Flash For Smartphones Is Finally Here, And It Is Terrible

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Google began rolling out its new mobile operating system, Android 2.2, to Nexus One phones on Thursday, and a beta version of fully-functional Flash is available for it. But based on early reviews, Android users might not want to bother with it.

PocketNow recently put a Nexus One with Android 2.2 through a series of speed tests against an iPhone 3GS and and HTC HD2 running Opera for Windows Mobile. The Nexus One outperformed the other phones by a comfortable margin — but only when Flash was disabled.

With Flash enabled, the Nexus One was the slowest of the three phones.

Speed isn’t the only problem with Flash in Android. A snap review from Gizmodo on Thursday pointed out that it’s also a huge battery drain, and outside of sites specifically optimised for mobile, isn’t yet all that reliable.

In fairness, this is still a beta version of Flash. Furthermore, no one ever said bulky Flash content would run smoothly on mobile phones with no cost to performance or battery life; rather, those clamoring for Flash on the iPhone have argued that users are better off with the option. As Flash itself is improved, and as more Flash content is designed with a touchscreen in mind, it might become an option that users will actually want to exercise.

But for now, enabling Flash is probably more trouble than it’s worth.

Here’s a video of the speed tests:

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