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Thursday, August 19, 2010


This is insane:

How bad is mobile Flash? 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.
-- Mobile Flash Fail: Weak Android Player Proves Jobs Right [LaptopMag]

OMG! FAIL! STEVE JOBS WAS SO RIGHT! Wow, thank god I have an iPhone. I'll just go right over to and watch me up some shows.

Um, ok ... here we go:

Oh, uh. Oh, right. Steve Jobs said plugins are bad and that we should be using native apps for anything cool. Apparently HTML5 video wasn't, um ... I dunno. Around or something. So I'll go download that app now and...

Well, that's embarrassing. I guess before you go pronouncing the Steve Jobs was right and that Flash has failed - maybe ... just maybe, you should actually compare it to something in reality.


Thomas said...

Funny, because video loaded just fine on my Nexus One on the walk to work. A bit choppy, sure, but it's HD video playing over the 3G connection. What would you expect?

It's better than nothing. There have been several times that I've wanted to play a video for someone, and it's not on Youtube or an HTML5 source. Flash is invaluable for that, and for annoying restaurant sites, at the very least.

Josh said...

Yeah, I was originally going to mostly post about how blaming Flash, the platform, for problems which could be caused by a myriad of other things (file compression, network issues, buggy implenentation) is rather grand overgeneralization AND jumping on a bandwagon at the exact same time.

But then when the iPhone failed to even deliver an option for comparison - that seemed like an overkill.

And he later compares the experience of playing Flash games which have not been designed for phones, while somehow deciding to magically ignore the billion websites out there which play out equally hamfisted. I commented on twitter that this was basically comparing apples to imaginary concepts in his head.

Humorously, I've seen Flash running on a jailbroken iPhone. It plays pretty well.

Thomas said...

To be fair, there's no good technical reason I can think of that the iPad app isn't also available on iPhone. They could fix it tomorrow.

But yeah: talking about how bad Flash adapts shows he doesn't remember how things were before touch-optimized sites became both easy and relatively common. Give Flash some time, and it'll adapt just as HTML did. We're already starting to think about it on my team.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a problem with the iPhone or iOS. The message to download the app is rendered by ABC's website. Blame them for suggesting an app that won't run on the device.

Josh said...

I wasn't blaming the iPhone, iOS or even I'm blaming the original author for not pointing out he was comparing a his own personal bad experience with a completely non-existent one.

And in that vein - the original author is the one guilty of that logic. He blames Adobe for ABC's implementation of a player delivering ABC content on his network with very little evidence that this is a widespread problem (as Thomas points out - it wasn't an issue for him).

The original article is nothing more than a feature long version of the multitude of rants posted to comments all over the net, with little to no real technical consideration but plenty of bluster.

pk de cville said...

"I'm blaming the original author for not pointing out he was comparing a his own personal bad experience with a completely non-existent one."

No No No.

This is what the author was doing"

"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."

He was writing about Mobile Flash today is not delivering the full internet as promised by Adobe.

The only thing he's saying is M Flash DOES NOT WORK AS ADVERTISED in its 1st preloaded appearance.

Done. Do you believe it will ever work? And in what year?

Josh said...

Was the headline of the article "I had a substandard experience on some Flash sites and I wish Adobe had warned me about it."

No. It was that his lousy experience proves Steve Jobs right. And if he's going to invoke Job's argument to get clicks, then we get to go back to Job's argument.

Every example he gives has absolutely no comparison to anything that exists ... except for comparing Flash to HTML5 on his PC. Which is so completely beside the point to invert the entire paragraph into itself.

When will Adobe get it working? It apparently works today, if you have got a Nexus One.

Adobe is not responsible for every Flash implementation any more than Apple is responsible for every site an iPhone hit. I can get completely lousy experiences browsing on my iPhone, but I'm not about to make the claim that proves Adobe right.

Socke said...

I tried on my Palm Pre and they want me to install a flash playe. Vimeo OTOH plays just fine in without flash.

Gaurang said...

The point is not to compare Android Flash experience with iPhone HTML5 experience. Apple never promised the online videos will work -- they only said videos converted to HTML5 will work, and more and more websites will be converting to HTML5 in the near future. They also said Flash sucks up battery, crashes, and the experience of Flash on Mobile will not be very good since many flash programs use keyboard or use the "mouse hover" event which is not present in touch-based devices.

The author of the article you referred to, basically says that the claim from Google&Adobe that -- "Flash now works on Android Mobile phones!" -- is not fully correct because of incompatibility issues and the flash crashes and hangs. Also I believe it will definitely suck more battery.

Josh said...

Actually both Jobs and this guy are comparing Flash to HTML5 and indirectly to Cocoa. In Job's letter he specifically pointed the YouTube app as a rationale that Flash was not needed.

And this guy suggests everyone should be converting to HTML5, if they're going to be making videos anyway. You can't really remove the comparison if you want to "prove Jobs right" - otherwise you're left with the argument of "I had a bad day with Flash, but hey - it's the only choice you've got".

Let's note how the original author glosses over the fact that he can, in fact, play videos on Mobile Flash. So all things the same except the specific site implementation ... that's not a flaw of the platform. He's not just comparing apples to imaginary objects, he goes on to compare them to oranges as well and then pretends the oranges don't exist.

Simple way to put it: this guy hasn't proven anything other than he had some videos failed to load and that a game not designed for touch screens don't work on touch screens. Wow, call the freaking press. Ever tried using an interface based on mouse events on an iPhone or iPad without introducing the necessary touch related code?

It don't work so well either. Gee, I guess JavaScript is a fail too.

Unknown said...

The whole point of the original author's article was that Adobe has been promising a great Flash experience on Android for almost 2 years. And after all this time, they finally poop out a piece of crap. The fact that html5 is not working today on the iphone is irrelevant. HTML5 has not had time to catch up. Give it the same amount of time that Adobe has had, and then we'll talk.

Josh said...

Right, that was his point except for invoking Steve Job's argument that HTML5 replaces Flash and stating that everyone should stop doing Flash and port to HTML5.

But by all means, let's crucify the thing that just came out and embrace the thing that hasn't arrived yet. Because the first release of everything technical is usually so rock solid that such a jump to conclusions is completely rational.