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ARM blames Adobe Flash for smartbook delays

updated 11:10 am EDT, Thu May 6, 2010

Lenovo, others held up by Flash optimizations

Adobe's repeated delays for Flash are a large part of why smartbooks haven't launched yet, ARM marketing VP Ian Drew said this week. Optimizations needed to make the plugin work have prevented the Lenovo Skylight and similar ARM-based mini notebooks from meeting their original spring targets. The Skylight, for example, now may not ship until July.

Drew wouldn't tell ZDNetexactly what had triggered the delay but said there was "lots of heavy lifting" involve in getting it to work. As an Internet-dependent notebook, it was important that Flash work well enough to be useful.

The systems may have also been held up by the rise of tablets like the iPad, whose expected appearances and popularity may have upset plans for smartbooks; over 50 ARM tablets are scheduled for 2010 alone. Without the option of Windows, which needs an x86 processor, many of the companies committed to smartbooks have had to develop platforms using Android or Linux.

Intel's Atom Z600 hasn't visibly affected plans for smartbooks, Drew said. It promises the same lower-power, system-on-a-chip profile of ARM but using the x86 architecture would let companies use Windows in a smaller design than a netbook but with longer battery life.

The statements indirectly touch on a criticism stressed by Apple chief Steve Jobs. He noted that a usable version of Flash is now a year overdue and called into question Adobe's ability to trim battery consumption and performance overhead enough to render desktop-level Flash feasible on phones and smartbooks.

By Electronista Staff


  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000


    Oh, gee, look....

    Adobe indirectly dictating the pace of change in the industry because of Flash holding everything back.

    Just like Steve said.

  1. vriva

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010


    comment title

    @Electronista Staff

    Ian Drew may have indirectly touched on Job's critiques of Flash's tardiness, battery consumption, and performance…that's all well and good but I think even a better point to have included in the article was the following from Job's Thoughts on Flash:

    "We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers."

    It seems to me that smartbook manufactures voluntarily made themselves dependent on Flash early on in the conceptualization process—long before they started actually building the things. It's a shame. They could have easily decided to not allow a third party hamper the development of their platform…but I suppose that is all they have on the iPad—Flash.

    In a mad rage to bring to market a product that had something Apple is "missing" iPad competitors throughly fucked themselves.

  1. lysolman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Is this sentence a mess or is it just me?

    "Intel's Atom Z600 hasn't visibly affected plans for smartbooks, Drew said. It promises the same lower-power, system-on-a-chip profile of ARM but using the x86 architecture would let companies use Windows in a smaller design than a netbook but with longer battery life."

    Can someone explain to me what the h*** this sentence means? I've read it a hundred times and I still cannot understand it.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Die, Flash, die...

    It won't, but I'm glad some other companies are speaking up against Adobe and backing up Apple to a small degree. Yes, the iPhone/Touch/iPad don't support Flash but it's showing that no other hand-held mobile device does, either. I know it will never be enough to vindicate Apple and Steve Jobs in the iHaters eyes, but at least I feel that Apple just doesn't want to be dependent on an untrustworthy company.

    If Adobe waits longer, eventually faster processors will allow for desktop Flash to work decently on smart-devices. I'm sure Flash would have been a disaster on last year's smartphones with under 800 MHz processors trying to render desktop Flash. I'm only saying if Adobe has a workable Flash solution for even 1 GHz Snapdragon processors, let's see it.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004



    well said.

  1. canonsucks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010



    It's just you dude. The sentence, while lengthy, does indeed make sense.

    This is MacNN not Reading ComprehensionNN. Next time, do your homework before pulling the Grammar Police card.

  1. bonaccij

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003


    But here's my question

    So, let's pretend all these "iPad Killers" come out on the market in tens of different flavors and they all offer Flash - big deal! What are you going to do AFTER you are done watching all the p*** you want?

    When it comes down to desktop/productivity integration and day to day tasks, nobody is going to be able to best what Apple's doing right now. So, yay, they can all play flash... but WHAT ELSE CAN ANY OF THESE DEVICES DO???? Is Flash enough?

  1. canonsucks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010



    Define "desktop/productivity integration".

    A computer is just a useless box without software. I don't know of many desktop software apps which rely on Flash, do you?

    Day to day tasks? You mean like email? web browsing? Seems to me Google and Mozilla have those bases covered at least as well (if not better) than Apple.

    These other devices are likely full blown notebooks, for the price of the more limited iPad.

    So, I guess I'll answer your question with a question. After the new car feeling of the iPad wears off and you find yourself with a limited device, what are you going to do?

  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Apple, what have you started

    Looks like Apple (Steve Jobs) said what a lot of people weren't saying. Today not only do we have ARM, but now Opera Software is also dissing (tactfully) Flash (at Engadget as of 12:52).

  1. canonsucks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010



    Opera's Philip Grønvold also clearly stated that, "today's internet content is dependent on Flash" and "if you remove Flash you do not have today's internet," and for that reason Opera needs to support Flash.

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