Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

Summary:With the spotlight on Adobe Flash for mobile, thanks to Apple's distaste for it, an onstage demo of Flash crashing twice doesn't help the cause.

updated below with response from Ryan Stewart

Nothing sucks more than being on stage in front of a bunch of techies and having your demo crash on you twice. Actually, the only way that sucks more is if you're Adobe and it's Flash that's crashing on a mobile device, forcing folks to wonder if Steve Jobs was right about the stability of Flash.

This incident happened last week at FlashCamp Seattle, according to a blog post by Jeff Croft, a Seattle developer who also moderated a panel at the event. Flash Platform evangelist Ryan Stewart was demoing Flash Player 10.1 on a Nexus One phone during the opening keynote when things went bad and then got worse. Croft wrote in his blog:

Here’s what happened: On his Mac, Ryan pulled up a site called Eco Zoo. It is, seemingly, a pretty intense example of Flash development — full of 3D rendering, rich interactions, and cute little characters. Then, he pulled up the same thing on his Nexus One. The site’s progress bar filled in and the 3D world appeared for a few seconds before the browser crashed. Ryan said (paraphrasing), “Whoops! Well, it’s beta, and this is an intense example — let’s try it again.” He tried it again and got the same result. So he said to the audience, “Well, this one isn’t going to work, but does anyone have a Flash site they’d like to see running?” Someone shouted out “Hulu.” Ryan said, “Hulu doesn’t work,” and then wrapped up his demo, telling people if they wanted to try more sites they could find him later and he’d let them play with his Nexus One.

Ouch.

To be fair, Croft notes that the problem with Hulu may not be the fault of Adobe and may be more with Hulu - but no one knows for sure. Also, he notes that Flash on Android is beta, which means it's expected to be "crashy and buggy" at this stage.

Still, the natives are getting restless, he says, and are anxious to see a full Flash player that works well on mobile. A demo that crashes does little to help build confidence around a product or to prove that it's almost ready for prime time.

Under normal circumstances, a crash at during an on-stage demo at a techie conference might have been no big deal. But the public sparring between Adobe and Apple over Flash has put the topic into the spotlight.

The pressure is on for Adobe. Croft is right in suggesting that Adobe avoid any more demos until it's really solid.

Update: Ryan Stewart posted a comment on the talkbacks that's worth reading. In addition, he also posted a response about what went wrong and an update - as well as a video - on how it's supposed to work. That, too, is also worth checking out.

Related coverage:

Topics: Enterprise Software, Browser

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