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Apple’s rejection of Adobe Flash is notorious. Although Flash is not directly supported by Safari, the Photon web browser for iOS supports Flash content on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Photon is a web browser available in the App Store for less than $5. The popular and highly rated app allows users to enjoy a cloud-based Flash experience. While this isn’t as good as native Flash (on a desktop computer), it works surprisingly well.
No Flash on iOS?
The lack of Adobe Flash on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system has been a talking point amongst tech pundits. At one point, it was used to prove the superiority of competing mobile operating systems — until Adobe stopped making Flash for all mobile devices. Flash didn’t work well on mobile devices and was never modified to work with touch screens. Adobe finally threw in the towel and stopped developing Flash for mobile devices. After this resignation, the tech pundits never admitted that Apple was right all along. The talking point simply evaporated.
Before Adobe stopped making the mobile Flash player, Apple rejected their attempts to bring Flash to iOS. Steve Jobs saw the demo and felt it wasn’t up to snuff. In fact, Flash was the leading cause of crashes on Mac OS X. As an OS X user, I can attest to the fact that Flash is the buggiest thing on a Mac. It still is. Flash is also a vector for malware. Flash for iOS would have also decreased battery life and performance.
Beyond the bugs, Adobe had no solid plans to make Flash work with touch screens. With HTML 5 on the horizon, able to handle interactive content, Apple rejected Adobe’s attempt. Apple and Microsoft rejected Blu-Ray for similar reasons. It was seen as a temporary solution until streaming and downloading HD video became the standard practice.
I have actually witnessed the native Flash plugin on other mobile operating systems. For the most part, it was a gruesome experience. Only a few devices could do the basics — play video without lag. Forget about complicated Flash games. They just didn’t work on any mobile operating system. Flash is a resource hog.
Photon Supports Adobe Flash
iOS users in need of Flash found a solution in the Photon browser. The iOS app streams a Flash session from the cloud. Basically, Photon’s servers run the Flash content as a proxy, and send back a video stream to the iOS app. Photon’s Flash experience is fully interactive. You can actually play video games. Photon supports a toolbar and gestures which allow user interaction. When the user interacts with the Flash content, data are sent to the proxy server, which carries out the action.
Photon is not perfect. Don’t expect the same Flash experience that you would enjoy on your desktop computer. That said, it works better than the native Flash plugin that Adobe developed for mobile operating systems. Let’s face it, Flash is not very good. It’s buggy and crashes a lot. In addition to Apple, Netflix also avoided Flash, and opted to use Microsoft’s Silverlight technology instead. (continue…)
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