The question that immediately comes to mind: "Is this too little, too late?"
Engineer Mike Melanson explains the enormous task load Flash must endure:
"In addition to decoding the data, [Flash] has to convert YUV data to the RGB colorspace and combine the image with other Flash elements. Then it has to cooperate with another application (web browser) to present the video to the user... It plays linear media files from start to finish while combining the video with a wide array of graphical and interactive elements (buttons, bitmaps, vector graphics, filters), as well as providing network, webcam, and microphone facilities, all programmable via a full-featured scripting language."
That's a lot for a plug-in. It's no wonder that Steve Jobs blamed Flash for the majority of crashes while browsing the Web on a Mac. If any one of those processes gets bogged down or is not programmed properly, issues can occur, usually resulting in the lovely error message: "Safari unexpectedly quit."
Note: Adobe provides a troubleshooting tool for Flash Player, here.
Recent drama in the Apple versus Adobe debacle was stirred again when Apple shipped the new MacBook Air without a version of Flash Player installed, claiming it was more effective for users to keep Flash updated themselves. With HTML5 continually nipping at Flash's Internet dominance, Adobe must act fast.
Currently, no iOS device has native Flash support. The mobile Web space is quickly growing beyond Flash, and Apple is leading the push with its support of HTML5 for video playback. Despite Android tablets and smartphones including Flash support, I still have not seen any mobile device provide a useful experience while using Flash. Short battery life and poor CPU performance generally take the spotlight from the novelty of having Flash Player installed.
Perhaps Flash Player 10.2 will get Adobe back on track. Certainly 10 times better performance on your CPU is a good start. The video below shows off a new, optimized, video playback mode called Stage Video that builds on GPU acceleration added to Flash Player earlier this year.
Early reviews on Flash Player 10.2 beta, including this small forum on the Apple Support Discussions, seem to be largely positive. But again, I have to wonder if this is enough. It seems the wheels are rolling in the other direct and Adobe must greatly improve its product if it is to maintain its market (and mind) share.
What has been your experience with Flash Player? Are you for it, or moving on? Let me know in the comments!
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