Friday, September 3, 2010

Jobs Right on Flash Quality After All?

The "it plays Flash!" feature of non-Apple smartphones may not be all it's cracked up to be. When users find that Flash loads, they may find the experience to be as technology and telecom reporter Ryan Lawler describes it for for

And how was that experience?

"Shockingly bad."

The site links a video of a 1GHz Nexus One smartphone on a 25Mbps broadband connection, which should be ideal for showcasing just how wrong Steve Jobs was about the potential of Flash on low-power mobile devices. Instead, the Nexus One video showcases just how accurate his assessment of Adobe's product continues to be: the UI seems to support mis-clicks and links to the wrong content; the waits are significant even when trying to download content on a fast broadband connection; unexpected errors occur and advise trying to experience the pain later; and when you finally find a site that does not result in an error (in his case, a show episode on Fox), there is not even a small segment of smooth video.

Kevin Teufel's assessment:
"That's seconds per frame, not frame per second. . . . I don't know about you, but I could not watch a full episode like that."

The little flag that appears atop your "video" is not encouraging: this video not optimized for mobile. Well, wasn't that what Adobe promised? Provide content everywhere and experience the "full web"? The whole time the video demo is underway, it's crystal clear that the experience one gets isn't the "whole web".

Seeking content from MetaCafé yielded a Hulu video, but Hulu is blocked on Flash mobile devices. MetaCafé, which was more reliable than other sites in yielding working videos, also had a video from an action movie, and the subjective video experience was so bad (the combination of skipped frames and other factors) that the things that were supposed to look quick looked spliced-in, and things that were supposed to be slo-mo looked choppy.

I don't claim 3G video is great on iPhones, but the video above demos performance on a WiFi network attached to a 25Mbps broadband connection. It's not 3G, it's the best case for the Flash/Nexus One combo.


No comments: