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No Flash video on iPad & iPhone?

Feb 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Articles

Who blocked Flash from iPhone, iPad and Android? It may be the telephone carriers, not Apple or Google. Flash downloads gobble up bandwidth and run up charges. The New York Times reported that the new iPad can’t play Flash video and speculated that it was Apple who decided that Flash would not be used on the iPhone. Apple has argued that the Flash technology is too slow and unduly taxes laptops and netbooks. The company also has concerns over Flash’s vulnerability to viruses and other malware, as well as the way Flash-based content can voraciously consume battery life.

Is it coincidence that Google’s Android phones also don’t play Flash video? Maybe phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile don’t want the network load. Maybe smartphone users don’t want to pay bandwidth charges for Flash ads appearing on their phones. The bandwith required for other types of online content created in Flash, including animated advertisements and online gaming may not be how cellphone carriers want to tax their network capacities.

Many online video sites have been experimenting with a new video format, called HTML5. Unlike Flash, which is a downloaded piece of software that can interact with a computer’s operating system, HTML5 works directly in a Web browser.

The popular video-sharing site is also experimenting with new platforms, based on comments from its online community. “We received a tremendous amount of feedback from our users saying that they wanted to have HTML5 as an option for their videos,” said Andrew Pile, vice president for product and development at Vimeo, an online video service. Mr. Pile does not see this new format replacing Vimeo’s Flash-video inventory, but will instead offer it as an option for its viewers.

And while HTML5 may help standardize Web video, it does not necessarily address the needs of other types of online content created in Flash, including animated advertisements, short “adult” movies and online gaming.

What do you think? Is it Apple who left Flash video out of the iPhone and iPad, or was it AT&T and the other carriers? How would you feel about paying bandwidth charges for unwanted Flash video advertising?

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  1. Well, it looks like it was Apple that barred Flash from the iPhone. On the NYTimes Bits Blog, Nick Bilton reported a change in the developer agreement for applications developers.

    Under the heading “APIs and Functionality,” a paragraph states that Apple will not allow applications onto the iPad and iPhone unless they are built using Apple’s propriety software.

    But wait! Google is also coming out with a Slate, and this one WILL run Flash, supposedly. In another Bits posting by Nick Bilton, partygoers reported that Eric Schmidt of Google spoke about a new device that would exclusively run the Android operation system and it will run Adobe Flash content and games.

    So, maybe soon my Android phone will run Flash? It doesn’t now. What I get looks a lot like the image at the top of this article.

  2. A year has gone by, and not much has changed. The Motorola Xoom Android tablet was expected to ship with Adobe’s Flash browser plug-in. Nope. No Flash. Here’s what Wired Magazine had to say.

    Motorola’s $800 white elephant, the Xoom tablet, will ship without Adobe’s Flash browser plug-in. The news, gleaned from small print on Verizon’s new Xoom pre-order page, has been confirmed by both Motorola and Adobe.

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