back to article Adobe Flash: 20m phones flip Steve Jobs the bird

Is Steve Jobs the best thing that ever happened to Adobe Flash? Nine months after Jobs unloaded his infamous open letter on Flash, defending Apple's decision to completely ban the technology from the iPhone and the iPad, Adobe has announced that in 2010, more than 20 million smartphones shipped with or were upgraded to Flash …

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  1. Marcus Aurelius
    Unhappy

    I have an Android but Jobs was right

    Flash was (is?) a CPU hog and indeed is a proprietary application; it is interesting to note that Google has taken a diametrically opposite position in the H.264/ WebM argument.

    I didn't buy an iPhone because I wanted to be able to install anything I liked without Apples complete control (I've used my phone to fix websites, and tethered to my computer, both of which you couldn't/can't do without jailbreaking the iPhone), but Jobs is right that Flash should go the way of the dinosaurs if possible

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      It would be more correct to say

      That the app your Flash plugin is running is a CPU hog. Do you really think the equivalent app written in HTML would be any different?

      In all likelihood it would run even worse by virtue of the fact that it would be competing with the rest of the page content within the same thread for CPU whereas a Flash app could be running on a separate thread.

      Anyway, there are two simple options in Chrome to reduce CPU consumption in Android if you so wish:

      1. Dont use Flash at all. i.e. you just get blank where the flash was meant to be

      2. Selectively enable flash, i.e. you get a little icon where the flash app is and you must tap it to start it.

      The latter option is an extremely obvious solution that Apple could have chosen to do.

      1. RegisterThis

        Apple ... Choice?

        "2. Selectively enable flash, i.e. you get a little icon where the flash app is and you must tap it to start it."

        - Jobs: If I want you to make a choice *I* will tell you what to choose ...

        "The latter option is an extremely obvious solution that Apple could have chosen to do"

        - Could have ... but won't now due to Jobs ego ... while clearly brilliant, he will ultimately overstep the mark and kill the company through his own ego ...

        1. aThingOrTwo
          Thumb Up

          Sometimes making decisions is a good thing

          If Flash is so good then why are so many Android users crying out for an Android version of the iPlayer app which uses H.264 (like the iOS apps) and not Flash?

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2011/02/bbc_iplayer_apps_coming_soon_t.html

          “only newer, more powerful Android 2.2 devices connected via Wi-Fi can support the Flash 10.1 streaming experience […] If you have an older version of the Android platform, you may be able to upgrade, so please check with your device manufacturer and/or mobile network provider for information about Android system updates.”

          So let's pretend I've got an X10, let me check with my device manufacturer and/or mobile network provider:

          http://twitter.com/SonyEricssonUK/status/23028920475455488

          Oh.

          So Apple's bloody mindedness means all their users get a good experience wheres Android users get shafted again.

      2. Marcus Aurelius

        Response

        Flash was simply not designed with the requirement to operate with minimal power consumption. I would assume that an equivalent app designed for mobile phone use (including the browser) would take steps to keep the power drain down.

      3. Ammaross Danan
        Boffin

        Thread Management

        "In all likelihood it would run even worse by virtue of the fact that it would be competing with the rest of the page content within the same thread for CPU whereas a Flash app could be running on a separate thread."

        Thread management introduces its own additional overhead. Having something in a seperate thread just prevents objects on the page from holding up the "flash app" (kinda like the good'ol days of your cursor freezing when windows dekstop locked up....)

        Either way, you're likely to get just as poor performance with two threads (browser and flash) as you would with one thread. Unless, that is, you're sporting a Tegra-based dual-core chip like the LG Optimus 2X. I wonder how long it will take for the iPhone to pick up on dual core... Well, without non-Apple-Apps multitasking, it would be more of a moot point anyway....

  2. Sven
    WTF?

    Still not working?

    So Adobe is working on it? They bring out CS versions at 1 year interval but can't make a lightweight, quick, hardware accelerated version of a flash player?

    They where probably too busy working on the security flaws in Reader!

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Portability

      It's not how things work these days. Companies expect the OS to do all the hardware acceleration and let them write portable C++ code. Then all they need to do is write some sort of glue code for their application that lets it work in a particular OS.

      Since when have games been optimised for a particular 3D chip? erm, not since DirectX appeared I expect.

      1. Jason Hall

        DirectX doesn't fix everything

        "Since when have games been optimised for a particular 3D chip? erm, not since DirectX appeared I expect."

        Sorry, but you'd be wrong then.

        I know friends who work on games, and they are constantly having to mess with code to make it work on certain graphcis hardware. Just don't mention physics cos' then it gets even worse.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Choice or requirement?

    Are users really choosing to install Flash or is it simply that they are being forced into using it?

    I don't have Flash installed on my desktop because I want it, quite the opposite but I'm forced to use it as several websites that I want to use continue to use it, simple as that.

    Oh and Steve is right. Nothing I run on my desktop hogs the CPU quite the way Flash does. I've also had to reinstall it umpteen times and the uninstall process itself is pretty flippin horrible.

    1. Miek
      Linux

      whatever

      "Are users really choosing to install Flash or is it simply that they are being forced into using it?"

      You're thinking of iTunes.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Adblock

      "Oh and Steve is right. Nothing I run on my desktop hogs the CPU quite the way Flash does. "

      More correctly there is nothing on your desktop that hogs CPU quite like having multiple browser tabs open each running multiple flash movies and expecting miracles from your plugin in rendering all this without affecting performance.

      Install an ad blocker or any number of extensions that allow you to selectively pick which content you wish to render without being impacted by the rest.

      1. SuccessCase

        That comment simply pretends the problem didn't exist

        Flash was a huge resource hog. Though it has improved. Apple were particularly annoyed by the Flash implementation on the Mac. It would frequently crash and almost always the simple presence of a Flash animation - just one - would result in all-the-fans-a-whirin'

        It's improved a lot recently. If you don't use a Mac, then you probably didn't suffer the problem because Adobe optimised the PC implementation far better. So yes you could say "use a PC" but this is one of those occasions where there was more than just strategic positioning informing the rhetoric (though I'm under no illusion that was also a strong factor). Adobe's Flash implementation on Apple devices really was truly dreadful and I'm sure many less technical customers would simply blame the platform not the cause, so I can understand why Steve Jobs would be angry about it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          itunes

          Well, I'm annoyed by Apple's implementation of iTunes on the PC. I got over it and switched to a different mp3 player. Nothing is stopping Apple users from doing the same thing. Maybe it's Apple's fault that Flash doesn't run well on their platform.

        2. DrXym Silver badge

          @SuccessCase

          The reasons for performance problem on OS X were largely the environment it had to work with. Put simply:

          a) Flash didn't have access to hardware accelerated video decoding for a long time so it had to do it in software

          b) All Flash content on OS X is rendered windowless so rendering performance relies heavily on the host browser

          c) Various drawing APIs have existed / been deprecated at one time or another in OS X and none until Core Animation were particularly suitable for the job

          d) Cocoa / Carbon threw another spanner in the works. Some browsers being one, some browsers being the other. The Flash plugin being Carbon at one time but Cocoa now.

          e) Some browsers don't provide sufficient info for Flash to know when a tab is visible or hidden so there is no way to dial back refresh rates for hidden movies.

          Most of them have been addressed to some extent which is why Flash performance is a lot better these days.

          Note that Flash on Windows has never performed as badly because DirectVideo / DirectDraw + windowed mode meant Flash found it a lot easier to do what it wanted.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Joke

            @DrXym

            So what you're saying is Apple is a poorly designed, poorly managed clusterf*ck. Who could have guessed?

            1. John Bailey
              Thumb Up

              Well..

              This is what happens when you rely on magic instead of technology.. The poor little Unicorns are just not up to the job.

          2. JEDIDIAH
            Linux

            It's the page, not the plugin.

            Whether or not Flash sucks is also a function of the web master.

            There are acceleration features in Flash but many sites don't use them. Some sites are sluggish still even running the latest version of Flash on Windows 7. Some sites are indeed CPU hogs. It's all about how they use Flash.

            Adobe did need a good kick in the pants. If nothing else Cardinal Steve provided that much.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re

          "Apple were particularly annoyed by the Flash implementation on the Mac. It would frequently crash and almost always the simple presence of a Flash animation - just one - would result in all-the-fans-a-whirin'

          It's improved a lot recently. If you don't use a Mac, then you probably didn't suffer the problem because Adobe optimised the PC implementation far better."

          Wrong. Flash worked better on the PC because the PC vendors optimized it. The mighty Stevey J refused to allow Flash to access hardware acceleration on the Mac, causing it to run poorly. That's the problem when you're a child who can't share, you end up playing ball by yourself like Mr. Jobs.

    3. G Wilson
      Big Brother

      By that "logic":

      Hear, hear! In addition, I don't have a web browser because I want it, but those pesky web sites I want to use keep forcing me to render html.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      whatever.

      Sounds like you are doing something wrong. I have a 2.5 year old AMD dual core processor, 2 gig of RAM on Windows XP, and can load 15+ tabs (with most of those having flash content) in firefox without a stutter. I haven't reinstalled anything since I upgraded the processor/motherboard 2.5 years ago. I think you are making this up.

  4. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Happy

    Sorry and all

    Despite what the self-promoting saviour of tech Mr Jobs thinks, needs must when the devil drives. Yes Flash can be an abomination, but we want it, same as we want other things that may not be good for us, like coffee, cream donuts and alcohol!

    Sorry Jobs, but sometimes the best option is not always the one people go for. Flash is nasty, but it's a quick and dirty way to get "shiny" webpages into peoples hands, so we want it!

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Flash is desktop orientated

      It's not so much that, it is that Flash is designed for point and click desktops not multitouch devices.

      If lack of flash means less people create awful unusable Flash websites with custom interfaces then I'm grateful.

      Google manage to create all manner of web applications without Flash, the only time they use Flash is for Street View.

      1. Argh

        And YouTube

        Don't forget YouTube, which they keep saying can't be fully converted to HTML5 due to the limitations on control of streaming video.

      2. Jason Hall

        No thanks

        "If lack of flash means less people create awful unusable Flash websites with custom interfaces then I'm grateful."

        YES. *THIS*

        Sometimes you need flash to do certain things. Mostly however - you just don't.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abort / Retry / Fail

    Bloody marvelous, 20 million more flashturbators on the planet

  6. Vince Lewis 1

    Dear Mr Jobs...

    Please can you ban Adobe Acrobat from your shiney aluminium toys too. I would very much like to see Adobe fix that massively bloated and slow walking corpse that is Adobe Acrobat. While I avoid it like a plague of zombies, I have no choice in a work environment.

    1. John Molloy
      Go

      Jobs Replies...

      OSX renders pdfs natively. You can read and create pdfs without the need for Acrobat on a Mac.

  7. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Wahey!

    "In reviving Flash, Google has undermined its own march towards open video."

    Doesn't that really say more about a dead end and obsolete technology being a massive success just to spite apple?

    Flash has always crashed a lot on the desktop but i'd still choose it anyday than get locked in an obsolete, dead end company like apple.

    The only way they're going is down.

    They lost the desktop war, they lost the browser war, they're losing the smartphone war.

    History repeats itself again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      And you're losing the plot...

      It is numpties like you that view this as a war! Grow up son, your a dullard.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        FAIL

        RE: AC

        And it's numpties like you who troll

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

          Yeah - that's it. Use the troll name instead of an actual argument.

    2. John Molloy
      Thumb Down

      Except they didn't

      "They lost the desktop war"

      Please stop with the tired argument that Apple lost the desktop war. Yes, IBM came in and ripped off the Apple II (slotted, expandable computer with a keyboard and monitor attached) and won the war. At no time did the Mac hold any significant share.

      "they lost the browser war"

      The battle for the web browser has been won with WebKit, which owes a significant chunk of its existence to Apple and the work it gave back to the community while developing Safari.

      "they're losing the smartphone war."

      The battle for the smartphone is far from over. I would like you to illustrate having 4% of global handset sales and 51% of the profit is "losing" from any way you look at it.

      Either way this has nothing to do with Flash. Just sounds like a "Apple iz Evil" rant to me, with extra added cynicism from the guy who's probably happy to use Android, despite the fact that before the iPhone it was going to be Rimm-off.

      1. Geoff Campbell
        Boffin

        IBM ripped off the Apple II?

        Get out of town! *Every* small computer of the age followed the same formula, some form of back-plane to connect together various boards, with a motherboard either as part of the backplane board or one of the add-in cards. The Apple II was just another one of the same.

        I've got a loft full of examples if you really want me to quote them at you, but it's such common knowledge that I'm loath to put the time in going up there, to be honest.

        GJC

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Boffin

          IBM...

          Nice try at revisionism Geoff, what have you get then? I can guarantee you that they are all post the Apple II, unless you try and trot out the Altair 8800, Apple I (!) or the Micral N which aren't really desktop microcomputers. IBM weren't in the personal computer game when the Apple II came out in 1977. The Apple II's main competitors when it was released were the ROM-only-expandable Commodore PET and the Tandy/RadioShack TRS 80 which was problematic at best when it came to expansion, forming the "'77 trinity". The Apple II series was the first commercial available microcomputer to offer expansion cards /by design/. IBM were definitely influenced by this heavily, certainly as much as Apple were 'influenced' by Xerox.

  8. Rupert Stubbs

    So what?

    No-one actually likes Flash - they put up with it as a necessary evil, just so they can watch the odd video clip. They install complicated programs to try to suppress it wherever they can, to avoid the intrusiveness of Flash ads. They curse it as their browsers beachball or crash - Chrome is even designed to limit the damage Flash can do by restricting its influence just to the page it's on.

    How sadly typical, then, that El Reg appears to be championing Flash - where in any other circumstances they would be howling for it to be destroyed - merely because Steve Jobs, El Reg's bête noir, has banned it from iOS.

    If a common, agreed web video format were magically agreed on today, would anyone (apart from advertisers) give a toss about Flash tomorrow?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      They're not really championing Flash

      El Reg is doing one of the things it always does; irreverently poking fun at the gap between reality and the way various companies might wish things were. In this case, Jobs has stood up and said that Flash isn't suitable for mobile. It nevertheless seems to have obtained a foothold. So there's a story there, which for comment leavers seems primarily to be about Apple and control but in the story seems to be more about Adobe putting in some real work and a market full of players that take some positions just to differentiate themselves from Apple.

    2. CD001

      *sighs*

      ----

      If a common, agreed web video format were magically agreed on today, would anyone (apart from advertisers) give a toss about Flash tomorrow?

      ----

      Do a search on "Flash Games" and I think you'll see that yes, many people would miss Flash - it isn't just about video you know. Contrary to popular belief, the web isn't just used for lolcats and pr0n.

      1. Jason Hall

        Heresy

        "the web isn't just used for lolcats and pr0n."

        You lie.

      2. John Molloy
        FAIL

        @CD001

        'Do a search on "Flash Games" and I think you'll see that yes, many people would miss Flash - it isn't just about video you know."

        I think most games that run in Flash have been converted to native iOS apps by now.

        1. ChrisC
          Thumb Down

          Native iOS conversions...

          Oh well, that's OK then, I'll uninstall Flash as soon as I get home. Now, remind me, from whereabouts would I download the iOS app loader for Windows 7? Can't seem to find it on the Apple site...

        2. Michael C

          playability = worthless

          1) Most of those flash games are not even compatible with 10.1 on Android: too many images to pre-load and not enough RAM. At best, it;s a limited functional experience, and at worst, it not only auto-kills all your background apps as it fill up RAM, and closes other tabs in your browser you might have wanted to keep open, but it crashes the phone itself on many sites, and causes you to reboot.

          2) many of these flash games are meant to be played by leaving them running in a browser for long periods, or by continually interacting with the app, which is not only difficult to do on a phone screen, but it kills your battery fast, and back-grounding has questionable results as the site's flash content doesn't know how to use your phone's notification engine, nor respect the boundaries placed on background tasks.

          3) Games designed for a mouse and keyboard suck on touchscreens, especialyl ones that rely on clicking on large numbers of small objects, especially when click and drag is not a designed in feature (farmville is AWFUL to play without a real mouse for example, yet the native app supports dragging functions the browser version does not, and actually increases playability).

          4) many a good flash game have been readily ported to (and run better as) native phone apps.

          5) running flash 24x7 even when you're not using a flash site is just dumb. It needs to be at the least a hot-load plug-in, or should show the flash content in a separate (and sandboxed) frame. This is particularly an issue when you leave tabs open with web adds that continually try to cycle content, and can kill your battery in hours...

          Flash is not a blessing, it;s a plague upon the web. 95% of the content it actually supports on a phone is ads and poorly designed web interfaces most of us block or get past by electing a non-flash optional version of the site. encrypted flash video still can't be played, most flash apps don;t actually work or worse crash the device, short of some web video equally displayable in H.264 or WebM, what does flash actually bring to a mobile device that we actually want? nothing. It is NOT full flash, it is but a subset, and the majority of it we don;t want and/or can otherwise get, so WHY BOTHER!

  9. It wasnt me
    Thumb Down

    Steve Jobs is a troll.

    Stop feeding the troll. Stop giving press time to his million and one reasons he doesnt like flash. They are a smokescreen. The _only_ reason he doesn't like flash is that if enabled on his shiny devices, it provides an effective means of creating content with _identical_ behaviour to 99% of the tat in his app store, that can be embedded in web pages. He will lose control of the app store and its revenue stream.

    That in itself is a fair enough argument and could be supported. He just looks childish coming up with all the other excuses.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Exactly

      Flash is a platform (e.g. AIR). It's cross platform and runs independent of any controls that Apple could impose on it. That is the one and only reason it has been banned from the iPhone. It's the same reason that other competing "runtimes" are also banned, e.g. apps with scripting languages, HTML engines and so forth. For example if Apple allowed Firefox onto the iPhone then (shock horror) people would be able to run apps which were written with XUL.

      We can't have that now can we?

      1. aThingOrTwo

        Web Apps?

        > It's cross platform and runs independent of any controls that Apple could impose on it. That is the one and only reason it has been banned from the iPhone.

        Great theory, but if all that is true why are Apple encourage the development of web apps as an alternative to native Cocoa Touch development.

    2. Michael C

      would that it could

      ...or if even you were right, which you are not.

      1) most flash content online is ALREADY free, and would equally be so in the iOS store. Supporting flash might actually save apple money, not cost it.

      2) even with flash on phones, do you have any idea how few flash apps actually WORK on it? Few if any flash games do at all, most crash the device, or at best kill background apps and tabs you otherwise wanted open when the flash content fills all available RAM.

      3) 95% of the fortune 500 use flash on their web sites, but only 6% do it for any content other than display ADS!

      4) every native app i have in iOS that is a clone of a flash app works MUCH better, runs more stable, has better graphics(or the same), has better response, backgrounds without issue, survives being killed or re-launched and returns exactly where i left it, and most of them have sufficiently better UIs. And, while playing them, i see far less ad content (if any at all) and many of them can be played with no connection to the net at all.

      There are but a few reasons Apple does not like Flash.

      1) it's CLOSED, and royalty burdened

      2) its the single largest target of Viruses actively infecting machines out of every app in the world

      3) it's buggy as hell

      4) there's no need to use RAM and CPU to maintain an RTE engine when it;s not doing anything, especially something Java itself can readily replicate with better performance and better functionality if someone bothered to learn a "real" language to write their code in.

      5) Adobe has yet to actually submit a version of flash for mobiles that actually runs ALL flash code. Even flash 10.2 upcoming still only supports a subset of flash sites, and poorly at that.

      6) everything flash can do, excluding encryption and some types of overtly annoying ad content, can be done in other available completely free systems, or though a native app.

      Jobs may be a troll in your view, but Adobe is a PARASITE, one with a failing business model, buggy insecure software, and no future vision. They are readily replaced, and easily forgotten once done. In nearly 3 years surfing on an iPhone, 3 times only have i found a site i could not get the data i wanted from (or find an alternative hosting the exact same content) because i didn't have flash. 2 of those 3 also can't be browsed in Froyo with flash 10.1, and the latter was a web demo I was able to request as a standalone executive I ran on a PC later (without installing flash).

      See, in the business world, most of us already live without flash. It's BANNED, as a security risk. We also removed Acrobat for similar reasons. We are under government mandated security guidelines, and we actually have to ACTIVELY scan for flash installs, log the event, and remove it, using the exact same processes we use to document the remove virus threats. Any web site that might expect government, public sector, or major business employees to hit has already left flash behind, or uses alternatives when flash isn't available, or use Java. most of the major video sites not using encryption (which requires a native app on mobiles, since 10.1 can't do encryption), already converted to HTML5 and work just fine without flash. Only a few companies adobe is literally PAYING to keep flash online are sticking to it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    just because lots of people are doing it...

    doesnt make it right.

    1. Tim Parker

      Re : just because lots of people are doing it...

      > doesnt make it right.

      Indeed.

      http://despair.com/tradition.html

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Was this the kick in the arse that Adobe needed?

    The Steve Jobs rant on Flash was IMHO at the time entirely justified.

    Perhaps this is was was needed to make Adobe realise that it was a POS and do something about it instead of going

    Na-na-na-na-na-I don't hear you-Flash is fantastic from the sidelines.

    It would be very adult of Apple to re-examine flash now or in the future and say

    'Well done Adobe. It ain't a CPU hog any more. Welcome to the iPhone'

    We shall have to wait & see if that actually happens won't we?

    Personally, I don't miss Flash at all. There again, perhaps I don't visit flash laden sites (porn?)?

  12. Jim Carter
    Pirate

    The thought occurs

    That Google et al only embraced Flash in a big way because it gave themselves a simple and easy way to differentiate themselves from Apple. If Apple eventually bites the bullet and includes support for Flash on the iOS ecosystem (yes, I know, a big if), what next for the other smartphone makers?

    1. Miek
      Linux

      The thought occurs ..

      that people will still buy other smart-phones because they are not apple phones, that IS an advantage for many who don't want to run iTunes. How can apple compete with that ?

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        @Miek

        You're thinking of nerds. Normal people pick phones based on a combination of their features, handset cost and available price plans. The vast majority of the phone market don't read technical publications like this and don't care in the slightest who the manufacturer isn't.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Until you learn...

            what "form over function' *actually* means, I suggest you keep your childish opinions to yourself! Before you witter on, all ill-informed like, the iPhone's physical form is dictated /by/ it's function. It looks the way it does based on the components it contains and the overall function of it's screen. Ives is a fan of Dieter Rams, a proponent of the minimal design aesthetic, hence Apple minimalist direction. The UI does *exactly* the same thing. It is designed so it doesn't get in the way! In fact if you actually compare mobile apps from one platform to another, the look and feel is remarkably similar as is the FUNCTION! By lack of features, you clearly mean Flash. Meh. So, wind your neck in numbnuts.

  13. D. M
    Paris Hilton

    Long way to go, but good start

    Flash on phone is sort of handy but not must have, at least for now.

    Flash is still too slow on less powerful phone (high end phone is fine), and it is over 11mb in size. That's huge for mobile "app".

    You need to root your phone, to move it to SD. They should really work on:

    Reducing the size or move at least part to SD.

    Improving the speed.

    PH, well do I need to say more?

  14. Steve Evans

    Torn...

    I really am torn on this... On one hand I hate St Jobs' "I know what's good for you" control freak attitude, the main reason I own nothing fruit-themed, but on the other hand I hate the lazy arty "web designers", ironically most of whom work on Macs, that don't/can't write HTML and just throw an entire site up that is nothing more than embedded flash!

    So in summary, I demand the right to waste my mobile bandwidth and data cap by downloading a huge, pointless flash thingy if I want to, but I also want to be able to turn it off in my mobile browser!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Lazy...

      What a trite post and utter bullshit to boot! The majority of web designers do indeed work on Macs, but a significant majority hand code websites using standards-based semantic markup. I suggest Steve that you remove your head from your arse.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Lazy

        Did I say *all*? No I did not. I singled out the lazy ones who's entire HTML consists of the flash embedding wrapper which they automatically generate.

        You decided to walk into the firing line of my comment all by yourself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Grow up Steve.

          You insinuated it. Get over yourself and get that head out of your arse.

          1. Steve Evans
            Pint

            Re: Grow up Steve

            I apologise if you miss understood the target of my comments, but I did clarify it in my first reply... Now please lay off the coffee and stop being such a victim.

            Try a beer.

  15. BoscoH
    Heart

    Jobs lied

    The Flash ban had everything to do with trying to maintain control of the platform so Apple could control the profits and make sure it got the bulk of them. It is a far better and more appropriate API than Cocoa Touch for 95% of mobile apps.

    Valentines because.

    1. Michael C
      Grenade

      complete drivel

      almost all flash content online is ALREADY FREE. Jobs and Co loose no money if they support adobe, since every flash app that became an iOS was is STILL free.

      Any suggestion that blocking Adobe is a measure of control simply points out the morons in the room. Adobe was blocked because;

      1) more viruses are spread through its bugs than any other combination of apps.

      2) it's buggy as hell

      3) it has to load the entire payload into RAM, which kills other apps and web tabs open, which is already a critical issue on phones notably low in RAM capacity. (native apps don;t load the whole thing into RAM, only the pieces tey're using, meaning you can background 10 native apps where you might only be able to beep just 1 web page open playing one of those apps online).

      4) keeping an RTE resident in memory when you;re not using any content is dumb.

      5) even mobile flash 10.1 still only plays a fraction of all flash content, and there's no good way to tell when a flash site will cause you issue and not. It might download a big payload, kill a bunch of your background apps you don't want killed, and then still fail to run. MOST web games fall into this classification.

      6) Adobe never submitted a version of flash for the iPhone, ever. They absolutely insist apple build it inside the safari package itself, and not be a standalone app. Can you imagine Microsoft of Mozilla making Flash a native component of their browser that THEY had to upkeep and patch themselves as opposed to an on-demand plug-in which could be separately controlled?

      7) it still can't playback encrypted content, which is what 90% of online flash video that isn't already H.264 is.

      8) If apple complied, and added flash, and you go to a site with ad content, and the add is continually refreshed, and you change out of safari and leave that page backgrounded in a tab, your battery WILL: DIE. (I know many people who kill their android batteries that way).

      The iOS store is NOT about profit. It BARELY profits at all (music video and apps total). it is a SERVICE to help drive device sales. Apple can give two craps about making money from apps, they care about device stability, battery life, quality app content, and user security. An RTE inside safari, is counter to every single thing that makes using a device fun, simple, and reliable. This continued topic of "apple blocked this because it hurts their profit" is simply utter trash talk, with no basis in fact, and counter to apple's model. Why even allow free apps in the iOS store if this was about profit? If its free on the web, and ad supported, it would STILL BE FREE, there is no financial loss to Apple here.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Phil Hare 2

        Fact and figures

        -- "The iOS store is NOT about profit. It BARELY profits at all (music video and apps total). it is a SERVICE to help drive device sales. Apple can give two craps about making money from apps, they care about device stability, battery life, quality app content, and user security"

        That all sounds great, but please forgive me if I don't take your word for it. Where can I find this information from an independent or peer reviewed source?

        Thanks.

        P.S: "Lose" has one "o" in it.

  16. Cameron Colley

    Can someone please explain waht "hardware acceleration" means?

    In this article it is mentioned twice, once when it is suggested that Abode are working on "hardware accelerated" Flash and once when it is mentioned that hardware support for WebM is coming.

    So, if hardware support needs to be built into phones (etc.) for WebM to be hardware accelerated, how come Adobe can work on Flash and make it hardware accelerated with no help from the chip designers?

    I am lead to conclude that what is being said here is that nobody has yet optimised VP8 for hardware with video acceleration chips. Is this the case?

    Or, as someone has asked before, to chip manufacturers really bake in support for the specific operations of H.264 such that no other CoDec can make use of them?

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      It means exactly what it says

      using the graphic hardware for operations that you would otherwise have to use the CPU for. This includes things like, but not limited to, scaling, texture fill, pixmap copying, shading, and may go up as far as complex rendering such as hidden object removal, surface mapping, and shadow and light-source calculation. Of course, much of this is unnecessary for Flashplayer, and having a hardware H.264 decoder built into the graphics hardware is probably what MPEG-LA and it's members (including Apple) are talking about.

      What Adobe may be doing is adding direct support for certain mobile graphic chipsets directly in Flash. They can do this without the graphics hardware vendors direct support if the graphics API is well enough documented. Of course, documenting such things to sufficient detail is entirely foreign to some companies.

      In the PC world, much of this is not really necessary because you have abstraction layers like DirectX or OpenGL with hardware vendor support, and can have hardware accelerated graphics while only writing to one or two well-known API's. As far as I am aware, there is no such abstraction for any of the mobile platforms, but I would be happy for someone to correct me if that is not the case.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Happy

        I shall correct you then, as I want you to be happy.

        Implementations of OpenGL on mobile devices have been around for a number of years now.

        Look up OpenGL ES for starters.....

        1. Cameron Colley

          @Peter Gathercole

          Thanks, but you are kind of saying what I already understand -- that, either through API or compiler optimisations (or ASM or whatever), you are using a chip to carry out complex instructions geared to a particular purpose -- like "MMS" for multimedia (and SIMD and the like).

          What I am asking is: Is the H.264 hardware so specific that it can only be used by calling an interrupt and feeding it the video, which it then has a hard-coded routine to deal with? Or, are there specific instructions baked into the hardware that are of a great deal of use when decoding H.264 but which could be used for other purposes in the same way that graphics cards and MMS instructions can be used for tasks they were not originally designed for?

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            @cameron

            If I read it correctly, the MPEG-LA consortium are wanting H.264 decoders in the silicon, so that to play it, you do some setup (window size and position etc.) and then just throw the encoded byte stream directly at the hardware. Almost zero CPU usage.

            If this is the case, you may be able to use some of the other accelerated features for WebM, but not the direct decoding.

            Again, I am happy to be corrected by someone with more knowledge.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Flash has different requirements to OpenGL

        "In the PC world, much of this is not really necessary because you have abstraction layers like DirectX or OpenGL with hardware vendor support, and can have hardware accelerated graphics while only writing to one or two well-known API's. As far as I am aware, there is no such abstraction for any of the mobile platforms, but I would be happy for someone to correct me if that is not the case."

        Android and iOS both support OpenGL ES at various levels. That is an abstraction for graphics rendering though it wouldn't do much for video decoding.

        Flash needs APIs that decode frames of video content and APIs that scale the result, convert between YUV to RGB and composite the result with other RGB elements. The reason why Flash has traditionally worked better on Windows is because it supplies those APIs. Also Windows doesn't make the same distinction between a frame window and a widget that Linux and OS X do which makes it easier for Flash to draw its own content area without bothering the browser to do it.

        Android appears to be introducing something called Renderscript which is a CUDA / OpenCL like layer for writing apps which are targetted to LLVM and compiled at runtime to run natively on CPU or GPU depending on what the hardware is there. Sounds funky and might allow devices which have piles of shaders laying around to put them to use doing compute intensive stuff without the program really caring too much about the specifics.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Potted description

      Hardware acceleration means calling out to the CPU / GPU to do the heavy lifting on something which is compute expensive. But it means the OS has to supply the APIs and if it doesn't then things must be done in software which can be painful.

      One of the traditional criticisms of Flash is it's slow on OS X and Linux but if you read the technical articles it is down to lack of system APIs that could speed things up. For example, this blog explains in a lot of detail why OS X has traditionally had problems with Flash content and how Core Animation improves the situation a lot.

      http://www.kaourantin.net/2010/02/core-animation.html

      I suspect that Flash on android is doing more in software than it should and probably for the same reasons as happened in OS X (and continues on Linux) - lack of system APIs that suit its purpose. I imagine that things could be improved a lot in that regard.

      1. Michael C
        WTF?

        wrong.

        OS X flash performance was not due to a lack of the APIs, it's due to a lack of Adobe CALLING THEM.

        The Core Animation APIs have been around since OS X 10.5... iOS equally includes hardware specific APIs and Open GL ES. Adobe simply chose not to code for it (as they fail to code well at all, leaving us with one of the buggiest, most exploited, craptastic apps ever distributed).

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Screeching from the rectory.

          > OS X flash performance was not due to a lack of the

          > APIs, it's due to a lack of Adobe CALLING THEM.

          Nope. It was due to lack of the proper low level APIs like Windows and Linux both had available before Apple did.

          Once Apple finally got around to releasing a somewhat comparable interface, Adobe adopted it.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Who reallly is last to the party?

        > I suspect that Flash on android is doing more in

        > software than it should and probably for the same

        > reasons as happened in OS X (and continues on

        > Linux) - lack of system APIs that suit its purpose

        Linux has had suitable acceleration APIs for some time now. It's had them for a lot longer than Apple has. Adobe has just dragged it's feet in using them. Although their latest version does use what's available.

        It's very effective on sites that actually use the newer rendering features that take advantage of such hardware acceleration.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      This is just a software tweak, but proper Flash hardware acceleration exists

      Flash already takes advantage of some hardware to make things go faster. The particular stuff vaguely referenced in this article is their video pipeline assumed you wanted to draw "Flashy" stuff over the top of the video and so didn't go as fast as it possibly could because they hardware wanted to just throw video on the screen. They've added a new optimised path where if you're running the latest Flash 10.2 and the site has updated to take advantage of it then videos will go a little bit faster, because you've basically given it an easier task by avoiding doing anything that the existing hardware can't cope with.

      On the other hand support for VP8 is a bit more low level. Similar in scope to the hardware based acceleration for Flash that Nvidia have added to their Tegra2 chipsets that are present in basically all the Android tablets being launched in Barcelone as we speak. Tegra2 makes various other bits of Flash, beyond the bog-standard video acceleration, a bit nippier by adding custom support for it in the hardware (note that Tegra2 also has VP8 acceleration so it's really going to piss Steve Jobs off).

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Miek
    Linux

    MacTroll Fiesta

    Queue all the noise about how bad flash is, personally I feel it works well enough.

  18. John Tserkezis

    Damn you Steve Jobs...

    For having a hissy fit about flash, and in turn making it more popular everywhere else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Make it better

      "Damn you Steve Jobs... For having a hissy fit about flash, and in turn making it more popular everywhere else."

      Damn you Steve Jobs... For making Adobe pull their fingers out and code it a little better.

  19. windybeach

    Flash

    Heartily agree with "Jobs LIed", Apple are preventing anyone having any fun with their phone without apple taking a hefty cut from it.

    Apple is in danger of provoking the sort of outrage that Microsoft caused last decade in bundling ie and media player with Windows as Apple going a step further in banning applications which replace the functionality of current or native Apps..... very dangerous ground I would say

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Tom Chiverton 1

    Umm, no ?

    "Flash Player 10.1, the first full version of Flash built specifically for mobiles"

    I guess the v9 player in my Nokia^HMicrosoft N900 isn't then ? Despite being recompiled and hardware accelerated for the ARM SoC from TI ?

  21. big_D Silver badge
    Stop

    CPU hog

    Flash is a CPU hog. Even 10.1 on my Core 2 Duo iMac and Core i7 Windows laptop crawls at times, where the same app written natively for the iPhone doesn't even break a sweat... Flash has its place, but it is, currently, incredibly inefficient.

    As to incorporating WebM in Flash, there isn't currently any "need" for it. There are millions of video cameras and mobile phones which generate h.264 film. So far, I haven't seen a single one that produces WebM output.

    As both h.264 and WebM are lossy formats, it makes no sense at all to convert h.264 to WebM, as the resultant video quality will be degraded even more.

    I would expect open source animation software will be the first real use of WebM, from the content creation side. But until camera makers are on board with WebM, there isn't much incentive for Adobe to include the codec in Flash.

    As others have said, if Google are banning h.264, because it isn't open, why aren't they banning Flash as well? The answer is simple, they have a competing technology against h.264 in the video market (even if it hasn't gained acceptance with device manufacturers), but they don't have a competing product for Flash - apart from html 5 - but they see that it will die a natural death at some point, once html5 becomes more widely supported.

    I surf with Flash disabled, I turn it on manually for the 1% of sites I visit, where it is absolutely necessary for it to run.

  22. Bugs R Us
    Gates Halo

    it's not that somplicated

    I stick with IE, does what I need. But, when I'm "forced" by a site to use Flash, I launch my portable copy of Chrome. 98% of the time I use IE, the 2% I need Flash I use Chrome portable.

    On my Android, I've not need Flash at all thus far.

    I like AIR, however, it's perfectly good option for app development when Objective C and full Java is overkill. I do wish, though Android supported a HTML and JavaScript only model for simple app development.

  23. Paul 172
    Thumb Down

    Flash is a CPU hog...

    ...on most platforms, its getting slightly better on wintel but most platforms are stuck with crappy lazy code that seems to demand 100% of any processors

  24. Alan Denman

    Remember the 30% stupid

    We all k now that much of the 30% Apple tax would be gone in a Flash if it was there.

  25. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Mr Jobs,

    If you take away consumer choice in what they can have on their phones, they will probably choose to take their mobile telephony purchases elsewhere.

    Walled gardens are fine as long as the gates are open to freely permit traffic both in and out. Apple wants the gates bolted and walls razor-wired.

    I will never own any Apple product or service until they change their gulag mentality.

  26. David Kelly 2
    FAIL

    Where is the value?

    I don't see the value in FLASH. I especially dislike surrendering control of my system to an unknown source. Especially if the only "value" is eye-candy.

  27. seansaysthis

    Google Wants flash for ad Delivery

    So Google "we love open standards" wants to push more adds and to do that they need propriety flash. Its their business model and where they see their advertising revenue coming from in stream ads etc.. Flash is the delivery mechanism.

  28. JEDIDIAH
    Linux

    Simply matter of choice...

    This all boils down to a simple matter of choice and whether or not the platform places any value in the ability of the end user to choose for themselves or control their own experience. The issue isn't whether or not Flash is any good but whether or not anyone else has any business deciding this point for us.

    I should be able to decide this for myself, not some self-appointed dictator.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Choice...

      1. You have a choice. It's called Android.

      2. What about the choice of the consumer to "let someone else worry about that"? That's the trouble with you freetards, it's your way or the highway! How dictatorial.

  29. Leeroy
    Thumb Up

    Apple dont like flash because of its app store

    It really is quite simple......

    1. Apple dont like flash because you could play games etc on your iPhone without them having to be approved / paid for via the app store.

    2. They have a point about power drain, but all games seem to drain the power on my android and before that my nokia. I am sure that the app store bought games on the iPhone / Pad drain the battery just as much.

    3. You can block flash.

    4. Let Apple / Oranges do what they like, I have the choice at the end of the day and competition is good for consumers.

    5. The 80 / 20 idea will not be "Blown to bits" any time soon.

  30. aThingOrTwo

    Apple didn't ban flash, it wasn't ready in time

    > Apple has banned Flash from iOS since the iPhone launched in 2007

    More like Adobe was consistently unable to deliver a working version of flash suitable for iPhone or iPhone 3G hardware. That's accurate, not spin put on it by this article. Apple was open to working with Adobe on Flash, to begin with. They did lose patience though.

    > Apple backs HTML5 video as well, but it's part of the patent pool that licenses H.264.

    And they pay more into it than they will ever see out of it. Same deal with Microsoft. I hate they way this is trotted around like there is some ulterior motive behind support of H.264.

    The reason why H.264 is backed is because not blinded by philosophical concerns both Microsoft, Apple and others are able to identify it is the codec which is technically superior and has broad industry support.

  31. Walt French

    Ooooh! Soon (?) to run on a majority of devices!

    “Adobe expects that by the end of 2011, Flash Player will be supported by 132 million devices, including tablets.”

    Well, that'll be a majority if the Wall Street Journal has its facts dead wrong about Apple introducing several new mobile devices, including a low-cost, high-volume new phone. *AND* if the Motorola Xoom goes on sale for a few hundred dollars less than the leaks/rumors we're seeing.

    Is there a single Register reader who does NOT expect Apple to intro an upgraded iPad in 2011, one that'll have all the current apps, IT friendliness, ecosystem, and customer appeal of last year's breakthrough device, and then some?

    Many will express a wait-and-see attitude about new phones, but the WSJ doesn't print stuff that they have to retract; they have the goods, whether direct from Apple or otherwise.

    So unless Adobe has come to Apple with a kick-butt Flash engine for iOS— one that works a lot better than the reviews we read about the balky Android experiences— there are going to be a LOT more non-Flash devices that delight their users just fine, and a LOT fewer Flash tablets & phones than Adobe is optimistically projecting.

    Meanwhile, I see that Jobs has continued to keep Flash from running on any of the current BlackBerrys. That he managed to slow down WebOS from running Flash on any currently-available device (and he made sure that the recent announcements were about a BETA, not production-quality version of Flash). That he's kept Flash off all the Nokia phones, not to mention all the generations of Windows phones.

    The majority of non-Apple mobile devices today can't run Flash, including a fair number of recommended Androids, and most of those will never get any upgrade that lets them run it.All the commenters who talk about Jobs being the über-Nazi of non-choice must give him credit for these other platforms' shortcomings.

    (OK, enough with the hyperbole: If you bought a device yesterday that doesn't run Flash, you can figure that you'll have to scrap it to get Flash. Thank Adobe for its tardiness.)

    But back to reality. Today, 20 million flash users is a drop in the mobile ocean. The huge majority of mobile users can't see those stupid intro pages that keep you out of restaurants' websites. Can't enjoy the blinky ads some sites are so fond of. Are forced to view videos via HTML standards and the world's most efficient, widely-used codec (h.264), like YouTube serves up for iOS users.

    Some day, Adobe will have the engineering prowess to get Flash on a majority of mobiles. And as the Register notes, it will help users who want legacy technology. For now, it's just a contentious sidenote to mobile computing.

  32. flexengineer

    Apple's war on Flash is a scam.

    I think you are missing the whole point: the entire campaign against Flash from Apple has one motive and one motive only: maintain Apple's control over applications and entertainment. If Flash would be supported on Apple's devices then who would bother install apps and paying Apple money if they can do the same if not better right off the browser.

    Steve Jobs's problem is not Flash not working well, it's Flash being a threat to AppStore and iTunes, all they got is trouble with regulators around the world.

    Adobe Flash and AIR are taking over, Flash will be on 50 tablets to be shipped this year, how long with Apple be able to maintain the lie and make everyone believe Flash does not work?

    The backslash is going to be painful because customers are not stupid.

    I wrote an extensive article on the subject, might want to check it out:

    I think you are missing the whole point: the entire campaign against Flash from Apple has one motive and one motive only: maintain Apple's control over applications and entertainment. If Flash would be supported on Apple's devices then who would bother install apps and paying Apple money if they can do the same if not better right off the browser.

    Steve Jobs's problem is not Flash not working well, it's Flash being a threat to AppStore and iTunes, all they got is trouble with regulators around the world.

    Adobe Flash and AIR are taking over, Flash will be on 50 tablets to be shipped this year, how long with Apple be able to maintain the lie and make everyone believe Flash does not work?

    The backslash is going to be painful because customers are not stupid.

    I wrote an extensive article on the subject, might want to check it out:

    http://applesucks.squarespace.com/blog/screw-you-apple-there-will-be-a-quarter-billion-flash-enable.html

  33. Andy 36
    Stop

    Give it up Adobe, Flash is Dead

    Flash on any mobile device is plain and utter garbage.

    Adobe are clutching at straws if they believe the future of Flash is mobile. It's a fat, bloated, insecure, CPU and battery hogging application that is completely unnecessary today.

    HTML & Jscript work just fine (except audio), HTML5 will offer even more (audio,workerthreads,svg,etc) . Mobile applications should be low cost in term of processing and data usage. Flash is none of these. If I needed a richer experience in a mobile app, I'd go native.

    When I get a new Android device, the first thing to go is Adobe Flash, it is not welcome.

  34. mraak

    Vector anyone?

    Steve can shut his piehole until he creates a runtime that can play interactive vector animation in a browser.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah, flash is dead, wait for the HTML5 CPU hog!!!

    - you will just be trading one badly user-programmed flash insert, for another equally badly user-programmed HTML5 insert!!!!

    and I think you will find that many *normal, non-geek* phone users JUST want their website to work properly, including the flash graphics.... IF it does not work they will just dump the phone, for one that does...

    This is the main reason windows is so popular, they give the idiot public what they want, mainly fancy things that do funny things, and who cares about the tech stuff, they just want their stuff to work!! :( :(

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