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Flash hobbles Android use of BBC iPlayer versus iPhone

updated 05:10 pm EDT, Fri August 27, 2010

BBC use of Flash hurts Android use of iPlayer

A Freedom of Information request to the BBC completed just Thursday has revealed that Android use of iPlayer may have been hurt, rather than helped, by the use of Flash. As the Android version of iPlayer requires the still-rare Flash plugin to work, British viewers streamed just 6,400 episodes in July. In comparison, 5,272,464 shows streamed to iPad, iPhone and iPod touch owners.

Much of the damage to Android has been done by OS and device fragmentation. Flash requires Android 2.2 and, in the UK, would limit access to just a handful of phones. Only the Nexus One could view clips in July, and only the closely related HTC Desire received Android 2.2 this month in the country. Steep hardware requirements could also rule out the majority of Android phones; none of HTC's 2009 phones will be eligible.

iOS devices were meanwhile helped by the BBC's decision early on to use raw H.264 video and a native app. The format reduces the overhead to where even a 2007-era iPhone can play videos, and the approach is largely independent of any one iOS version. Battery use may also be lighter due to a reduced dependence on the main processor compared to Flash.

Flash has been praised for exposing mobile users to a full desktop web and enabling things such as complex streaming sites or web games, but recent tests have shown it bogging down and breaking on some sites, including some on Adobe-endorsed sites. [via Daring Fireball]

By Electronista Staff


  1. lkrupp

    Junior Member

    Joined: May 2001


    It's just beginning...

    This Frankenstein monster of Google's is just getting started. People spout off about Apple repeating the so-called mistake of keeping the hardware and OS in house and tightly controlled. How about Android trying to be all things to all hardware manufacturers and becoming a bloated, insecure pile of code like Windows? Flash is just the icing on the cake. If anybody doubts Jobs' decision now you're just too blinded to think rationally.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    This reliance upon Flash is rather pathetic...

    All mobile platforms and older model smartphones could best be served by HTML5. I don't know why people are so stubborn to move from Flash. I'm not saying it isn't useful to view sites but users and site developers should be looking toward the future without Flash. If Adobe created HTML5 tools then they'd also make money. Jeez. These Android fanbois are so hot on proving that Flash is a huge benefit. Maybe it is for them, but I think the majority of average smartphone users aren't going to find it so appealing. At least not as far as Adobe is saying it will be. So many older Android smartphones are going to be left without Flash support and I'm sure most Android users are not going to like that at all.

  1. enzos

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2008


    Flash is..


  1. chas_m



    HA HA!!

    ... in the words of Nelson, the eloquent sage of the Simpsons ...

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2010


    comment title

    And this is news? It's Flash, what do you expect? This is why I'm so happy Apple keeps this c*** off the iOS devices, I only wish they'd get it off the Mac's next. I have to use Click2Flash to get rid of the Flash c*** on my Macs.

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