Mobile Flash Fail: Weak Android Player Proves Jobs Right

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I'm the last person on earth who wanted to believe Steve Jobs when he told Walt Mossberg at D8 that "Flash has had its day." I took it as nothing more than showmanship when Jobs shared his thoughts on Flash and wrote that "Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices." After spending time playing with Flash Player 10.1 on the new Droid 2, the first Android 2.2 phone to come with the player pre-installed, I'm sad to admit that Steve Jobs was right. Adobe's offering seems like it's too little, too late.

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

To see mobile Flash at its best, I downloaded the Abobe Flash showcase for mobile in the Android Market, a directory of sites the company recommends. There I found a link to the Sony Pictures trailer site, and all of the clips played smoothly at full screen.  I also found links to a number of TV shows that play in Flash, but not always smoothly. An episode of CSI on 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.

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
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.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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  • google Says:

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  • 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,
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  • 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....

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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's trash and rediculas. Flash is falling, html5 is gaining. If you could just go use a flash enabled'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.

  • Tommy Says:

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

  • 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.

  • Web Developer Says:


    Obviously you're not a web developer.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)?

  • 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 has a long ways to go.

    I hope that all makes sense.

  • 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?"

  • John C. Bland II Says:

    Here you go: 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.

  • 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??????

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Jack Says:

    Thank God HTML5 will be so much faster...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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...


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

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