mold, and fling whatever – it’s there. want to program on the web as you would a native app? make a way and call it objective-j. want to deliver interactive content to as many as possible across multiple devices, industries, and continents via a single method requiring no postage, goods, or parallel development? no other method is as ubiquitous. not pervasive, people, but enabling. flash runtime without the flash? thank you gordon may i have another. want something you can just plain crack open?

    i don’t need more ads, an eyesore and a blasphemy to bandwidth.
    i don’t need a capsule to insulate me from content, a wedge in the door of fair use.
    i don’t need a another middleman between what i want to do and what i can.

    flash is part of the web, not vice versa. a world within a world, akin to a dream. communication through the wall was nice when it flowed, but if the cell no longer accomplishes more than its environment inherently does, why does it exist?

    many hours back in the day did i enjoy creating with now wayward tools, director for instance.

    i learned so much and i miss sitting down to hash out yet another crazy concept.
    i loved that the bubble was nigh impermeable, that my invention would operate in exactly the same way in any place, forever.
    i now realize that gift is a tradeoff that effectively froze itself in time.

    flow, flow, flow your code
    quickly to the screen
    standardly, standardly, standardly, standardly,
    flash is but a dream

  105. Barney Says:

    @LemonadeJoe you don’t need Adobe’s $1200 tools to build Flash. You can build it for free using commonly available tools. You might have to buy a computer though. And an operating system licence. You see where I’m going with that?
    And for the record, it’s not called “Flash”. It’s called YouTube, it’s called, it’s called If their agencies Flash developers make broken crap it only reflects badly on the brand. It’s only to people like you that it reflects on Flash because Steve Jobs told you Flash is dead.

    @Andrei Timoshenko you can build Flash so it doesn’t break the back button. Your same argument applies equally to any relatively complex state-based javascript application. Also, the default state of a textfield in Flash is selectable. Developers can choose to override this where appropriate, or leave it selectable. Where appropriate.

    @Dave M “but it’s like discussing the future of the automobile with a farmer who’s been using horses for the past 30 years. “You mean to tell me that your piddly car is gonna pull my plow through the field? You can’t even hook up my plow to that kiddie toy!”. Your analogy is so far off base it’s hard to know where to start. A car couldn’t pull that plow better than a horse for one, that’s why they invented tractors. Flash performs better than javascript for image/video rich sites that use motion/animation as a key narrative and storytelling tool. Flash video plays better on my PC than HTML5 video (which frankly stinks). So in actual fact, the reality for me is that Flash is the modern day tractor, and HTML5 right now is the horse.

    @vpndev yes animated banners are a blight. But are you suggesting that animation is NOT a valid narrative device/tool/technique? Respectfully, an absurd suggestion sir from someone who sounds more intelligent than that.

    @gruber I’m a big fan, but you’re usually so critical of bad journalism. That’s what this is John. Love or hate Flash it’s really innaccurate and misleading.


  106. Martini Says:

    @John Dowdell who said – “First things first: are you using legit versions of software? ”


    Why yes, John… We understand that Adobe has been working their collective butts off over the last three years fine tuning mobile flash to perfection, so obviously it can’t be the software that actually shipped on the phone…

  107. Drunky Says:

    @ian @martin Riddle yourselves THIS, Batmen. How come a ragtag group of Open Source longhairs can get Gnash working on *nix and Adobe, a bigBad multinational with BRILLIANT offshored assets can’t?

    It’s not “technically possible” for Adobe to do so because they picked the wrong offshore labor haven. I can tell you that CHINESE geeks, hackers running Red Flag Linux have no trouble coding iPhone (and Android) native apps.

    So my advice for the yob running Adopey and the PR yobs he’s hired that are prowling this board? Hire more *nix savvy Chinese, lay off the commentards you’ve hired to prowl these blogs, SHUT UP and PRODUCE. Apple certainly doesn’t need fulltime commentards prowling tech blogs. The first rule is ‘do not ship crap’. The second rule is ‘shut up and produce’. And the 3rd rule is do not forget rules 1 and 2!

    The 200K in salary and bennies for ONE commentard can hire a LOT of CHINESE overseas to take care of that ‘insurmountable tech problem’ you’re having, that the Gnash folks do not share with you. Just sayin’. *Le Sigh*.

    Oh, and @martin? It’s not our fault that you’re ‘willing to settle’ for cheap. Cheap is not better. BETTER is better. I’m sure everyone who runs something other than Windows or who won’t settle for “just enough” agrees with me.

  108. Steven Says:

    The fact that its employees seem to spend a lot of their spare time combing the blogsphere making excuses for Flash tells you all you need to know about Adobe.

  109. Martini Says:


    @Barney who said – “Love or hate Flash it’s really innaccurate and misleading.”

    You are delusional.

    This is one writer’s account of his experience with a version flash that shipped on his mobile device. I don’t know what you read, but I didn’t read anything that sounded “inaccurate” or misleading… except perhaps for your spelling.


  110. Walt French Says:

    I’ve never understood how Adobe ever thought Flash would be functional in the generations of smartphones prior to late 2009.

    I just took a peek at my system status while opening up one little Flash vid — a bit smaller than the resolution of my iPhone4. This is Adobe’s latest for the Mac. RAM use was 55 MB for the plugin once I asked Click2Flash to say “go” It also tied up half of one of the 4 cores.

    Well, that’s the CPU capacity of your typical 800-1000 MHz phones. It’s also half of the total RAM in the original iPhone, and virtually ALL of the RAM budget for 2007-era BlackBerries, maybe some Windows phones of the era. In other words, how could Flash ever HOPE to run on ANY device of that scope?

    Then I fooled around a bit more. Turned off the nVidia GPU. CPU burn rate jumped up by half. Clicked on an ad; went to YouTube and started a medium-sized concert video video, then closed the first page. The RAM budget notched up to 90MB (real; virtual a smidge higher). And stayed there.

    Closed the window and got one of those Safari memory leak notes. (Not that those are unusual for me.)

    So Adobe optimized its Mac player a different way than it would for a mobile. But if simple functions take this level of resources, why would anybody believe anything short of an XP Netbook could deliver anything credible?

    Here we are, 3 years into the smartphone revolution, what: a hundred million smartphone devices IN USE today, and a handful run Flash badly? The only official one, according to one poster, no longer for sale?

    Are there enough engineers at Adobe to do the fine-tuning that’ll make it practical to tweak Flash for devices in less than the six month model life of a phone today? How long does Moore’s Law have to run before it’ll be possible to drop Flash onto a device — one that has a different GPU, different RAM speeds, different number of cores…, if this is all they’ve done in the many months since they promised full tilt support on Android?

  111. Janet55 Says:

    yeah, I love my iPad, and also need flash though flash is not perfect. So I jailbroken my iPad and installed flash on my iPad, when I found the guide “Install Flash on Your Jailbroken iPad” located in iFunia news blog, now Im so happy with my installed flash iPad, I can enjoy movies from Hulu and YouTube freewheelingly and can open the sites flash-based, and some leading educational products that the interative exercises but the answer engine and the augmented eBook are Flash-based.

  112. LemonadeJoe Says:

    Barney boy, it is called Flash – Sure, the sites have logos all over them. But these sites use flash so when the video or whatever breaks, it doesn’t say ‘youtube crashed’ it says ‘flashplayer crashed’. Get where I’m going with with? And this is on Window7. And bro, just cause I don’t like flash doesn’t mean it’s cause Steve Jobs pissed all over it. It’s cause its a dog. I use Ubuntu – And Adobe calling flash open is a joke, on all of you defending it.

    Show me one open source tool to develop in Flash that supports the same capabilities as Adobe’s tools. I can only find projects that are dead, half done, or only support a subset of features – I can’t find a complete implementation of Flash in anything except Adobe tools.

    It’s a proprietary system, and this is why it’s a dead end. It’s completely controlled by Adobe. Flash is the opposite of open.

  113. Tito Says:

    Hey guys, haven´t you listen to Friedrich Nietzsche? He said a few years ago, “Flash has died”

  114. Andre Richards Says:

    “web builders should be ashamed for letting a closed company/product get monopolistic control over web video”

    Whoa! Hold on there, bud. Let’s point those fingers in the right direction. As one of those “web builders,” a pro for over a decade, I can tell you that I, and those like me, have been opposed to Flash for many, many years–long before the iPhone leaving it behind was ever an issue. But we’re forced into it and the problem goes like this.

    * Advertiser A saw some really cool flashy video ad for a competitor, Advertiser B, on Site X and wants to do something similar on our site, Site Y.

    * The dev team says that the technology used in that is closed and expensive and will bog down load times and blah blah blah…

    * Management can’t quite hear what the devs are saying because it’s so “technical” sounding but they sure can see those big dollar signs the advertising staff is pushing in their face.

    * Management somehow comes under the mistaken impression that Flash is the only and best way to deliver such content and since Site X is doing it for Advertiser B, we should do it to stay competitive.

    * Oh, did I mention the dollar signs?

    * Flash ads appear on Site Y

    * Dev team weeps, gets drunk on the weekend.

  115. vanni Says:

    i don’t have an iPhone or other smartphone, I use clicktoflash ’cause i find most flash sites to be a bore and a waster of my time.

  116. Slice Says:

    How many people really care what piece of code is behind how a media file is played on their phone? I don’t care what happens when I flush the toilet, I just want to see what I put in go down.

    Besides, Adobe bought Macromedia, and Flash, before Microsoft could. Now they are forced to peddle a POS technology because they paid so much for it.

  117. Martini Says:

    @Janet55 Says: Whatever…

    Let me get this straight…

    You bought an iPad knowing that it didn’t support flash and then “jailbroken” it and installed flash so you could…

    a) watch YouTube (which doesn’t even need flash) and…
    b) “freewheelingly” “open the sites flash-based” (I can only guess which French language sites those may have been) and…
    c) perform “interative exercises” with and “answer engine” and “augmented eBooks” which are flash based.

    None of which, I’m guessing, involved preparing for a Mensa test.

    Perhaps you should have just bought a Droid 2 with flash 10.1

    Damn adobe shills…

  118. AlfieJr Says:

    what puzzles me is why so many people seem to be emotionally attached to Flash. it was great when it was new 10 or more years ago and made it possible to do lots of media things on the web for the first time. but nowadays there are other, newer tools, and nothing lasts forever. why cling so tightly to this one, or any one? it is proprietary, and there is certainly nothing special about Adobe to justify the passion.

    sure, if you make a living as a Flash developer, or own Adobe stock, or hate Apple, i can see why. but otherwise?

  119. Chris P. Says:

    @WINKYBOY You said: “The people who don’t care aren’t affected by this decision – except they’ll be puzzled why certain websites or features of the mobile web are unavailable to them.”

    Actually no they are not puzzled. I work with the average iPhone user every day. They ALL know exactly why doesn’t work on their iPhone. They’ll say the phone won’t play flash videos. Then you ask them if that’s a problem and they say no they will just download the necessary app if they want to watch the videos. We all underestimate the average user. Maybe 2 years ago they may have been puzzled. But now they are used to no flash on their iPhones and they frankly don’t care.

    @John Dowdel

    ““Eric in London”, please don’t misrepresent… the biggest cause I’ve seen online of similar differences is when someone was working with one of the recently-publicized hacks instead of an official release. It’s sensible to get that potential cause out of the way before attempting additional troubleshooting.”

    That’s like asking someone who’s been shot if they pointed the gun at themselves and it went it off. It’s not good to assume your customer is the reason for the problem. Even if they are. I hope your not on the Customer Support team at Adobe.

    @Eric in London

    Steve Jobs said at D8 that Apple asked Adobe to show them a stable workable version of Mobile Flash. And they didn’t. Of course Apple definition of a stable product with a good user experience is much different than Adobes. I don’t think for one moment that Apple EVER considered throwing ANY engineering resources at getting flash to work on an iPhone.

    Maybe if Adobe got their butts in gear and had something that was at least half baked before the App store came out then we wouldn’t be commenting on a piece like this.

    I for one can’t wait till I don’t need flash on my desktop and notebook computers. I think Flash might just be the reason for Global warming. At least on Macs.

  120. Jules Says:

    One of the biggest flaws in the article is criticising Flash over the fact old Flash games/apps were not designed for touch-screen interaction, but mouse. How on Earth is that the fault of Flash? If these were developed in some other technology before the smartphone boom, the exact same problem would exist. Ditto for some DHTML sites.

    Flash has it’s failings but recently things have developed into mass hysteria. If there was some logical 1:1 replacement for Flash then that would be fine, but HTML5 only competes well for adverts and though I initially thought HTML5 would be a better choice for video both YouTube and Hulu disagree saying HTML5 is fine for simple media, but not the complex stuff going on behind the scenes with these websites. If you’re coming from a DHTML background then HTML5 seems the bees-knees, but coming from Flash and it’s a major come down.

    As a developer I welcome the more choices for creating content as a good thing. I have already used HTML5 for a couple of things, though am waiting for HTML5 to become more reliable across all the browsers. In fact my main concern is with the increase in the number of browsers – both mobile and desktop – it’s actually became harder to make more complex content consistent across browsers in recent times. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to do a whole site in Flash (mostly only applying to games) then this is one way to get consistency across all devices. I’ll still continue to use Flash too until something better comes along. I certainly won’t be forced to giving it up because of the grudge of some megalomaniac CEO, no matter how many blinkered individuals follow his bullshit. It’s great calling for the death of Flash but what are you going to replace it with? Only Silverlight and Java are really in the same ball park.

    Using a Click2Flash type tool seems best choice if you don’t like Flash. I believe Android also has a setting so that Flash content only activates when you click on it. Why on earth would anybody want to automatically display all the high-bandwidth adverts from a website on a little phone anyway? Having to wait for the content to download will impact your browsing experience as much as any Flash CPU load. Ironically when HTML5 adverts become more common it may not be as easy to disable them!

  121. Mingee Says:

    Wow, John Dowdell ….3rd reply. Your comment makes Adobe look really bad. It’s like you guys are trapped in your own silo over there. Just admit Flash sucks…Insha’Allah

  122. Matt Johnston Says:

    If Adobe is over the dispute with Apple and the iPhone, why not FLOSS the tools and runtime and allow the market to decide. I would be interested in taking the source project, compiling it, signing it and installing it on my iPhone to see how it runs. And then if it is as good as they say, replicating that for friends and family.

    OTOH,if it ain’t a great experience then the market can kill it with fire.

    Flash Lite was an awful experience on my Nokia N800. Flash is a poor experience on my MacBook Pro (and that’s why I run Clock 2 Flash). I expect poor performance but am willing to be proved wrong..

    That aside- we shouldn’t be using Flash for video – it was a hack which served the fact there was no mature cross-platform way to deliver video. Bring it back to it’s roots as a lightweight way to present animation and interactivity on the web and you’ll win me over.

    Continue to accuse users of wrongdoing or bias and it just makes you look like you are losing.

  123. GomGOm Says:

    LOL whoever wrote this is so retarded it’s not even funny. You even know the spec differences of todays high end mobile devices to desktops ? Are you that stupid ? There are like a couple 1 Ghz phones on the market today and most have much less than that. That 1 Ghz CPU won’t let you run any of todays HD flash content anymore than HTML5 HD content.

    The websites needs to be OPTIMIZED. Just as there are iPad version video players for HTML5. Notice I said “iPad version” that means it’s…yes you guessed it, OPTIMIZED for the screen size and whatever limitation of the godamn iPad!!!

    If anything you can turn OFF flash if it slows down your browsing. YOU HAVE THAT CHOICE. Frankly it’s amazing how many sites works well with 10.1. Most of the sites I browsed shows flash content smoothly and I think you had the same experience and just decided to showcase the ones that doesn’t.

    OMFG so much stupidity from a technology content site. Just shut the down and go back to cramming apple’s iDildos.

  124. Gilmore Says:

    HAHAHAHA so much bias from a laptop site. Are you just reviewing apple’s laptop oh oops MacBooks. I know Macbooks aren’t laptops as Macs aren’t PCs.

    Frankly I can’t be bothered to check the rest of this crap site to see what you’re offering. I’m just here to point out that you’re godaweful stupid and that floppy disks died out because of the inception of higher capacity media. Apple doesn’t make anything. They have no factories nor are most the products they sell made in America. They are technology parasites. They rebrand and repackage. Just as recently proven that they rebranded lower capacity batteries and sold them at the same price as higher capacity one from the manufacture that supplies them.

    Sigh so retarded loyalty makes me sick.

  125. Zpok Says:

    I’m reading this on my iPad…
    I am very sad to read my web is broken. Please Steve fix my web!
    ggg One thing doesn’t change: The ability of developers to turn their problems into everybody’s problems.

  126. Tim Says:

    I think the runaway message from the article and Gopi’s subsequent comment is this:

    “You have to optimize for mobile”.

    This not only applies to Flash. It also applies to your html, your css, your javascript, your server cache settings. Hell, even your image compression algorithms. Anyone who thinks that a modern desktop website “just works” on a mobile device is delusional. If you want a knock-out user experience for mobile users, you HAVE to redo you homework.

    Now, knowing you have to rework, what are you going to do? Rework in Flash and exclude iOS users who make up half of all mobile web traffic? Or put your money on HTML5 knowing that Webkit is well on its way to monopolize the mobile browser market?

  127. Andrei Timoshenko Says:


    When it comes to the web, I am an end-user, not a developer so I can only discuss Flash from a usability standpoint rather than one of its technical capabilities. Great to know that Flash can apparently be made not to suck. Unfortunately, out in the wild, I can think of few examples of where Flash made a site better, and plenty of where it makes me want to tear out my hair with frustration. Navigation is almost always a pain, transitions take time to load (for no understandable reason), text is difficult to get at (to give an example I had 5 minutes ago, to get at five addresses so that I could paste them into Google Maps), and if I have a bunch of Flash pages open, it becomes a question of when, rather than if, my (desktop) browser will crash. On the other hand, go to something like Gmail (which as ‘desktop-like’ a web app as one would ever want) and everything ‘just works’.

    If the underlying Flash technology is actually OK, then the overwhelming majority of Flash developers must be total incompetents. Of course, I do not think the latter to be logically justifiable, so the underlying tech must have some major problems. The proof is in the pudding.

  128. Barney Says:

    @LemonadeJoe you can develop Flash without paying a cent for any Adobe software using either Eclipse or my preference FlashDevelop compiling with the free and open source Flex SDK. For building Flash ground up with AS3 these are much better tools than the Flash IDE.

    @Martini, the writer says:
    “I found that, as Steve Jobs said, “Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers.””

    See that’s not “relating my experience”. That’s using uncertainty and ignorance to make your point, kind of lying really. Misleading at best, either way dishonest. It’s not that Flash wasn’t designed for touch, just that one game. Surely you can see that. And thank you for calling my one typo to attention, I typed that whole lot out on my iPhone, cut a guy some slack will you?

  129. Jeff Says:

    In the five years since the Macromedia acquisition, I’ve noticed that designers and nerds have gradually switched sides on the issue of Flash being something we need to care about. That should be of some concern to a company that supposedly caters to creative professionals.

    Adobe has tried to convert what was once a visual design tool for people who didn’t want to write code into a viable application platform. During this long process, they’ve managed to alienate a significant percentage of their users and turn thousands of Macs into space heaters.

    To me, this whole debate has less to do with platform squabbles than it does Adobe’s abandonment of the things that made it great originally.

  130. Billions Says:

    “One of the biggest flaws in the article is criticising Flash over the fact old Flash games/apps were not designed for touch-screen interaction, but mouse. How on Earth is that the fault of Flash?” – Jules

    No, Jules, needing a keyboard or mouse is not being described as “a flaw,” it’s being described as a mismatch that will have to be remedied on a game/interface/site case-to-case basis to meet the capabilities of the newer mobile devices.

    The “flaw” is not with Flash in that argument, the “flaw” is that many will expect this new mobile version of Flash to allow transparent transition over Flash on mobile devices, “Getting the WHOLE internet on your device,” but truthfully, it’s shaping up that new versions of these websites need to be created now ANYWAY, Flash or not, for like you mention, Flash wasn’t ready for all this ‘multi-pinching touchy-swipe’ that is so happening right now.

    Maybe some devs will do just that – rewrite their sites and do whatever it takes to allow it to run on this new mobile version of Flash, but many people feel that HTML5 should be fast-tracked and nurtured to take things to a more efficient, less-proprietary web.

    Adobe could take a big role in it all by releasing some HTML5 tools soon… It might seem early, as not all aspects of HTML5 are standardized, but like they did with Director, Flash, and HTML in the past, they could just roll with the changes and and update their creative apps frequently, with capabilities being added as they are decided on. It will snowball and pick up speed. It’s being determined right now. We all need a company like Adobe to step up instead of shoehorning their older proprietary offering so myopically.

  131. Steven Says:


    No one is saying that anything is the “fault” of Flash. What’s being said is that Adobe has had several years to bring Flash into the 21st Century and continues to fail miserably.

    Also, this article is not about alternatives to Flash, it’s about the fact that 10.1 was promised to be the Holy Grail of a stable Flash platform on mobile devices, and the fact that it has not met the challenge. Just because HTML5 may not quite be ready for prime time doesn’t make Flash any less dead.

  132. Justin Says:

    As always the discussion is all over the place.
    The argument sofar has been that without Flash you won’t get the full experience of the web TODAY.
    The scope of the article as far as I’m concerned is that even with the new Flash version I still won’t get access to the full content of the web TODAY.

    Whatever happens with games, controls or codecs in 6 months isn’t really relevant IMO. Adobe said that with Flash in my mobile device I’d get FULL access to all the Internet TODAY.

    That’s a fail on Adobes part. A solid fail.

    What happens in 6-12 months is a different story which I expect we’ll get back to next year.

  133. Nigel Says:

    I dislike Flash so much I don’t even have it installed on any machine that I use, which only occasionally causes me any trouble (e.g. listening to a track on MySpace or some random video that isn’t on Youtube).

    However, I have a netbook with a touchscreen interface and my 3-year-old loves playing Flash games on a wide variety of educational and entertainment sites (e.g. the BBC’s CBeebies, Disney or Nick Jr). I’ve yet to find a site or game that didn’t work, despite clearly not being designed for touch screen use.

    My biggest problem is the fact that standard netbook screens are rather limited in resolution, particularly vertical and sites are designed for the desktop norm, but I got around that by installing an adblocker that allows me to remove unnecessary sections of the screen to fit more in and using F11 to go to fullscreen. Thank goodness for Firefox and user customisable software.

    Similarly, I consider having Flash on a phone a good point for ordinary, non-techy folk like my wife who just want to access celebrity gossip or news videos on the BBC.

  134. May Says:

    Before you hail html5 as Flash’s successor on mobiles I recommend browsing sites like on an Android phone or iPhone.
    Then decide yourself.

  135. Macman1138 Says:

    “Earth” is a proper noun, a planet where we live.
    Whereas “earth” is simply dirt, soil.

  136. Matt Says:

    I love my Nexus One 3x more since I have Flash. Flash Video makes all the difference for me, as I watch a lot of video on my phone.
    I don’t care for Flash games at all.

  137. Curtis Priest Says:

    As a web development company specializing in heavily interactive websites, I can say unequivocally that HTML5 is not a substitute for Flash. Putting aside the fact that HTML5 is an unfinished spec fraught with its own set of bugs and challenges, it simply does not have anything even close to the feature-set of Flash.

    We build immersive, fullscreen, rich interactive experiences with Flash because our customers demand it due to the positive results it has on their business. You can choose to believe it or not, but people vastly prefer interacting with a well designed Flash site far more than a clunky HTML site. Flash sites are limitless because they start with a blank canvas instead of HTML’s blocky structure.

    But we have no illusion that our Flash sites will run well on mobile devices because the content is very high quality and large in file size. That is why you have to build a separate version for the mobile device, which you really should do for an HTML site as well unless you want to pinch and zoom until your fingers are bleeding.

    Even if Flash mobile performed as badly as you say (which from the evidence I have seen elsewhere that doesn’t appear to be the case), the real holy grail here is that developers will now have the ability to develop incredibly immersive and engaging content in Flash for mobile users that matches the branding of the desktop version. Having desktop Flash content run properly is just a bonus, and one that I’m sure Adobe will perfect over time. This is a .1 release afterall…

  138. Jim H Says:

    Smartphones are of their nature limited in processor and limited in voltage, yet you want to run software on it that only runs decently on full-bore desktop machines. I think a lot of people are making the same mistake that Ballmer is making about putting Windows on tablets. You can’t squeeze Flash, with all of its programming fat, on a much smaller processor with less RAM. I mean, you can try, but there goes the battery, there goes CPU usage.

  139. Jodo Kast Says:

    Your mobile device does not have the CPU power or RAM to run Flash videos.

    But other Flash works fine. Might want to keep your expectations more reasonable next time?

    As a Flash developer for many years, Flash on mobile devices works fine: just remember your mobile has no power or RAM to really do anything like video.

  140. omnibot80 Says:

    The point is though, whatever your feelings are about flash, you should have the option of installing it on your device either way. Jobs thinks allowing flash leaves too much out of his control and that’s why he doesn’t support it. The recent porting of Flash to jailbroken iPhones show that there IS still demand for it. HTML5 may be able to substitute streaming video and audio, but it can’t protect copyrighted content and doesn’t have all the other capabilities that Flash has.

  141. randle Says:

    I see a pretty much overwhelming consensus among the credible posters that Flash is dead.

    I agree.

    Adobe lies and confuses with its “open”ness myth. Sorry it is closed, and it is dead.

    I developed some stuff in Flash, and gack me with a spoon, it was an awful, awful experience.

  142. Steven Fisher Says:

    There comes a point where it’s time to leave any abusive relationship. That’s where the tech community has been with Flash for about eight years now. It’s taking some longer to realize it, but all those who’s livelihood doesn’t require that they remain oblivious will eventually notice.

  143. Steve Says:

    I can’t help but find it amusing to view the life this debate continues to take on. Without getting into the names behind the comments, there are a few items that I find particularly amusing.

    1. Claims that Flash has run great on Nokia devices since day 1. *rolls eyes*… I wonder how many people see Flash lite and they they’re running “Flash”. It’s clear that these individuals don’t know what they’re talking about.

    2. Claims that full Flash runs great on Android devices. I’ve tried Flash an a Nexus and this article explains the experience on a Droid 2. In both cases, the experience is dismal. Period. If you claim it runs great on your Android device, you probably don’t even realize that you’re viewing HTML 5 based content. Video is choppy, games aren’t designed for touch. Even tasks such as scrolling a simple web page that has Flash ads becomes a frustrating experience. You don’t have to be a Steve Jobs fan to recognize he’s only been proven right to date. Maybe that will change sometime in the future, but given the promise (and lack of progress) of Flash over the past 3+ years, I doubt it.

    3. No, HTML 5 is neither mature nor ubiquitous as Flash is today. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the market is going. Mobile will eventually become larger than the desktop in terms of both users and web presence. For mobile, HTML 5 is in, Flash is out. The desktop will follow as HTML 5 matures. Even though Webkit based browsers are blazing the trail for HTML 5, mass adoption will come after IE 9 (first IE with basic HTML 5 support) becomes common.

    4. As someone mentioned, if there is even a discussion as to whether something is obsolete or not, clearly the writing is on the wall. Flash isn’t obsolete today as there aren’t adequate substitutions for ALL of Flash’s functionality. However, it’s clear that it’s just a matter of time. Further, many people go out of their way to purposely disable Flash. In most cases, this provides a more pleasant browsing experience.

    5. For those arguing that HTML 5 doesn’t allow for variable bandwidth, depending on the connection or device, you might want to look again. It does. DRM is essentially the only issue not addressed there. From a user experience, that’s not a bad thing.

    6. Seemingly everyone argued that not having Flash on your mobile device would be a deal breaker. Based on sales of non-Flash based devices, that would seem to be proven false.

  144. Walt French Says:

    @Steve, nice summary.

    Here’s a user-perspective conclusion of your 6 points: Flash is at least functional on desktops but mostly non-existent on mobile devices. As a user, when I’m trying to visit a site that depends on Flash — especially for their splash screen home page— I have to wonder why they don’t cater to the approximately 100 million mobile users who can’t even get their hours, today’s menu, previous projects, whatever they sell.

    Even if 30% of smartphones sold in the next 12 months were to be Flash-capable, the reviewed quality indicates that most users will use blockers most of the time, and when they DO opt for Flash, they will be overwhelmed by obscenities such as DanielNYC.Com, and still turn away frustrated (full-screen photos of Chef fooling around with oysters, while “Reservations” is a tiny part of the screen). So the sites will be speaking a language that fewer than one user in six will understand.

    Flash might be useful for all sorts of things, but for reaching 2010’s mobile user, it’s simply irrelevant. Probably also true in 2011. I dunno about the rest of you, but I have a life to get on with; since 2007 it has increasingly included mobile devices instead of paper- or desktop-based tools. Promises of something capable next year just aren’t interesting today. I’m sure glad MY business didn’t have to suspend business for 5 years because my tech vendor was twiddling its thumbs.

  145. Darwin Says:

    I have zero interest in Flash on a mobile device. I will block it on my Droid X just like I do on my desktop PC’s and Mac’s. it’s slow, resource heavy, and a security sieve. Adobe has wasted years making it more top heavy in an effort to have a proprietary development environment. What they have instead is a mess and a lot of user dissatisfaction.

  146. Darwin Says:

    “Jobs thinks allowing flash leaves too much out of his control and that’s why he doesn’t support it. The recent porting of Flash to jailbroken iPhones show that there IS still demand for it”

    Fail. Jobs knows Flash is a mess and the number one cause of crashes on OS X. He knows it uses a silly amount of resources, especially battery on a mobile device. He knows he does not want Apple devices dependent on working with Flash “developers” crummy “apps”. Many other companies have said the same and that HTML 5 is the way forward including Google. Yes they are giving lip service to flash as an android differentiator right now but they have steadily maintained that HTML 5 is the future. Which is why so much of You Tube is now HTML 5 based.

    You think because provided a convoluted method for running Flash on an iPhone that it means people want it? No. It means someone did it because they could. The existence of all the flash blocker apps on the other hand really means something. It’s real easy to whine about Jobs when you don’t know what you are talking about and are somehow completely unaware of all the push towards HTML 5 from so many other companies and individuals.

  147. Marcus Says:

    The loudest voices in the camp defending Flash and attacking Apple, above and beyond all sanity, belong to Flash-only “web developers” that see the writing on the wall, but want to continue gouging their clients for platform-limited, inaccessible, opaque, inflexible, inefficient, expensive, whizzy tat.

  148. Darwin Says:

    “Having desktop Flash content run properly is just a bonus, and one that I’m sure Adobe will perfect over time. This is a .1 release afterall…”

    They have been working on it for four or five years and this is what they came up with. You want to give them another four or five? How about twenty years? Think they can do it then?

  149. AlfieJr Says:

    three points that are plain fact:

    1. after all these years full Flash still sucks on desktop Macs. there is no excuse for that, and Macs now dominate the high end of the market.
    2. at the moment full Flash does not “just work” on mobile devices. it “maybe works”. there is an excuse for this, but it is still not good enough.
    3. with its rapidly growing iOS user base, Apple is successfully forcing all websites targeting its premium market to offer no-Flash mobile-optimized alternate sites that do “just work.” or offer iOS apps (which can address any DRM needs) that work even better.

    for the 95% of the market that are consumers, not techies, “just works” is the standard. add all this up and the future prognosis for Flash is bleak. Adobe’s fatal mistake was blowing off the Mac market several years ago.

  150. James Says:

    @omnibot80 — you wrote:

    “The point is though, whatever your feelings are about flash, you should have the option of installing it on your device either way.”

    No — there is no moral imperative to dictate that you “should” have the option to use or install Flash on whatever device you choose. Companies can manufacture and market devices and software with whatever restrictions they choose, for whatever reasons (so long as those practices are not monopolistic or otherwise illegal). Should I also have the option to play Blu-Ray discs on my DVD player? Or perhaps Nintendo games on my XBox?

    The choice you do have is simple: buy the mobile device you want. If you don’t like that Flash is not supported on iOS, do not buy an iOS device.

    You do not have the right to insist that Apple “should” support Flash on iOS, though.

  151. Chris McKee Says:

    Wow this is trending like crazy across the #html5 tag on twitter; mostly iPhone fan boys and muppets who call themselves web designers yet dont understand the basics like the limitations of html5 and the reason people will continue to use flash. Or that the speed tests show HTML5 video performs the same as Flash.
    You cant expect all flash to operate on platforms they werent designed for; if people write games in HTML5/JavaScript the same would apply. A click is a click; a big fat fingers just not the same.

    Adobe do need to pull their finger out; they have the cash and resources to make flash mobile run quickly and stable. Your average user doesn’t give a rats arse about if its open-source, propriety or made by Satan. They want something that works 99% of the time and doesn’t cause their phone to crash.

    This article just reads like a half arsed pile of opinion rather then anything of real value, and should be regarded as such.

  152. Phil Says:

    Seriously, why is it that when I play flash video on my MBP the laptop feels like it’s on fire??? Flash is the ONLY video player that does that!

  153. Billy O Says:

    This might not be the right forum but here goes. If you use a Mac and have for many years you would have a better understanding of Jobs frustration with Adobe and its development of Flash. When Apple made the shift from the “classic” Mac OS to Mac OS X with it unix underpinnings Apple needed it software developers to support them through this big change. Adobe’s software like Illustrator and Photoshop was originally developed for the Mac and a very large percentage of its customers used Macs as graphic artist in the desktop publishing industry of the 90’s. When Apple was in trouble in the mid 90’s Adobe developed Windows versions of its software however a disproportionate amount of its customer base were still using Macs.

    When jobs returned to Apple with the purchase of Next and it’s Nextstep OS a modern OS would be developed to replace the aging Mac OS. Adobe refused to re-write it’s programs to run native on Mac OS X, in fact a truly native version only arrive recently. When Jobs said Apple does not want to be captive to another company’s development schedule this is the reason. Apple informed Adobe on the development of iPhone and was is now call iOS. It has been three years since the original iPhone launch and there is still not a mobile version of Flash that most people can agree does what it should (the author of this article found it lacking).

  154. Billy O Says:

    One more thing. If use have ever used a Mac you will find that the absolute number one reason for a crash can be linked to Flash. Adobe had pretty much ignored the Mac platform in regards to providing a stable version of the Flash plugin. Apple headed by Jobs is not the same company of the late 90’s, today Apple is mobile device giant it is Adobe’s mistake not to recognize this and keep such an important client happy. Adobe’s purchase of Macromedia did a few things, it eliminated its only serious competition, gave it ownership of Flash, and forced Adobe to keep Flash “the standard” for as long as possible so a profit is returned on such an investment. Adobe bought a farm with fruit already ripe on the trees, now they just have to sell of the harvest before it all rots away.

  155. Rorison Meadows Says:

    Wow, I wish I could just publish articles to attract fanboys. But then again, I have a bit more pride than to side myself with people that know jack shit about technology (fanbois).

    Flash > YOU

  156. Rick Janes Says:

    Thanks for updating this post with videos, which clearly shows how far from a “fail” Adobe Flash is. All you wanted is grabbing the headlines and you did with this article title. Congrats. Laptop Magazine has its 15 minutes of fame.

  157. Rick Janes Says:

    Why are HTML5 non-optimized websites not shot down like this? I don’t see the difference, besides the fact that i have the Flash option, and I could use it on my phone if I want to.

  158. Peter Herz Says:

    Dead on arrival? Oh please. Its all propaganda perpetuated by power groping tech moguls like Jobs.
    Flash is awesome in of itself, will continue to be esp. with Adobe behind it, and no matter how geeky of a writer you think yourself to be until a decade of failure in an HTML 5 age has passed will I believe Flash’s day has ‘come and gone’ .. hahaha. Long live Flash and HTML 5 coeval!

  159. Dan Says:

    I’m happy to see that other people are flaming you.

    Flash for Android is not awesome, but this is a mobile phone. Apple dumped it on the iPad! Which, at $500 bones, should be somewhat capable as a personal computer.

    Flash is not a selling point for Android really, but it is quite serviceable.

    Take ny company website for example. The gallery doesn’t work at all on Apple devices. It works quite well on an Android device.

    We use the iPad for presentations, it would be very nice if the site worked on the iPad.

    For us, transferring the gallery to HTML is an expense we would rather not have.

  160. Avram Piltch Says:


    FWIW, most of the videos on are in Flash. We use Flash in several internal tools that we use here too. I’d like it to succeed. What I said is:

    A. B/c of Apple’s refusal to support Flash on iOS, many sites are being forced to support HTML 5 or other solutions.

    B. A major benefit of mobile Flash is compatibility with desktop sites, but unfortunately some popular sites and applications don’t work or don’t work well.

    C. When sites with Flash offer a poor experience on mobile, you may get confusing errors (ABC) or general sluggishness (Fox), without any warning. Phone users, who aren’t as tolerant of bugs as computer users, may be confused and not understand what’s going on. As a computer geek and sometime programmer, I understand that bugs are a part of the richness of technology, but my mother the Droid user might not be so patient when she tries to play an episode of Hell’s Kitchen and can’t hit the pause button. She won’t know or necessarily care whose fault it is or why she had a bad experience.

    D. In order to make their sites work well in mobile Flash, content providers like Fox and ABC will have to make technical changes to the way they show video. While they are considering the time and expense of these changes, they will inevitably think about other solutions that work both on iOS and on other mobile operating systems at the same time. I think many of them will do what South Park studios has done and YouTube has done in offering non-Flash players to all mobile users instead of creating mobile Flash for Android users, regular Flash for desktop users, and HTML 5 for iOS users.

    E. Assertions C and D are bad for the future of Flash as a platform.

  161. Scott Says:

    We were asked to purchase iPads for two high up management people. I mentioned my concern about Flash not being supported up front. The first complaint I received was the confusion that a Yahoo video would not display – yes, it was Flash.

    I use a Nexus One. For EVERYTHING I have used it for, Flash has performed well.


  162. iCrizzo Says:

    @Scott: Yahoo has switched to HTML5 video playback the same as Vimeo and Youtube now do, so you might want to go back and tell your “management people” that your made a error in your assessment!

  163. Chris Says:


    Scott hardly made an error. Not all video content prepped for HTML 5’s video tag works on an iPad btw and here’s the kicker, video content has to be optimized for the iOS platform in order for it to play properly.

  164. KFDODGERFAN Says:

    All the Jobs haters say, “I don’t care if the experiences is cruddy. I want the choice to be able to view the cruddy flash sites.”

    And I want to play free flash games! Nevermind that I can’t really play them on my mobile phone. And the 1000s of free games that I can get in the app store aren’t enough!

    What’s also not mentioned is that flash developers, as far as I can tell, haven’t done a thing to take advantage of all the new tech recently done for mobile devices. Touch screen, multi touch controls, accelermeter, gyroscope, retina screens, multiplayer, etc. While 1000s of app, free and otherwise, have.

  165. Darren Says:

    @iCrizzo, no the error is yours. YouTube have stated quite clearly that HTML5 is not a replacement for Flash:

    @everyone else,

    1. Anyone can read the Flash spec and build a Flash Player. This has been the case since 2007.
    2. Anyone can create a Flash movie (SWF) with free, easily-available tools.
    3. The Flash Player on Evo and Droid is not a beta. It’s the final 10.1 release. It was released to mobile partners on June 22nd.
    4. The videos on and stream fine on the Nexus One. I would suggest that the author check his 3G/WiFi connection.
    5. Flash means you can encode with one codec (H.264) and reach all browsers and all devices (using a HTML5 fallback). A HTML5-only solution means that you need to encode with at least different codecs and even then you can’t serve video to IE.
    6. When it comes to animations and games, HTML5 is roughly the equivalent of Flash Player 6 and uses similar CPU and battery. I don’t understand why people can’t see that Flash uses a lot of CPU because it takes a lot of processing power to render a complex game/animation. If you only want to play Pong, Flash won’t tax your CPU at all.

    I could go on…

  166. Anthony Stauffer Says:

    I’m surprised that anyone, even Adobe, believes that Flash will ever provide a consistent experience from desktop to mobile. Over it’s lifespan, flash has grown from a simple vector animation plugin, to a massively featured technology, capable of doing many things a desktop application can.

    Trying to create a consistent experience across devices with flash is no less of a task than trying to do the same for desktop applications, and for many of the same reasons. The universe of flash content includes everything from flash banner ads to full fledged applications, dependent on the same input mechanisms, screen sizes, processing power, and memory that desktop applications depend on.

    That’s why we have the mobile app stores, and why some desktop applications have mobile companions. Desktop application creators have never assumed that their apps would run on mobile devices, without modification.

    So the idea that Adobe could create a mobile version of flash that provides any level of consistency with the desktop browsers, is absolute rubbish. That just can’t be done. The only hope for anything close to that lies in the hands of the creators of flash content. The burden is on them to create mobile optimized versions of any swf that involves anything other than simple click functionality.

    At it’s very best, a mobile version of flash will never work with a gigantic amount of content out there, content that won’t be updated, won’t be optimized, and will just create confusion and frustration for consumers who believed that their phone would be able to see the ‘whole’ web because it had flash.

  167. joy Says:

    Sorry but seems like you don’t have a clue about anything and your article is actually silly.

    Did you ask yourself WHY when you saw some content it ran smoothly and some other content didn’t?
    That’s because the majority of flash developers don’t know how to code in flash, they are “improvised”
    developers who write bad code that runs like crap while others DO know and write good code that runs
    The same goes for video encoding of course, some people know how to do it properly, some other
    people just don’t.

    So it’s not really adobe’s fault, being flash deployment uncontrolled (unlike apple’s appstore) everyone
    can do pretty much everything.

    So there you have it.

  168. Richard Says:

    Not a flash fan but for me the flash/froyo combo has been impressive. The sites I’ve used so far work very well for me. Sure if you click a 1080p movie its gonna get messy but i fail to see why adobe is taking the blame for that.

    Im sure there will be better things out there soon but for the moment flash is a nice addition to my phone.

  169. Jack Says:

    Thank God HTML5 will be so much faster…

  170. Teh Says:

    @Eric in London

    That guys N900 is NOT Symbian. Its Maemo Linux, and it supports full flash 9.4, and maybe one day Flash 10.

    Don’t assume N series is all Symbian!

  171. bigdoug Says:

    This is why I hate blogs sometimes. People take the opinion of ONE MAN and make it out to be factual news.

    “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”

    These are his exact words. If he really believes this why title the blog post “Mobile Flash Fail”?? DESPITE HIS PROBLEMS with flash, he still values the ability to browse the web with your phone to view flash content unavailable on an Apple mobile device. But he gives the blog post a negative title why? For shock value and to gain readership. LAME.

  172. bigdoug Says:

    There are plenty of websites built with HTML/CSS that suck horribly on mobile. Why are we not all saying HTML sucks? Because Steve Jobs hasn’t said it first?

    You’re viewing content not optimized for mobile and it looks bad and you turn around and cry the technology sucks? Nonsense.

  173. honkj Says:

    I wonder why it is so hard for people to believe Steve jobs on this, he had nothing against Flash, he literally asked adobe 5 years ago for a stable version so he could use it with the upcoming iPhone… even now 5 years later, flash literally is a piece of crap on mobile… period. Steve Jobs does not do “crap”… second period….

    HTML5 works unbelievably well, and 65% of the real content on the internet is already on HTML5… and the other 35% is quickly converting… …

    and as an added bonus, you don’t have to deal with the horrific Flash adds that annoy the hell out of people…. Adds don’t annoy, FLASH ADDS annoy, it is like, to be a flash designer, you have to first enter a school of massively bad taste, to learn how to really alienate the very people you are trying to attract…

    flash is dead on mobile, People (who even know what it is) just don’t know it yet…

    the general populous doesn’t care about flash, they just want to go to and watch video’s which they can on the iPhone with no delay… no lockups… no “links to adds” in the video…. they want an ABC app that does video correctly… which they have with the iPhone….

    ABC does it correctly, and a lot of other sites are taking notice…

    65% OF ALL REAL CONTENT IS ALREADY CONVERTED TO HTML5, the rest will convert quickly, when they see customers having trouble on their android phones…

  174. honkj Says:

    ——– There are plenty of websites built with HTML/CSS that suck horribly on mobile ————

    you obviously don’t know what you are talking about… i love all these people who claimed to own an iPhone, or know how the iphone interacts with the web….. not a single person WHO ACTUALLY OWNS and is using an iPhone has ever complained about a website using HTML5 and CSS3… EVER… that is because they are both designed for the real mobile, the kind that Apple showed the world about…. geez man, catch a clue…. seriously.

    show us a site that is using HTML5 and CSS3 that doesn’t work with the iphone… i dare you.

  175. honkj Says:

    —— This is why I hate blogs sometimes. People take the opinion of ONE MAN ——–

    ONE MAN??? someone hasn’t actually used 10.1… the people who have, are of the same opinion… including the engineers who developed Flash for mobile… even they admit Flash 10.1 crashes and locks up, or just plain does not work on many many many sites….

    catch a clue please, and do some research, show us what this ONE MAN got wrong….

  176. honkj Says:

    —— But he gives the blog post a negative title why? ——–

    you obviously didn’t read the blog then??? the only part that was positive was the statement that atleast they tried… well Steve Jobs ASKED THEM TO TRY…. FIVE FREAKING YEARS AGO…. and they still haven’t gotten it… that is why STeve Jobs abandoned flash, for the same reason that this author found, Flash for mobile, literally sucks, 5 years after Steve jobs begged Adobe to fix it, to make it work… he would have used it… but… Steve Jobs doesn’t do “suck”

    when you are finished waking up with the rest of the world… remind yourself of what you just wrote…

  177. honkj Says:

    ———- Take ny company website for example. The gallery doesn’t work at all on Apple devices. It works quite well on an Android device. ————–

    really, Flash 10.1 is just now finally shipping, (still really beta) meaning most to nearly all Android devices do not have it… yet you claim that those same Android devices that don’t have the real Flash for mobile, 98% of them, are going to work just fine for your gallery??????

    face it, you have to write so your Gallery supports Flash 10.1 now, which is quite a lot of work… and also HTML5, which is quite a lot of work ontop of that… or you could just do HTML5, and it will work for both Android and iPhone… tough choice….

    gee, i wonder why 65% of your fellow website developers, have already chosen HTML5…. tough choice indeed…

    no HTML5 doesn’t support a DRM yet…. thank god, seems to make good money without DRM…. no HTML5 doesn’t support in video links… thank god, no annoying ads in video…. that pretty much sums up what HTML5 can’t do yet….

    so let me get this straight, i don’t have to deal with DRM yet, or in video links to annoying ads if i instead chose only HTML5… geesh man, where do i sign up…… and as an added bonus, i don’t have to see all those annoying stand alone flash ads… heck, i’d pay for that….

    there are a ton of Flash blockers for your PC…. gee, why is there a market for that????? HELLO??????

  178. John C. Bland II Says:

    Here you go:

    Proof…meet pudding. I did this just for you Avram and all of the Flash-haters on here who obviously haven’t tried it.

    Understanding some experiences will be better than others. I’m purely showing Jobs was wrong.

  179. Avram Piltch Says:

    @John C. Bland II,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m glad it’s working better on your phone than it did on the three different phones we tried in two different locations. On one occasion, we experienced what you did in the sense that it played well after buffering, but it rebuffered every 20 seconds or so – so that was not good. Perhaps Fox improved the stream over the past few days. Perhaps you have a really, really good connection there. I’m not a Flash hater; I want it to work well so glad to see that. I own an Android phone and want to watch videos on it!

    I think the challenge for Flash is much bigger than one site. It’s a challenge that exists even if Flash worked well everywhere (which it does not work well everywhere), because content providers have to support the iOS. For that reason, they have to support HTML 5 or another non-Flash means of serving rich content. For that reason alone, I think mobile Flash was in trouble before it even launched. But then you look at the results and see several sites that need to be optimized (aka reworked) for mobile Flash. While those providers are reworking their content, they have to ask themselves “do I rework this for mobile Flash or do I go with another solution that also works on iOS?”

  180. John C. Bland II Says:

    Avram, several commenters are “haters”. I didn’t refer to you because you obviously tried it and it failed. My point is Jobs was not right. So you had a bad experience, or three as you say. I haven’t one 3 different Evo’s. I don’t have any others to test but all 3 Evo’s, in different locations (4G and wifi) work with many types of videos (not just Fox). The article may point to you not having a great experience but it does not mean Jobs was right, at all.

    Incorrect, again. They do not have to rework for Flash on mobile. That’s the whole point. DVR? Works. Variable bitrate? Works.

    I work with media providers and they know you cannot push an “HD” (2 meg+) stream to a mobile phone. Well, you can but why try? Some desktops can’t handle it. Even on a prominent media provider they encode multiple streams for THEIR IPHONE CLIENT and their web. They know mobile is different.

    So, your points are understandable but not real world based. Mobile = lower end computers. Desktop = higher end computers, most of the time. Nothing has changed. If you want to reach the masses, provide multiple bitrates and push to them accordingly. This is an agnostic “rule” for streaming media.

    For simple progressive videos, HTML 5 will fill that void, happily. For streaming…it has a long ways to go.

    I hope that all makes sense.

  181. John C. Bland II Says:

    oops…that was supposed to say “I haven’t on 3 Evo’s” not “…haven’t one…”.

    And yes…I do have a nice connection here. I’ll do a test and post another comment in a sec for comparison. Would you mind testing your wifi speed on your phone(s)?

  182. John C. Bland II Says:

    3.07 Mbps down
    6.80 Mbps up (that’s odd but ok; lol)

    That’s not beefy at all considering my desktop (same network) gets 26+ regularly.

  183. jads Says:

    Wow such a flash advocate. Well maybe it works on linux, but Flash does not work well on my work PC an HP EliteBook 8530w, it doesn’t work well on my home computer (MacPro, 2006), it does not work well on my Nokia phone. On the phone i’ve disabled flash to have a usable web experience.

    I vote for flashfree web 2011, to help kill flash i’ve orderd an iPhone 4 should be receive it today.

    @artikle, yes Steve Jobs helped in killen the disketts, aslo he helped killing the real floppy disk with the Mac in 1984 and gave favor for todays disketss which he helped to kill in 1998. SJ both gave life to the current “floppy” disk, and killed it.

  184. Web Developer Says:

    I have a new HTC EVO with Flash and everything works smoothly. I have three other friends with the same phone and they are seeing everything in Flash too. Maybe the author should revisit his test?

    I would also like to comment on all the claims for HTML5 being the future. First, as others have pointed out, HTML5 is not on par with Flash. I say that as a developer using both Flash and HTML5. HTML5 is at best capable of what Flash was doing in 2004. Granted it will evolve, but so will Flash, and I’m guessing that Adobe is more nimble than the Web Standards crowd. To those making claims that HTML5 is on par with Flash or that it is a Flash killer, you only show your ignorance. To the author of the piece who is arguing that developers will have to choose between HTML5 and Flash for their future development, you are showing yourself as not really being a part of the Web development industry. I don’t know any interactive agencies that are having that discussion. Most of them know that if the client needs higher levels of interactivity and streaming/DRM rights for their video then there simply is no choice but Flash. There are many clients that will talk to us about HTML5 and the iPhone, but when we show them a list of what is capable with HTML5 versus Flash–they get it, and then we negotiate about what they really want. So far, they are continuing to pick Flash for their interactive needs. In the end, this is what Web Developers are supposed to do. We take client needs and help them reach their goals. What tool we use is not the issue–the issue is what works and what works best.

    HTML5 is only a mark-up language. It is still powered by Javascript which is not a true object-oriented language and is slow. Anyone who does serious development/programming knows the difference and understands what it means in development time and capabilities. Apple itself is not that excited about HTML5. It wants developers to use Objective C and the app store.

    Finally, Wired just carried an article proclaiming the death of the Web. They may be right (although I hope not). The RESTful architectures that have supported the Web up to now (and which HTML5 relies heavily on) may not be robust enough for the new mobile revolution. Native client apps and binary data formats may be the future that is needed for lower powered mobile devices. If that becomes the case, HTML5 won’t have much to offer.

  185. kameko Says:

    the only people who seriously care about flash anymore are flash developers who wasted years learning a tool thats going to be obsolete soon enough.

  186. Web Developer Says:


    Obviously you’re not a web developer.

  187. John C. Bland II Says:

    @kameko (tailing off @Web Developer’s remark to you)
    …or a parent who’s child enjoys a site with Flash on it.

  188. Tommy Says:

    @kameko: on the contrary, people with serious chips on their shoulder about Apple also seem suddenly to care deeply about Flash.

  189. Ooostl Says:

    I just got flash on original droid, oh my god, unless it’s a mobile site, the scrolling is sooo slow, and the videos always pop up as not optimized for mobile……’s trash and rediculas. Flash is falling, html5 is gaining. If you could just go use a flash enabled phone…’d see how rediculasly unessisary it is…..also with more mobile devices taking over….people don’t care about flash anymore….flash = software made for clunky old pc. I have an android phone…and an iPad. The phones flash is soooo dumb and nearly works….ipads html5 is flawless. Enough said.

  190. E Smith Says:

    I’m not a developer…but, doesn’t the iPhone have to support flash at least in some way…isn’t YouTube Flash based? Am I missing something here?

  191. Filippo Gregoretti Says:

    Sometimes I have the feeling to live in a madhouse…
    why everybody needs to be so emotional on this? Did society really succeed in making us always divided in 2 factions?
    Technology is evolving, as it always did…
    Why are you trying to use every flash based site on a device, and complaining they do not work?
    Did you try to install Maya or 3DS Max on a netbook?
    Did you try to use final cut pro on an apple tv?
    Flash allowed us to HAVE youtube… Flash allowed us to play online games. Flash allowed us to do all sort of cool thing and re-think the web.
    Now things are evolving, so video can be seen with normal html tags, I see that as an achievement… Its fantastic, if you want, when all browsers will be able to do it, to use a video tag just like an img tag! But plugins are evolving too…
    Why this hate towards flash?
    Is it an underlying envy from javascript developers because serious experienced actionscript/flex developers are paid triple rate?
    The world is NOT ajax. The world is ajax, flash, silverlight, .net, native apps, etc. etc. etc.
    Every technology benefits from each other.
    We can all learn one from another.
    I do not hate anybody. Only Apple fanboys and ajax adepts hate flash… I still don’t know why… but I suspect: envy.

  192. polarcoyote Says:

    As an FYI, I can’t view videos on my Win XP box because I don’t allow the multiple domain requests the videos do behind the scenes. According to my firewall, a typical episode of Castle hits 10-20 domains. Many flash based sites have the same issue. The droid may not be able to keep up with the volume of background requests.

  193. Kevin Says:

    Avram, i just did some testing on my Droid X running 2.2 and i am experiencing different results.

    1) – I watched House. Played within 10 seconds, but the audio was ~1 second behind in lag.
    2) – Watched Modern Family – initial intro played but commercial froze it.

    1) – I watched House again – Played within 10 seconds, and audio was perfect
    2) – Watched Modern Family again – Played intro, commercial fine but video was very choppy. low fps

    There are some differences between websites and the way they encode their video, serve their video, optimize, etc. You can argue that Flash 10 is not the exact experience to a desktop, but it is excellent in my opinion. is a great example from my experience. I’m not tied to flash, in fact i hate/despise flash for anything other than serving multimedia and advertising and other very, very limited uses.

    Flash is a huge success on the Android. And until HTML5 is in full swing, its a huge win for Android and Flash.

  194. Avram Piltch Says:


    Thanks for trying this. It’s possible that these sites updated to be more friendly to mobile users since I wrote this post. If I were Fox or ABC, I certainly would have changed my videos to accommodate mobile flash users. I’ll have to try them again. Also, I was testing on the Droid 2 and Droid original as Droid X didn’t have Froyo at that time.

    However, my point was and is that sites would have to change their videos to work with mobile flash, which means a lot of content will not be compatible right off the bat and some will never be adapted to Flash at all.

  195. Kris Says:

    Give me a call when HTML5 gets out of draft state.

    Adobe Flash has and continues to compensate for the drawbacks of other so called “better” technologies.

    P.S. There was more propaganda in the “Thoughts on Flash” Jobs authored than fact. Wake up people!

  196. Ed Says:

    Adobe has been pushing this substandard product (Flash) down our throats for years – and as people have commented – they just don’t get *nix – period.

    Why? Because it never was really commercially viable, and they aren’t benevolent fellows – they left the *nix community out to dry.

    Flash is dead me old hearties. It is soooo 90’s. I for one will not weep.

  197. Brendan G Says:

    Hey guys!

    Go ahead and build it all in html 5 if you want to. If you want to use java go ahead! You are free to build it in whatever language or technology you like! I will use flash and build it in a fraction of the time you do. Bad flash is bad, bad java is bad and bad html is just shocking. This is all about control and i say %^&^& control and don’t tell me what I can or can’t use even if your name is Steve Jobs. Oh Ed I installed ubuntu 10.10 the other day and got a dialogue that said something like “invoke?”. WTF go and bash someone elses technology and maybe spend the energy on the latest thing called UX! Sorry my bad, Ubuntu is probably below you! Go and bash substandard Ubuntu!

  198. says Says:

    Damn all those geeks ‘i-love-my-iphone-need-to-prove-jobs-is-right’… Flash won’t die because you have HTML-5 or iphone don’t allowed it… Adobe is smart enough to make their move not to torment their products.. goodluck to Apple and HTML-5, Flash is more than 10yrs ahead with HTML-5… and still this HTML-5 facing a lot of issue from its BETA

  199. truth Says:

    valid argument but see the problem was that you used a droid 2. frankly all android phones that arent galaxy s or desire hd or tegra are pieces of shit. All the sites that froze up the droid 2 ran smoothly on my underclocked galaxy s

  200. bruce Says:

    I totally agree with Filippo Gregoretti Says. Everything is evolving. when html5 can achieve these cool stuffs like flash is doing for so many years, then it flash will also be making amazing stuffs in the same time.

    Surely flash will leave this these to html5, and move to the next level and help make a better web.

  201. tangchangcheng Says:

    I would also like to comment on all the claims for HTML5 being the future. First, as others have pointed out, HTML5 is not on par with Flash. I say that as a developer using both Flash and HTML5. HTML5 is at best capable of what Flash was doing in 2004. Granted it will evolve, but so will Flash, and I’m guessing that Adobe is more nimble than the Web Standards crowd. To those making claims that HTML5 is on par with Flash or that it is a Flash killer, you only show your ignorance. To the author of the piece who is arguing that developers will have to choose between HTML5 and Flash for their future development, you are showing yourself as not really being a part of the Web development industry. I don’t know any interactive agencies that are having that discussion. Most of them know that if the client needs higher levels of interactivity and streaming/DRM rights for their video then there simply is no choice but Flash. There are many clients that will talk to us about HTML5 and the iPhone, but when we show them a list of what is capable with HTML5 versus Flash–they get it, and then we negotiate about what they really want. So far, they are continuing to pick Flash for their interactive needs. In the end, this is what Web Developers are supposed to do. We take client needs and help them reach their goals. What tool we use is not the issue–the issue is what works and what works best.

  202. mossberg 500 accessories Says:

    Just a side thought, but maybe if Adobe came to them with a light-weight Flash player that actually provided the exact experience it does on desktop machines (maybe I should say Windows desktop machines?) then Apple would probably reconsider its stance. Apple’s already got the hottest handset in the world without Flash, Adobe proprietary technology will do nothing to advance Apple’s platform, so why would they care?

  203. FlashDeveloper Says:

    Alright I’ve been a Flash developer for a very long time. I remember hosting my first flash site in GEOCITIES. (yes I’m that old) Back when Flash can be compiled as a Java Applet (Yes that long ago…) I have developed very complex Web Applications And Games with it…

    So would I want flash on my browser?

    What flash is used for is rather silly.
    -It is used for displaying interactive and obnoxious Ads. (yes shoot the duck )
    -It is used for WORTHLESS page navigation (Something flash wasn’t intended to do. Which I am guilty of delving in back in the days)
    -Flash was geared as an Vector Based Animator’s tool. It is still better for that. It is FAR superior to SCV (This is a moot argument SCV is vector animation for NERDS and not ARTISTS )
    -Used for Playing Video ( This is stupid. Why should I have a middle ware on-top of my browser to play video? Letting my Device’s media player do this is a SUPERIOR choice ) This is akin to having a Player on a Player so you can Watch a video in a video.

    I don’t need to see some douchebag’s attempt at making a Video player UI. This is old hat. No point in re-inventing the wheel. So yeah My stance is Flash should NEVER be used for video playback it is Retarded an INEXCUSABLE.

    There really is NO reason to have Flash on ANY mobile device. May it be Android or iPhone.

    Adobe is trying to push Flash as a new developer platform for Game Development.

    Sorry but Flash games are inferior in performance and in playability. I have never heard of a decent AAA Flash game. But there are Millions of Faster, Graphically superior games in the Apple Store. The most you will see are badly made Porn games and really crude RPG’s. The “Real” web is full of garbage.

    I have made the switch from a long time ( 6 years? ) of Flash development into REAL software development. With a real 3D engine a Real programming language (none of this AS3 Bytecode inferior bullshit )

    If you want games Dont look for it in Flash. Even after Flash 11 is released with 3D acceleration the boat has already sailed. We don’t need a middleware on a browser to eat away at my device’s battery just so it can pretend it’s some kind of Native APP. I would rather take Native API performance over an Emulated Byte-code Virtual Environment ANY DAY.

    Time to END this argument. Flash is shit on mobile and will be for a very long time.

  204. honkj Says:

    just so everyone is clear on their comments… please read through them again…. and then see what what was predicted to happen by Jobs, and what really happened…

    as of tomorrow, August 15, 2015… flash is no more on mobile… and soon, the internet as a whole… because if you can’t play it on an iPad… you need to pack up and take your ball home…

    again, Jobs had nothing against flash, if it worked… it simply just did not work…. yet no one will remember all these comments about how Jobs wasn’t doing it out of pure functionality….

    read the comments for just a little remembering of the typical comments from way back when…

    “anyone who seriously believes that Jobs is honestly dismissing Flash from a qualitative standpoint and not because he wants all video on the Internet to be mp4/QuickTime instead of the predominant Flash video is living in la-la-land”

    actually jobs HONESTLY dismissed flash from a qualitative standpoint…. proof is in the pudding now….

  205. Blood Brothers android hack Says:

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop,
    just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad
    is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  206. google Says:

    When some one searches for his essential thing, thus he/she wants to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

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