updated 07:50 am EDT, Tue May 11, 2010
Adobe teases Froyo and smooth Flash playback
Adobe in a new video demo (see below) has shown not only Flash 10.1 for mobile but a teaser of the next version of Android. The plugin now appears to run smoothly on a Nexus One and can handle most common use cases for Flash, including 3D, gaming, video and simply dynamic web content. Adobe's Ryan Stewart also explained some of how certain elements work: users tap-and-hold on an interactive Flash component to switch away from manipulating the browser.
The demo isn't flawless as it reveals that Flash may have some trouble with large videos; although it plays videos properly, some sites will quickly warn that their clips are "not optimized for mobile." The Nexus One phone is also plugged in and masks any battery life. Adobe has claimed Flash doesn't drain energy quickly, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs and others have asserted that the greater dependence on software decoding in Flash over hardware hurts battery life when playing video. Flash 10.1 should use some level of hardware acceleration but still needs extra processing to handle the plugin layer.
Android 2.2, better known to many as Froyo, only gets a brief teaser at the end of the clip but appears to have a somewhat redesigned home screen that puts the dialer and web browser (and possibly other favorites) near the app launcher on a permanent basis. Also new are a search bar that allows choosing the search type and a tutorial for newcomers to Android.
Most expect Android 2.2 to get a formal unveiling on May 19th, at the start of the Google I/O conference. It may similarly serve as an opportunity to show Flash 10.1 in greater detail. Adobe's plugin may be ready before the end of June, but devices shipping with Flash aren't due until the second half of the year and will center on Android and webOS at first.