Sunday, February 13, 2011

Flash Player 10.1 for Android: Performance King or Resource Hog?

A little over a month after completing our 2010 Best Workflows comparison, Transitions has decided to tackle another vexing question: does Flash Player 10.1 on the Android OS platform really impact battery life of mobile handsets?

If it does, is the performance gain worth it?

Read the results of our initial five-day test period, on a number of Android-based devices, including the the original Droid, Droid2, Droid Incredible, EVO, Nexus S and the core Galaxy S.

To put all the fuss about mobile Flash Player usage in perspective, consider that smartphone shipments accounted for 101 million units per quarter at the end of 2010, an increase of 87% over the same period in 2009. According to research firm IDC, smartphone shipments in 2010 outpaced PC shipments for the first time, with PC growth only progressing at 3% for the fourth quarter of 2010, on shipments of 92 million units.

It’s also worth noting how fast mobile Flash Player penetration grew: 28.7% of US smartphones are based on Android, an increase of 7.3% in market share over the last quarter. By the end of 2010, Android-based handset shipments surpassed the number of shipping iPhones devices: Apple’s iPhone market share is now only 25.0% excluding iPads (of which over 7 million were sold in the fourth quarter, while Android-based tablets are just emerging).

In other words, Flash-equipped smartphones now outnumber iOS handsets. Adobe’s intent to bring the Flash Player plug-in to other mobile OSes (Blackberry, et al) will only widen that gap.