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.


Juan said...

Amazing report fellas.

Great results, I'm very pleased with them.

Lucas said...

Not to be a smart Alec here, but you say Flash-equipped smartphones outnumber iOS handsets, so I'm wondering what percentage of US smartphones is indeed Flash-equipped?
I only see you mention that 28.7% of US smartphones are based on Android. But as far as I know, far from all Android-based smartphones are Flash-equipped. In fact, I believe quite a number of those phones aren't even able to install Flash?

Tim said...

Lucas, you raise a good point.

Based on the number of units that are Flash Player-capable (a list of those devices can be found at and how those phones rank in sales, when we compared unit sales to those of all other Android phones and all iOS phones in the United States, it does appear that Flash Player-capable phones outstrip iOS phones.

Still, to your point, there are Android devices on version 2.2 of the Android OS that don't support Flash Player. Adobe's rule of thumb appears to take on two forms, based around the screen resolution:

VGA: 550Mhz processor minimum, plus hardware vector FPU support

WVGA: 800MHz processor minimum (Cortex A8), plus hardware vector FPU support.

Thanks for bringing up that very pertinent question.

cat with mouse said...

Would love to see this report, guys, as I'm doing some research and it would be awesome to see! However, the link's not working. Any reference? :)

Tim said...

Finally got the report posting issue resolved. Changed the address within the blog post, but will post it here in case others had issues accessing it:

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