Flash on Android: Look but don't touch

The sweeping deficiencies of Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets can't all be chalked up to its 'beta' status

By Neil McAllister, InfoWorld |  Mobile & Wireless, Android, Flash player

Worst of all was form input, a mainstay of any business application. When presented with a Flash-based form, I literally had to stab my finger at the Xoom's screen six or seven times before my touch would register as a click. Finally some random form field would be highlighted, irrespective of where my finger landed, and the onscreen keyboard would pop up. Woe betide me if the wrong field was highlighted, though, because Tab and Shift-Tab would both advance me forward through the form fields. There didn't seem to be any way to go back, and I dared not try to select another field by touch. In a nutshell, Flash-based forms are a total nonstarter on Android tablets. Forget about them.

What about games? Even there, I didn't have much luck. One simple balloon-popping game rendered in my browser window, then inexplicably leaped up and to the left, leaving a white square where the Flash content was supposed to be. I could scroll the window to see the game screen, but to control the game I still had to touch inside the white square. It was hopeless.

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.

Not the droid you're looking for To be fair to Adobe, while Flash Player 10.2 is in production release for Android 2.2 and 2.3 smartphones, it's classified as a beta for Android 3.0. It's entirely possible that some of the problems I encountered will be fixed in the final release. And yet, when I tried the same tests on an Android 2.2 smartphone, the only problem Flash Player 10.2 resolved was the leaping game window; the Flex applications were just as impossible to use as on the Xoom. Whether you're on a smartphone or a tablet, there's no getting around the fact that many Flash apps simply aren't designed to work with touchscreens.

As it stands, Flash support offers no reason for buying a Xoom instead of an iPad. If you were hoping the Flash player would enable a whole new world of content, you will be disappointed. Flash sites on Android devices are utterly hit or miss. And if you're deploying Flex applications for your business to be accessed on mobile devices, my advice is to switch to HTML immediately. On the other hand, if you're enthralled by animated Web advertising, the Flash Player will be right up your alley.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Spotlight on ...
Online Training

    Upgrade your skills and earn higher pay

    Readers to share their best tips for maximizing training dollars and getting the most out self-directed learning. Here’s what they said.

     

    Learn more

Answers - Powered by ITworld

ITworld Answers helps you solve problems and share expertise. Ask a question or take a crack at answering the new questions below.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Ask a Question