The world at large has had mixed feelings about Adobe’s web media giant, Flash. It’s been called a godsend, a broken piece of s$%!, and every single thing in between. For web developers, you either love it, or you find a way around it. It’s been considered a necessary evil, and a blissful sacrifice, but it has also been considered one other thing. A game changer. Hulu, Kongregate, Addictinggames, all useless without flash. Sites that are used by millions every day because of what they are able to do with Flash. Not too long ago Adobe decided we could all use alittle of this kool-aid in the palm of our hands. Android responded, and now we have a non-beta Flash 10.1 on our handsets. Naturally, with something as controversial as Flash, there come rumors, questions, and of course, just plain misinformation. So here you go, the all questions answered guide to Flash 10.1 for Android.
Let’s track the “what it does well”. After all, our handheld screens are not as big as the ones on our computers (YET), so how does it work well? Flash content that has been “optimized for mobile” is completely inert in a browser until you choose to interact with it. Once you “tap to interact”, the content becomes active so long as it is on the screen. This means that if you are watching a movie in flash and you scroll away from the video, the movie will pause, waiting for you to return. The second form of “tap to interact” is one where it fills the screen, removing any other content. Again, leaving this screen will return the content to it’s inert state. To be perfectly honest, this feature alone would make life on a PC much better, but I am quite happy with it on Android.
It’s true that not all – or even most flash content is optimized for mobile. Adobe has taken great strides to encourage all of their developers to utilize their mobility tools and guidelines to make the experience better. It’s a slow process, but one that is already yielding positive results. For examples, I direct you to the Adobe Showcase, located in your Market. It’s filled with websites who have dedicated all of their Flash content to be useable in both Mobile and Desktop environments.
The biggest question|gripe|ignorant comment i hear regarding Flash for Android is it’s performance, specifically towards its consumption of battery life. Flash IS a hardware accelerated technology, and as any laptop owner will agree, watching a flash video will burn your battery faster than browsing a non-flash website. This analogy is flawed right to it’s core, but please do not take my word for it. I challenge you to download any video game from the market and play it for 1 hour, then go do something on Kongregate for 1 hour. I can tell you the result right now – they use roughly the same amount of battery life. This has been Google’s stance all along. Apps are nice, but not a requirement. We have a great big internet out there, and we should not feel the need to use an app when that same content is available on a website. So go out there and prove me wrong!