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Android Bug Media Software

Flash On Android Fails To Impress 436

Posted by timothy
from the because-you-have-failed-to-achieve dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Neil McAllister test-drives Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0 and finds its shortcomings too sweeping to be chalked up to beta status. 'The worst part is the player's inconsistent behavior. This gets really frustrating when there's lots of HTML and Flash content mixed on a Web page. The UI turns into a tug-of-war between the browser and the Flash Player, where each touch produces varying effects, seemingly at random,' McAllister writes. 'As far as I could tell, there was one thing and one thing only that the Flash Player for Android 3.0 accomplished successfully. On the stock Android browser, Flash content is invisible, so you don't notice Flash-based advertising. With the Flash Player installed, however, all those ads suddenly appear where once there were none, their animated graphics leaping and scuttling under your fingertips like cockroaches on a dinner tray — some achievement.'"
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Flash On Android Fails To Impress

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  • .... it's just not flashy enough.

    Or is that too Flash-y?

  • The Whole Web! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wsxyz (543068) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:12PM (#35820858)

    With the Flash Player installed, however, all those ads suddenly appear where once there were none, their animated graphics leaping and scuttling under your fingertips like cockroaches on a dinner tray

    Oh so that's what everyone means when they say flash lets you see "the whole web".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Probably.

      Speaking of ads, I was on a site with heavy flash ads, and noticed that Activity Monitor was showing both my CPU cores pegging. I check it out and Chrome's Flash handler was using something like 150% of CPU time.

      The whole web indeed.

      • Re:The Whole Web! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:40PM (#35821232)

        I remember back when I used to run Windows on my laptop, if the battery suddenly dropped 50% in ten minutes I'd go to the task manager and find some minimized Firefox window maxing out a core running some Flash crap. Firefox seems to handle that better these days, or maybe Linux Flash does.

        It really is an evil monstrosity.

      • by BatGnat (1568391)
        Simple, You need more cores, or a cluster...
  • by Twillerror (536681) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:12PM (#35820860) Homepage Journal

    Air and Flex are really where these are useful. Certainly video sites, but most will just have native apps...so yes for the average consumer flash isn't much a bonus over native apps that will of course perform better.

    Remote desktop sharing may or may not use native apps, but there could be some usefulness for some of the "share my desktop" sites out there.

    Gaming has some bonus. Most of the facebook games are Flash based. So all those Facebook games that this guy probably doesn't play will work....many of them of course will port to natives...I guess it just gives Android a bigger app number.

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      So all those Facebook games that this guy probably doesn't play will work...

      Unless they have any kind of mouseover interface. And if the flash content that he did try didn't work properly, why do you expect Facebook games will be any different even if they don't use mouseover? They aren't all that reliable even in Internet Explorer (I don't use it, but my friend that plays facebook games does).

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Have you tired it? I find almost no flash games work with Flash on Android. It really is very iffy at best.

  • Were Apple right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Computershack (1143409) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:12PM (#35820864)
    Ever wonder why Apple didn't want to put Flash support on the iPhone? It would appear to have been a shrewd move.
    • by kybred (795293)
      Yes [amazonaws.com]
    • Steve Jobs was right.

    • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Thursday April 14, 2011 @04:12PM (#35821572)

      Flash was built for the desktop. Devices with big screens, keyboards and mice.

      Cramming it into a smartphone with a limited battery life has never really made sense.

      Flash on the web seems to be only used for a few things:

      1. Video, which can and has been done in other ways

      2. Games, plenty of games in the app stores.

      3. Presentations, which I imagine few people bother to use?

      4. Adverts, which most people don't like.

      5. IM, which can be done with AJAX and existing HTML scripting.

    • Re:Were Apple right? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @04:57PM (#35822156)

      It is perhaps ironic that Apple is the driving force behind the anti-Flash movement, since IMHO the biggest problem with Flash is that it caters to anal-retentive developers who want everything just so.

      While HTML and CSS contort themselves to suit the browser and user, Flash was designed to be a window unto itself; a stage on which everything works exactly as the developer intended. At first, that may seem like a good thing—especially to developers. However, it conveys a false sense of conformity, causing developers to lose sight of the reason why HTML was made to be so flexible. The Internet is a diverse place where Flash's attitude of one-design-for-everybody breaks down:

      Oh, you've got a small screen? Sorry, we didn't plan for that.
      Oh, you want to translate the text? Sorry, we didn't plan for that.
      Oh, you're using a touch interface? Sorry, we didn't plan for that.
      Oh, you need large fonts? Sorry, we didn't plan for that.
      Oh, you have a low-end CPU? Sorry, we didn't plan for that.
      Oh, you use a screen reader? Sorry, we didn't plan for that.
      Oh, you're on an unsupported/64-bit browser or OS? Sorry, we didn't plan for that.
      And so on.

      As handheld devices take off, the Internet is becoming even more diverse, and the notion that Flash can provide the same experience for everyone is becoming less and less plausible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:14PM (#35820888)

    Flash is occasionally useful - some sites won't even show you any content without it, or like Strongbad have their content primarily in flash. But why on earth would anyone run flash without a flashblock extension in the browser? That's just idiotic!

    Seriously, maybe i'm just an old fart, but whatever happened to the user being the one in control of his or her own computer? Why do more people not insist on having control over their machines? Why would you trust any random flash content *by bloody default*?

    SOME flash is useful. SOME flash is malicious. SOME flash is merely advertising. The only thing that makes sense is to run that flash which is useful. Arbitrarily running any flash at all - sheesh, would you let anyone in the world borrow your car? Your house? Or would you only permit that of people you trusted? Why should your computer be any different?

    • Flash is occasionally useful - some sites won't even show you any content without it, or like Strongbad have their content primarily in flash.

      Homestar Runner used to be my primary reason to install Flash. This was back in the days Linux users were bitching about Flash because it was so poorly supported, now it seems they are its biggest cheerleaders. Honestly, I haven't been to that site in a couple of years and anyone starting out now would be insane to do it with a Flash based website.

      SOME flash is useful. SOME flash is malicious. SOME flash is merely advertising. The only thing that makes sense is to run that flash which is useful.

      The "problem" with flash these days is that there is a better solution for the problems it solves, especially on mobile devices. They are pushing a bad solution t

      • They are pushing a bad solution to a technical problem and that's why Adobe will eventually lose even if they make it "good enough."

        Bad solutions win more often than not, especially if there's a few billion in advertising dollars behind them.

        • They are pushing a bad solution to a technical problem and that's why Adobe will eventually lose even if they make it "good enough."

          Bad solutions win more often than not, especially if there's a few billion in advertising dollars behind them.

          Sure, but usually not when there is a popular platform that offers a better solution. That better solution is HTML5 on the desktop and mobile for video and native apps on mobile for games. The platform is iOS, it doesn't even need to retain dominance because the fatal blow has already been dealt: who would start a project these days with Flash as their primary technology ? The fact they are making their play for relevance with Adobe Air shows that Adobe know the way the wind is blowing.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      whatever happened to the user being the one in control of his or her own computer?

      It died when Apple bundled an operating system with every one.

    • All of the existing Android implementations of Flash behave like this. On my Viewsonic GTablet, Flash 10.2 defaults to loading On Demand (ie you click play) in both the default browser and alternate browsers like Opera Mobile.
    • by mattcasters (67972) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:34PM (#35821162) Homepage

      The default way that Flash presented itself on my Android 2.2 tablet (Point Of View Tegra 2) was by showing an empty block with an arrow in it where you would normally see the Flash content. If you then tap on it, it is activated.

      I disabled that tap-enabled mode for the following reasons:
      1) the Tegra2 dual core is plenty fast
      2) I only visit fairly straightforward sites with Flash, like news-sites and such.

      Personally I couldn't be happier. Flash on Android, even on 2.2 works as advertised as far as I'm concerned. Later I indeed would like to use it with Firefox 4 and add-block & flashblock plugins but for now it works fine for the things I expect from it.

    • Arbitrarily running any flash at all - sheesh, would you let anyone in the world borrow your car? Your house? Or would you only permit that of people you trusted? Why should your computer be any different?

      ya right on. in fact, i don't load any web pages either, because we all know most of those are really applications written in javascript.

      but i can't wait for HTML 5. i hear it magically manages to perform all the tasks currently performed by flash, but it doesn't use any CPU. can you imagine? those guys at apple are real smart. and the best thing about HTML 5 is that it can't be disabled or uninstalled, because it's part of the browser!

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:17PM (#35820924)

    As far as I could tell, there was one thing and one thing only that the Flash Player for Android 3.0 accomplished successfully

    Actually there seems to be two things. Besides getting advertisements working again it seems to also suggest that Apple may have had a point that Flash performance was disappointing.

    • Especially since Apple said this a year ago, and Adobe has had another year to try to make it right, and (according to the reviewer) has missed the mark by quite a bit.

  • by bit trollent (824666) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:17PM (#35820930) Homepage

    By setting the browser to enable plug-ins on demand, unwanted flash ads appear as clickable boxes, and and flash object in a page can be loaded by clicking it.

    Since nobody is likely to rewrite the whole internet to exclude flash (espeically since there are old browsers that practically require flash) it's really nice to be able to have flash when you need it.

    I've used flash many times on my phone, and my only complaint is that the phone can be a bit wonky about registering clicks. But this happens with 'clever' html too.

    Pro-tip: if your web browser is acting weird (not registering clicks etc..), tip your phone into landscape mode and then back again. You'd be surprised how reliably that fixes weird flash and html problems.

    • by keytoe (91531)

      By setting the browser to enable plug-ins on demand, unwanted flash ads appear as clickable boxes, and and flash object in a page can be loaded by clicking it.

      Since nobody is likely to rewrite the whole internet to exclude flash (espeically since there are old browsers that practically require flash) it's really nice to be able to have flash when you need it.

      But several of the big players are doing exactly that. If you play along with the people that continue to insist on flash by having your browser repor

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:18PM (#35820946) Homepage

    "The UI turns into a tug-of-war between the browser and the Flash Player, where each touch produces varying effects, seemingly at random."

    So what he's saying is that Flash is working as designed.

    I don't see the problem here.

  • But then again, I use the equivalent of "adblock" on my android phone so I never see those ads he speaks of.

    But it's true about the moments of conflict between flash and browser. Guess what? There is no "hover" in a touch screen environment. That makes flash and even a lot of HTML/CSS/JavaScript pretty unsuitable for mobile/tablet browsing. Should we be shocked or should web developers need to take this into a little more consideration? I think they should -- after all, flash will be eventually replace

    • Offtopic but which adblock do you use? And how good is it?
      • by afidel (530433)
        Fennec (Firefox Mobile) now has adblock, but I personally find the mobile experience with Fennec less than ideal, perhaps it works better on a tablet?
  • The issues brought up are mostly true for me as well (Dell Streak, Android 2.2) but the nice part is being able to watch embedded video and navigate websites with Flash front pages. Both seem to work properly (including DLink's annoying selector app). Video websites other than Youtube and Ustream which don't have their own apps are actually visible as well because Flash video is supported.

  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:26PM (#35821052)
    Can't people finally start admitting that maybe Apple was doing the right thing -- for users' long term experience -- in trying to get rid of Flash for mobile devices? It's so bizarre how hatred of Apple and Steve Jobs drives some tech people to irrationally support a lousy and proprietary plugin that we CAN move beyond. Flash was a great thing earlier in the history of the web, but it's time to leave it behind. The only reason the Android crowd loves it is because Apple was the first to admit that it was time to leave it behind. It's become a badge of honor to be able to check that box as a feature -- even if we would be better off (long term for sure) without it.
    • by geek (5680) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @04:13PM (#35821596) Homepage

      Apple was "right" in removing choice? It isn't even an option on iOS. I can "choose" to remove it from android if I want, just like on my desktop. If people don't want it, they can remove it. Removing CHOICE is ignorant, arrogant, and truly the Apple way.

  • Not that this was not already known. Flash basically is a way-out (that works badly) for people that do not get the web and force the old concepts both of paper (where you have absolute positioning) and of movies into the web. That is a bad idea to start with. To make it worse, this particular failed technology suffers from vendor lock-in, bad implementation, bad specification and an atrocious security record. Why anybody competent would want to use Flash is beyond me. Of course, it is possible that nobody

  • which is why anyone would want it on their phone anyway. works very nicely on my HTC Inspire

  • by Reapman (740286) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:30PM (#35821120)

    Do I make use of Flash on my phone a lot? Not really.. Am I glad that for the few times I need it that it's there? Yup.

    Since I'm sure the comparisons will be made:
    iPhone - Flash uses up 0% of CPU, works on 0% of Flash based sites - for some people this is ideal.
    Android: Flash uses up CPU (potentially lots) when I allow it to (it's set to on demand), works on... 20% of Flash based sites? - for some people this is better then the above option.

    I guess I'm in the camp that prefers to have the tools, even if they're far from perfect, then to not be allowed the choice. Each to their own really.

  • by glwtta (532858) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:36PM (#35821188) Homepage
    This gets really frustrating when there's lots of HTML and Flash content mixed on a Web page. The UI turns into a tug-of-war between the browser and the Flash Player, where each touch produces varying effects, seemingly at random

    Ah, so they've faithfully reproduced the Flash experience.
  • Reading the story, that guy appears to have an agenda. I can't take him as a credible source.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Where are all the people you do take as credible, who are interested enough in something to spend time writing and publishing about it but have no agenda related to it?

  • Why should anyone be surprised by this? Flash usually fails to impress on any platform. In fact, it usually epic fails to impress.

  • Stable Channel release 10.0.648.205 is out. Thanks Google for the incredibly swift response.
  • by PortHaven (242123) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @04:05PM (#35821484) Homepage

    So apparently, the author argues that websites NOT designed for mobile SUCK. And I agree... but is this a gripe of Flash or not?

    How many HTML sites royally suck on my iPhone. TONS. Especially ones with multiple cascading menus, huge link lists, etc, etc. To exclaim that Flash apps made a few years back don't work well nor handle certain motion behaviors is a pretty lame argument. A site not made for mobile use is usually going to be a poor mobile experience. It doesn't matter if it's HTML or not.

    Yes, the iPhone taunted the whole internet. But to be honest, I consider it an article reader browser for most sites. It's great for popping open a site, zooming in, and reading an article. But for actual use of many websites, it's just a PITA. This is not a fault of Apple, rather it's a fault of a screen not much bigger than a finger length.

    A great example is going to a video player and complaining the menu controls aren't very usable. Well gee, you think. Does it matter whether such was made in HTML/Flash/HTML5 - nope. If the web app is NOT designed for mobile, the experience will suck. You will have to zoom in, use a control, zoom back out. LAME.

    But as more apps are designed to recognize and deliver a mobile based experience. This will be come less of an issue. Does Flash lack the touch? Or does a 2 yr old desktop focused Flash app lack a touch experience. There is a difference.

  • The iPad doesn't. I hope that ESPN releases the "ESPN3" app for the iPad, but until then, I can get my sports fix on my Android device. As for the ads, set flash to only turn on when you activate it. Flash is not forced on you, it's an option.

  • I was thrilled to get flash on my android phone and still am. I don't give a crap about flash video or games, what I DO care about is that menus and navigation finally work on sites that I had to give up reading on my iPhone. yes, i still used my desktop for them, but it was inconvenient.

    Expecting a flash app or game to run well on a mobile is just delusional. I'm sitting here on a quad core pc w/ 6 gb of RAM and a nice video card and my wife can slow things to a crawl loading farmville/cityville/cafewo

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