Adobe Flash running on iPhone emulator; too slow for real devices?

Adobe Flash running on iPhone emulator; too slow for real devices?

Ben Wilson
2 min read

Last week we noted two observations that, however speculative, were indicative of Adobe Flash running on the iPhone 3G. Now it appears that, whether or not those indicators were red herrings, the iPhone does -- at least on a software level -- have the capability to run Flash content.

Adobe's CEO said during a conference call yesterday that the company already has Flash running on an iPhone emulator (presumably the same emulator included with Apple's iPhone SDK). Per CrunchGear:

"We have a version that's working on the emulation. This is still on the computer and you know, we have to continue to move it from a test environment onto the device and continue to make it work. So we are pleased with the internal progress that we've made to date."

Key buzz-kill from the above quote: "this is still on the computer [...]." As we've pointed out several times, Flash performance and usage is abysmal on current mobile devices that support playback. Mobile device processors ? including the iPhone's ? simply aren't fast enough to handle most Flash-laden sites. Flash Lite, the scaled down standard designed specifically for mobile devices, is even too much for most devices, and isn?t widely used.

Jens Chr Brynildsen, a Flash expert who maintains a number resources for the standard including Flash Magazine, told us that the iPhone's processor ? a 600 MHz ARM processor that actually runs at 412MHz ? simply won't pass muster.

"I really don't think 600Mhz is going to cut it. I'm just testing out the Nokia E51. It has a 369Mhz processor and totally sucks performance-wise with Flash Lite. The extra 230Mhz won't provide the required juice. [...] I doubt they want to ruin a the user experience just to satisfy the need of a rather limited user base. Just imagine entering a website with five Flash banners."

It's as-of-yet unclear what type of processor will be included with the iPhone 3G. Though we suspect it will be similar the first-generation iPhone's, some early hands-on reports with the new device report faster overall operation -- an effect that could be brought about by iPhone OS 2.0.

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