April 14, 2011, 6:07 AM — With their larger screens, long-lasting batteries, and powerful CPUs, tablets seem well suited for the kinds of rich multimedia applications that confound ordinary smartphones. But Apple famously won't allow Adobe Flash on its iOS mobile devices, including the iPad. This fued creates an ideal opportunity for competing tablet makers to step in and fill the void.
Right now, the iPad's top competitor is the Motorola Xoom, which has been available in the United States from Verizon since February. The Xoom is the first device to ship with Google's Android 3.0 OS, code-named "Honeycomb," which features a new UI "designed from the ground up for tablets."
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When InfoWorld compared the Xoom to the original iPad, we found Motorola's tablet to be a credible yet inferior competitor, and it paled still further when pitted against the newer iPad 2. But both reviews were conducted back when neither platform supported Flash. Adobe has since released a beta Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0, making Honeycomb the first tablet-centric platform to support Flash content.
Would Flash be a game-changer for Android, giving Honeycomb tablets a clear advantage over the iPad at last? I wanted to find out, so I grabbed InfoWorld's demo Xoom and set off on a journey through the Flash-enabled Web. Unfortunately, my results weren't particularly encouraging.
Video, because you demand it Installing Flash Player 10.2 is easy enough; it's available for free from the Android Market. Honeycomb tablet owners who want to run Flash Player will need the Android 3.0.1 update, which Motorola pushed out for the Xoom in March.