Adobe tops 1 million Flash downloads on Android

Adobe has more than 1 million downloads of Flash Player 10.1 on the Android market, but still has a few kinks to work out on the mobile front.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Adobe has more than 1 million downloads of Flash Player 10.1 on the Android market, but still has a few kinks to work out on the mobile front.

Since Flash Player 10.1 launched on Android the reception has been solid. Indeed, observers were expecting a rocky outing for Flash on mobile devices. Adobe kicks off its Max 2010 developer conference Oct. 23 to 27 in Los Angeles and is likely to tout the mobile capabilities of Flash and talk up the AIR platform for mobile devices.

I've been testing a Motorola Droid X with Flash Player 10.1 installed. Overall, Flash works pretty well on mobile devices. Videos and ads delivered a full Web experience.

However, there were a few issues. Here's the way I use video on a mobile device---I hand it to my kids. While you'll hear a lot of fancy use cases for Flash, here's mine: My 7 year old wants to stay at the park. My 4 year old wants to leave. I try and buy my oldest some time and hand her the smartphone pointed to a Disney.com video or NickJr. Dora and Mickey are a great way to pass the time.

The rub: Disney didn't quite work with Flash Player on Android. Neither did AddictingGames.com.

We caught up with Anup Murarka, director of technical marketing for mobile and devices for Adobe, to see what the deal is. After all, Flash is supposed to just work.

The issue is that Disney and other sites are reading a mobile device and delivering a site that doesn't include video. Murarka said that the Flash unit has a swat team that goes around to help make the sites read correctly. It takes time.

"It's not an API issue," said Murarka, noting that the Flash team is investigating the sites I had trouble with on the Droid X. Flash Player 10.1 uses the same code base across experiences, but sites aren't set up to provide a desktop experience on a mobile device.

When does this problem become more important? When tablets start launching. Android tablets will have Flash and device makers like Samsung and Research in Motion are touting a full Web experience. The rub: Sites may read an Android operating system and deliver a stripped down mobile page sans Flash and video.

I noted that I didn't sweat hiccups on a smartphone---I'm conditioned to sites that don't render well. On a tablet, my patience will be thin. Larger screens need to show off Flash and a good browsing experience. When I hand a tablet to my kid those Dora videos on NickJr better work.

That's where the Flash swat team comes in. Adobe has to find sites that deliver a mobile page instead of a Flash-enabled one.

Related: Adobe launches Flash 10.1 for Mobile: More than half of all smartphones by 2012?

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