Google Supporting Flash in Android 2.2: 10 Possible Outcomes

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-08-11

Google Supporting Flash in Android 2.2: 10 Possible Outcomes

Adobe's Flash platform is making its way to more Android-based devices, thanks to Android 2.2. For those that have criticized Apple for not allowing Flash onto iOS, the advent of Flash on Android 2.2 is a good thing. According to these Flash supporters, it will substantially improve the browsing experience on smartphones.

But not everyone sees that way. Some say that Flash is little more than a security hole that will cause more trouble than it's worth. While these people would like to watch the vast majority of videos and games that aren't capable of being displayed on an iPhone, they believe that Apple's influence will help make HTML 5 the go-to service in the coming years. To them, Flash means little.

Given the many differences in opinions on the viability of Flash, it becomes clear that there are several potential outcomes of its presence in the mobile market once all is said and done. It might be an outright failure, or it could be a success that forces Apple to pay attention.

Let's take a look at some possible outcomes of Google offering Flash in Android 2.2.

1. Adobe wins

There is a chance that Adobe could have been right all along, and by offering Flash on Android it can prove that the mobile market is ready for its service. For a while, Adobe has been saying that it has what it takes to succeed in the mobile world. And it's been Apple that has claimed Flash still isn't ready. If Flash works well, consumers like it, and there aren't any security problems, Adobe will win that debate and make Apple look bad.

2. Security issues erupt

Apple has said time and again that part of the problem with Flash is that it causes  security issues for any platform it's running on. That has been one of the main reasons Apple has opted against Flash on iOS. So far, Flash has been untested in the mobile market. If, over time, Android starts seeing security issues because of Flash, Apple will be proven right and Adobe will be in trouble. For its part, Adobe says Flash won't cause any security problems. But, only time will tell.

3. Consumers don't care

There is a real chance that Android 2.2's addition of Flash will be lost on consumers. The technology might be desired by some who don't like the browsing experience on the iPhone, but, given the popularity of Apple's smartphone, it doesn't seem all that big of a problem for most owners of the device. It's possible that some consumers won't care that Google has added Flash to its new operating system. They will find out about it, go to a few sites to see how it works, and move on. If that happens, all the debate over Adobe's service will mean little.

4. Consumers expect it in every phone

At the same time, consumers might be happy to see Flash come to Android once they start surfing to all the many sites they currently can't access on an iPhone. They might get their hands on an Android 2.2-based device, load up all the sites they never could before, and fall in love with mobile Chrome. After all, Google has been saying that, with the help of Flash, Android provides the best browsing experience in the mobile market. Maybe it will be true.

Will Anybody Care That Flash Runs on Android 2.2?


5. Android takes off

Google isn't bringing Flash to its platform for nothing. The company realizes that Apple's iPhone is doing an outstanding job at appealing to consumer desires. And it knows that if it wants its platform to continue to grow, it needs to focus its efforts on differentiating Android. Flash was the option it chose to do that. If Flash works well and consumers like it, that differentiating factor could help Google sell even more Android-based devices. If consumers believe the browsing experience is better on Android than on iOS, it could reap huge rewards for Google.

6. Apple gloats

There is nothing quite like a good Steve Jobs gloating session. They typically happen when he can take the stage at one of his many keynotes each year and explain to the world why his strategies have been better than the competition's. If Flash fails or becomes a security nightmare for Google, expect Jobs to gloat as much and as often as possible.

7. Apple capitalizes on Google's folly

Android is gaining ground in the mobile market at an astounding pace. But Flash could change all that. If consumers start finding out that Flash doesn't work as expected, Apple will undoubtedly unleash a marketing campaign to capitalize on that. And when that happens, the company could very quickly increase its market share as Google stumbles.

8. HTML 5 reigns supreme (or fails)

As Google put its weight behind Flash, Apple put its support behind HTML 5. Given the popularity of Flash on the Web, it's entirely possible that Adobe could wipe HTML 5 out with a successful entrance into the mobile market. But it's also possible that if Flash fails, HTML 5 has the opening it needs to capitalize. HTML 5 will be directly affected by how well or poorly Flash does on Android 2.2.

9. No one notices

All this talk of Flash on Android 2.2 assumes that users of the many smartphones that will run this new mobile OS will even notice that anything's different. It's entirely possible that the average consumer who uses his or her phone's browser sparingly and simply enjoys apps and e-mail all day will not even notice that Flash is now running on Android 2.2. After all, it will only really be noticeable if a user surfs to a site that requires Flash. Since many of the world's most popular sites don't, it's possible that it will go unnoticed.

10. Adobe feels the pain

As possible as it might be for Adobe's Flash platform to be successful on Android 2.2, it's just as likely that it could be a failure. And if it is, the company will feel the wide-reaching effects of that. For one thing, Apple will capitalize and help HTML 5 succeed. At the same time, Google and other firms will distance themselves from Adobe, potentially hurting the company's bottom line even more. There is a lot riding on Flash on Android 2.2. And Adobe, Apple, Google, and just about every other major mobile company know it.


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