updated 11:40 am EDT, Fri March 18, 2011
Adobe posts rough Flash 10.2 beta for Android
Adobe as promised is launching its Flash 10.2 beta for Android devices on Friday. The update brings better performance for Flash on any dual-core phones using Android 2.2 or 2.3, such as the Atrix 4G, as well as the first instance of official support for Android 3.0 tablets. Company executives haven't given a timetable.
Along with news of the beta, Adobe has partly quelled doubts about the leaked build of 10.2 by seeding a more complete version of the beta to Engadget. Its testing produced mixed results. A Xoom could play 480p video smoothly, but it couldn't play 720p; a single-core Droid 2 also still choked on 480p even though it was an improvement.
The slow performance was due to only partial hardware acceleration support in the beta, Adobe VP Danny Winokur said. Although the Xoom is decoding video in hardware, full acceleration for it and other devices hasn't been turned on. Smooth 720p should come about when 10.2 is updated to get full support. It would also fix a problem with Flash on Android 3.0 not properly recognizing touch outside of full screen mode.
Many of the improvements should help overcome the early reputation of Flash on Android. While some sites already run properly, others bog the device down or hurt battery life by leaning heavily on a single-core processor that often couldn't handle the extra load. Hardware graphics acceleration and multi-core support would eliminate at least one of Apple's complaints by giving it acceptable performance. It might also improve battery life by using the more efficient video chipset, though it would still leave stability and touch friendliness as outstanding issues.
The beta is launching mostly to help Motorola match its marketing efforts by giving the Xoom the Flash support Motorola has been marketing heavily and trying to use as an edge over the iPad 2.