It looks like a developer has been successful in porting Adobe’s Flash 10.1 Mobile plug-in from the Android build by adding a compatibility layer so that it runs on a jailbroken iOS device. The mobile plugin hack, called Frash, was shown working on an iPad by modder Comex, who also said that development work is also being made for the plugin to move to the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4….
When you think about browsing the Internet, you may not take the time to ponder the various technologies that go into making the experience such a pleasurable would. And why would you? With everything working buttery smooth (most of the time, anyways) the need to understand the back end technologies that go into rendering all of the content we consume in a daily basis unless you’re in that industry is virtually non existent.
Take it with a grain of salt, but it’s looking like some prayers have been answered on this Fourth of July — Flash (or is that “Frash”?) is running on this man’s iPad, cleverly ported from Android. The YouTube video claims that by using a compatibility layer, the Android runtime can play Flash content natively in Safari, but only on iPad so far — iPhone 3GS support is planned soon, as is iOS 4, and there’s a call for developers to move the project.
When Apple and Adobe went to war over Flash, Adobe executives asserted that 80 percent of videos on the Web are viewed in Flash. But virtually no online videos other than YouTube are viewable on shipping, Flash-enabled mobile device since they use a limited version of Flash called Flash Lite. And since most mobile devices include a native YouTube player, they didn’t need Flash to play YouTube. In essence, no one was watching any Flash videos on any smartphone. Adobe’s entire Apple gambit about Flash video was a PR ploy.
Most websites and Flash video players are implemented with Flash 9 or Flash 10 and will not run an Flash 8. It is like trying to run a Mac OS X application on an old PowerBook. The reason the mobile version of Flash was so limited was that mobile devices did not have to the processing power to handle the full, modern version of Flash.
Adobe is now shipping the full Flash 10.1 for Android with the introduction of new, more powerful Android devices such as the HTC Evo 4G and Motorola Droid X that employ the powerful Snapdragon 1-Ghz processor. Now that smartphones have much more processing power, Android 2.2 will run the same Flash that runs on a PC, and will therefore run all of the Flash content on the Web.
As always, there are some exceptions: Flash developers are obsessed with “hover” events that only work when a mouse hovers over an element. That does not work on a mobile device where a user can’t hover, and many Flash implementations are not built to resize themselves to a screen’s limit and target 1024×768-sized screens, which will require a lot of scrolling by the user.
What you do think about, however, is Adobe’s Flash platform. While browsing the web, chances are you happen across several streaming videos that utilize the Flash platform. YouTube, for example, uses the platform to display their content in its entirety only recently assessing the viability of making a switch to HTML5.
However, if you’re browsing the web on a device powered by Apple’s iOS such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, your experience may not be so buttery. If you’ve been with us for a while you’ll know that Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has long deemed Flash a buggy, unstable platform unfit for a mobile device such as the 3 listed above and barely making the cut as a stable platform for desktop computing.
Well, not long after Mr. Jobs wrote off Flash and assured us that the iDevices will never run it, several other companies, Adobe included, came forth to stand by Flash announcing its availability across a plethora of mobile platforms. Android, for one, has received some Flash love when Adobe recently released version 10.1 through the Marketplace for download. To be fair to all participating parties, the Flash 10.1 beta for mobile devices was quite buggy leading to many crashes and associated headaches. However, the Flash platform did make its way to a mobile platform and it is quite usable despite the words of Apple CEO.
Many have wondered, myself included, why Apple wouldn’t just give users what they want and release a Flash for iOS if other mobile platforms were running them just fine. A hacker named Comex of iPad jailbreak and Flash for iPhone fame apparently wondered this a bit more than the rest of us going forth and porting Flash 10.1 from Android for use with the iPad.
However, in the gaming segment, Flash support on mobile devices will prove to be very useful. There are a ton of existing Flash games that will never get ported to the iPhone/iPad, and many Flash game developers will continue to produce fun Flash games, since they do not have the skillset or inclination to learn how to program in the iPhone’s complicated Objective C language.
Apple themselves have stated that they will never add support for Adobe Flash Player on the iPad or any of it’s other mobile devices. If you were one of the many people upset by this, then you should be happy by what you will read here. A hacker named comex has managed to run Flash on the iPad, and is working on making it available to other iPad users. The Flash installer is named “Frash”.
Despite all of the recent acrimony, Apple may very well reverse course once it ships more powerful iPhones that can support full Flash. Apple has a long history of emphatically stating that it will not support something and then changing its mind. Remember when Jobs dissed the notion of a video iPod? Steve Jobs’s rants against Intel went far beyond his recent Adobe vitriol, and soon after Macs switched from PowerPCs to Intel processors.
Frash is currently in beta. The developer of this program plans on releasing Frash as soon as he manages to get it to be more stable. As of right now Flash can run most Flash programs natively on the iPad.
Of course, the port only works with an iPad running the Spirit jailbreak that was released back in early May. Based on our sources, Comex has been working on this project for some time now, and we are definitely sure that it will attract more attention from the independent developer scene over the next few weeks. In all honesty, the preview couldn’t have come at a better time than July 4th and we have a feeling that a couple geeks will be lighting off some bottle rockets to celebrate this grand victory against Apple.
While this isn’t officially confirmed due to the absence of a public release, we’ve included a video below showing off a jailbroken iPad running Adobe’s Flash platform. Let’s hope Comex gets a public release out the door soon as it would breath new life into the iPad.
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