Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

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.


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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  • To be fair, maybe you should have skipped this article, since no one knows

    for sure. ;)
    Dietrich T. Schmitz,Your Linux Advocate
    • Knows what?

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz,Your Linux Advocate
      That Adobe Flash crashed repeatably when demoed on a "super phone" by an Adobe employee?

      Or that Flash has yet to run successfully on a mobile phone?

      Either way, Adobe screwed the pooch on demos. Always know what you are going to demo and make sure it works; be ready for crashes and have a good backup plan.
      • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

        @Bruizer Actually, my bet is that Flash again forgot to let go of processor cycles during previous tests, so that when he went to demo it again, it simply didn't have enough processor left to run the demo. Crashing it out didn't let go of the previous resources, so the second try pulled it down again.

        This is the same kind of issue Flash has had ever since Adobe's purchase of Macromedia. Until Adobe fixes that problem, they don't stand a chance.
      • Spot the Apple troll....

        @Bruizer Get a grip on reality. I don't use my Blackberry for the web much and have little interest in the petty politics of Apple and Adobe... The markets will settle that in due course. Your remarks are as dumb as this story though. Labelled as an Adobe problem to get the headline; sucks you in (you should read it again) clearly states beta, clearly states 'doesn't know whether Adobe or Hula'. Why respond as if you know more than the the rest of the world? ps Smart phones existed long before the iphone; Not as good in some departments, better in others, but still relevant.

        Your last point is relevant and we need to assume that the guy was fairly confident, but something went far more wrong in real life.... otherwise they've been real dumb. Then again we all get complacent from time to time.
  • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

    This is the exact thing Apple was talking about. I'm sure this guy tested the site before hand, and worked maybe more than once. And crashes randomly at the most critical time. Beta or not, you are going to see this even after final, as i'm sure they thought it was working, just like before the DEMO! LOL. Steve has now got another case to show the DOJ/FCC when they come knocking.
    • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

      @m3kw9 Dude, Eco Zoo was a RETARDED site to try to run from a mobile phone. Full blur, full 3D, full matrix transformations, cloth simulation..... I mean, what the FUCK? We might want to watch a video, we don't need to play effing Farmville or control the space station.
      • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

        @staticfive bull. You guys are complaining about having "the full web" and if you leave that stuff off so it will work its not eth full web now is it. Just like we left flash off the iphone so it will work. your suggesting crippling the mobile version so it works. NO either give us a FULL WEB EXPERIENCE with flash or eat your d**n words about flash sucking. Its ok to skip certain experiences with flash as long as you say its ok huh? No farmville no full experience.
  • Sam Diaz in classic form.

    A beta for a new platform crashes at a demo, so rah rah rah Apple!
    Lester Young
    • A Beta that is over a year late.

      @Lester Young

      Flash has slipped and slipped and slipped again. By the time Flash is kinda working on a mobile platform, the iPhone (if we take it as the first smart phone to ship with a pretty capable browser) will be 3.5 to 4 years old.

      There will be 100's of million of smart phones that will be left out of Flash since it is looking like a 1GHz processor and 256MB RAM will be minimum. This will include WinMo 6.5 phones, phones like the Motorola Droid and the first 3 iPhones; all phone simply lacking the hardware to run Flash.

      Flash on mobile has lots to concerned about.
      • Facts mean absolutely nothing

        @Bruizer ... unless they some how fit together to justify hating Apple and Steve Jobs, and like any good religion, ignore all other facts.
      • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

        @Bruizer FYI, Flash was demonstrated on a Palm Pre last year.

  • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

    This isn't an endorsement of Apple.

    Here's the thing: if you're going to demo something on stage at a conference, I would hope that you put the demo through many practice runs before doing it in front of a crowd. Assuming that was done, it's unfortunate that the crashes happened during the demo because it lends to the argument about the platform being unstable.

    That's all I'm saying. It's not necessarily an endorsement for Apple's position.
    • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

      @SamDiaz Hey Sam, actually this was more a case of me just not practicing the demo at all. The site had worked for me before but I was running a build of the player that I shouldn't have been demoing and just didn't double check that it worked.

      So mostly just a presenter fail. I upgraded my Player version after getting home and reading Jeff's post and recorded on the newer build. Stay tuned for Google I/O.


      • Stuff happens

        Demos sometimes fail, but a good lesson hopefully learnt about testing before demoing.

        Looking forward to Flash 10.1. Hopefully full support for CrystalHD on Linux. We need it:-)
        Richard Flude
      • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo


        Upon reading this blog post, I opened the link to Eco Zoo in a new tab on my MacBook Pro 10.5.8 with Flock. I have FlashBuilder installed on my machine so I got 3 scripting error, which I "continued", and got a blank screen. A refresh started the site.
      • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

        @ryanstewart Whatever, man. Showing that it works on a certain build can't fix this PR disaster. Steve has now has another nut to grab on to for this Flash fiasco. (As in he has Adobe by the balls)
      • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

        @ryanstewart Nice try Ryan for the CYA followup. It says something that it still crashed. Not unlike every other flash crash I've had on *non-beta* flash apps.

        BTW most users have no idea if they are running current flash player versions or not nor any understanding as to why keeping it up to date is important. I frequently see people still running Flash 6!
      • Hard to believe??????


        ?????? that this hadn't been tested before hand. You showed the same demo at SXSW and it crashed there as well. I really hope Adobe can work things out before the "flash is too buggy" stigma grows any further.
      • Flash is a buggy security nightmare

        US-Cert, Symantec even Charlie Miller all recommend blocking Flash. It was the second most popular attack vector of 2009. NoScript is one of the most downloaded plug-ins for Firefox. Gee, wonder why. lol... <br><br>What I find hypocritical is Flash was dumped on for years by many people for this crap, yet when Jobs nixed it for the iPad, suddenly Flash has a lot of defenders coming out of the woodwork for the sole reason it was Apple who nixed it.<br><br>You silly posers will look for any lame NBM excuse, now wouldn't you...
        ubiquitous one
      • RE: Was Apple right? Adobe Flash crashes twice during mobile demo

        @ryanstewart At a time that Adobe is trying to prove and establish Flash in the mobile space, you present a beta build? You are as good of a Flash evangelist as George Bush was a model of foreign policy. <br><br>You're a joker. This is hilarious. I'd be less surprised if you were somehow under Apple's payroll.