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back to article Flash finally finagled onto iPhone

A dedicated iPhone hacker has ported a client for Adobe's Flash onto an iPhone 4, just about, and with a dicey installation process. The hack can only be applied to a Jailbroken iPhone 4, though the developer reckons it will run on an 3GS and an iPad. But if you've got the hardware and the nerve then you're only eight steps away …

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Anonymous Coward

What's the hassle?!

Works perfect on the Nexus One using Froyo 2.2.

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No it doesn't

It works awfully on the Nexus One using Froyo 2.2. But it's a beta, so that doesn't necessarily mean anything. And, yes, it's much better to have the option.

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No,

it is no longer in Beta.

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Suggest someone tells Adobe

Performed a moment ago:

1) switch Nexus One on

2) swipe to unlock, tap 'Market'

3) search for 'Flash'

Result: Adobe Flash 10.1 beta 3. Version 10.1.72.7, 3.75mb, 50,000-250,000 downloads, 9951 ratings. I scrolled down to the bottom of the list so as to cause further results to be loaded a total of four times, ending my search at 'Add to 2' by Gary Gause and spotted no further versions of Adobe Flash.

Sorry if that's a bit too much like checking the facts for the up/down voters.

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no flash thanks

one of the reasons i got an iPhone was so there would be no flash on it, flash ads in web sites are a pain in the ass.

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If you had a phone you were actually allowed to use...

...then you could install an ad blocker and get rid of ALL the ads, not just flash.

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Will flash just die already!?

I hate it I hate it I hate it. Bloated cpu hogging crap.

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Ads? We don't need no stinking Ads!

Thankfully, I just add an HOSTS file to my current Android build and ALL the add disappear!!

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@Mick F

You've obviously not been installing the Vodafone upgrades then. My fear is that rather than Android continuing to be the only fully open platform, it's going to become the platform that can be open but only if you're willing to pay for a SIM-free handset. I think this is what Google saw coming; probably the Nexus One was just too early. Give the core audience a couple of years of carriers messing up the firmware and there'll be a healthy market for a straight-from-Google device.

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It's called a checkbox

"one of the reasons i got an iPhone was so there would be no flash on it, flash ads in web sites are a pain in the ass."

If flash ads are such a pain, then you could do in the iPhone what you can do in any browser - disable or don't install a flash plugin. Android 2.2. demonstrates how this can be achieved in a phone with a checkbox. This crushingly difficult design concept apparently eludes Apple who decided to leave out one of the most popular browser plugins.

It certainly was not for reasons of security or stability. The only reason flash has been taken out of the iPhone is to prevent developers from producing platform neutral applications that run outside of Apple's control.

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thanks, but no thanks

i dont see whats the fuss are about. you all have lotsa choices. so apple dont like flash on ios. so what? get an android or symbian device instead! duh, i even use ad blocker to block flash in my laptop browsers.

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Bad Bill, bad!

"Lord it over android users"?

You know full well we have full flash on android and I'm guessing the gnash build I have running under Ubuntu has more features than this iPhone hack.

Design be buggered, I'll keep my power and freedom thanks.

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Adobe should release a pukka version

Would be interesting if Adobe released a proper iPhone version of Flash, available for Jail-broken phones only, if it ran well then they could argue that users jail-break their devices because the want Flash, would help in their crusade against Apple.

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That'd be great, but are Adobe up to it?

Just as it's wrong to say that Apple are free of control issues, I don't think it's accurate to say that Adobe are free of quality issues. And if they put out a plug-in or player that crashes even half as much as their OS X plug-in then they'll actually be adding fuel to Jobs' fire.

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#Up to it...

>And if they put out a plug-in or player that crashes even half as much as their OS X plug-in then they'll actually be adding fuel to Jobs' fire.

Maybe if Jobs opened up their API to 3rd Party developers under OSX there would be better support from all manner of developers including Adobe. Finally they allowed Adobe access to video acceleration 6 months ago, but proper hardware acceleration and 3D support (needed by Flash 11) are still blocked.

So long as Apple maintain this position, Flash will always be crap under OSX, but no-one much cares I'm afraid. Certainly not publishers and developers who continue to use it more not less. Apple backtracked and allowed Flash access to h/w video acceleration because they realised privately it wasn't going away anytime soon - there's no other explanation.

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RE: #Up to it...

"Maybe if Jobs opened up their API to 3rd Party developers under OSX there would be better support from all manner of developers including Adobe."

They did, you can download it if you wish.

Besides which, have you seen Flash on OSX? It's a bloated memory hog. Even when there are no animations, it sends my laptop fan into a frenzy. As El Reg have reported recently, even PDF files can be used to compromise your computer - and ofc Flash ones can too.

Why don't Adobe curl up and die???

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Re: AC

The poster above has dealt with hardware H.264 decoding; you're also trying to claim that there's no open graphics library on OS X? You know, like e.g. that industry standard one that originated at SGI? You may not have heard of it, I suggest you install Adobe Shockwave and go to some of the related game sites to experience it. You don't even have to leave the browser.

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Many of Flash problems on OS X are OS specific

Plugins on OS X are *always* windowless, there are 3 different drawing APIs which have been recommended at one time or another and there are plugins & browsers written in cocoa and carbon. The windowless thing by itself kills performance because the plugin relies on the browser to repaint it and in turn the browser may not be able to keep up with calls 30 times a second.

By comparison in Windows, Flash is usually given a window of its own and is left to its own devices. It's not constrained by the browser since the browser window is a parent of the plugin window and not responsible for painting it.

That's why Flash is slow on OS X. Fortunately Apple & Adobe are working to resolve the issues by using features of CoreAnimation and newly exposed hardware acceleration. People who just whine its Adobe's fault don't have a clue what they're dealing with. Linux also suffers performance issues, again because of platform issues, specifically lack of RGB hardware acceleration for video output.

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Adobe failed on Linux...et al

Adobe was forced to withdraw 64 bit Flash for Linux after releasing it into the wild and having it be terribly unstable...will you blame that on Apple as well? And they have never released a 64 bit Windows Flash at all...will you blame that on Bill, Ballmer, or, once again, on Apple?

64 bit browsers are standard issue now...it is Adobe that cannot support them, not a fault of Apple, MS, or the Linux community.

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Blocked

@AC

Nothing is blocked, VDADecoder is not what Apple uses and it's exceptionally bad at Adobes awkward work flow. 3D support blocked? Access to video drivers blocked? No, it's just Adobe not working with the Nvidia and AMD/ATI OS X driver teams. Not communicating what they need at all. Not filing bug reports etc. Microsoft didn't help them get it running on Windows. The driver/device makers are free to put in support for anything, nVidia has CUDA and Elementals support on the Mac without Apple involved and as a third party download. (Or bundled with the card).

Nvidias VDADecoder APIs implementation means there's no support for ATI cards, also means they still need to do cpu based RGB conversion, it still does cpu/software compositing on both Windows and OS X. So it only offloads the bitstream decoding-bit still heavy lifting to be done and only works on the notebooks. Both iMac and Mac Pro uses ATI cards only currently. Which still means theres plenty of stuff that doesn't even work on a mac pro. Apple hasn't backtracked a bit, OS X is not a closed system, driver makers are free to implement whatever feature they like, third party or otherwise. It's simply that Adobe never communicated with the people who's responsibility it is, Microsoft didn't provide them with an API suitable to their needs. It's implemented in the drivers and in an awkward way no other video based software does it like that with all their quirks. DXVA > RGB stream from driver > software compositing > gpu isn't exactly what Microsoft had in mind. And VDADecoder > YCbCr stream isn't what they needed any way. Actually that was the reason for not implementing video acceleration on Linux on Nvidia systems. OS X isn't iPhone. Bullshit is bullshit. FUD is FUD. The explanation is simply that Adobe had no engineers working on the platform working with Apple, Nvidia and ATI/AMD. Not communicating means they won't get any thing. They said no APIs while no body worked on it any way. On Windows it wasn't working, the APIs didn't work for them and they didn't complain, neither did they complain on the phones where more work needed to be done. Both in software and drivers. Why? Because they actually communicated and wrote code there. There's no pleasing Adobe. Software rendering of HD video is what were at with Adobe. With hardware decoding for the software renderer at it's best. No EVR-mixer, and so on.

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flash flash flash

@DrXym, Adobe has the same APIs as Quicktime player has in the browser. QT hasn't the same problem because it's a video player that behaves like a video player. On Windows you actually has a boatload of drawing APIs recently Direct2D, DirectWrite (fonts) that came with W7 and Vista platform update, deprecated DirectDraw, Direct3D, GDI+, OpenGL, and briefly another deprecated API DirectAnimation was available.

CA and Flash 10.1 (in Safari) is capable of detecting when something is off screen, but that's not why their work flow works so bad for video. It's the same apis as Quicktime player plugin has in the browsers. And they manage hardware accelerated video even in Quartz 2D/QuickDraw only Firefox. VDA Decoder has the same flaw Adobe gives as a reason for not implementing hardware acceleration on Linux too, it's not accelerating YUV>RGB conversion and scaling. That's still done partly or completely in software. Flash doesn't use the native video overlay on either Windows or OS X. Fixing video overlay in X/drivers won't benefit software which won't utilize it. Of course not working with the hardware vendors won't materialize anything.

OS X isn't as chaotic as some wants to portray, Windows has gone from DX8 to 11 and DirectDraw, Direct3D8-8.1-9.0x-10-10.1-11 to Direct2D in the same time OS X has gone from DirectDraw to Quartz 2D to CoreAnimation. On Windows they still need to deal with the limits of NPAPI on Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. Too. However as far as video go QT has had it working with h/w acceleration for quite a bit now. If your not working with hardware vendors you won't be getting anything from them.

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i wonder...

im really curious. what flash apps are ppl using frequently that they are dying to get flash? which flash based websites do they visit on regular basis, that they need flash so much? =)

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@Robert Hill

I've already some of the reasons it sucks on OS X and Linux and it isn't all Adobe's fault. The plugin has to work with what the OS provides, has to work in different browsers (all of which implement their displays in different ways), and has to deal with the graphics / multimedia APIs or the lack thereof that come and go with each OS.

The reason the plugin works better on Windows than other platforms is because of shortcomings in the other platforms. Windows provides the plugin with access to low level hardware accelerated APIs that suit its needs. Apple are finally addressing some of the issues in OS X with CoreAnimation & opening hardware acceleration and Flash 10.1 shows dramatic improvements (in the latest OS X) and more to come. Linux needs to do the same.

As for 64-bit, it's yet another variable for the pot and nowhere near the most important. Running 64-bit is not some magic wand to better performance. Far from it. If the X11 graphics driver stinks, or if there is no RGB X11 extension, then the performance of plugin which is going to stink too. It's that simple.

I suggest you read some of the technical blogs to see what these folks are up against. In particular read http://blogs.adobe.com/penguinswf/2010/01/solving_different_problems.html.

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Re: DrXym

Flash still doesn't use any systems overlay on any platform for video. It wouldn't help (completely) as they still need to composite it in software. Windows didn't provide the low-level access needed, they needed to work with the hardware vendors getting specific and debugged drivers from them. Just supporting DXVA and full blu-ray support isn't enough, and the new API on OS X doesn't allow them to read back RGB-data it only does bitstream decoding. Same that's handled with VDPAU on Linux. Again they don't use a work flow akin to a video player.

A h/w accelerated video browser plugin works fine even on Linux. On OS X they have the same APIs for displaying the video data as QT plugin has. But those don't composite controls and other functions in software.

NPAPI needs rework, on Windows too, but for whole other reasons. VDADecoder isn't what Adobe needs, it isn't the low level RGB-supplying API. It's worse then VDPAU on Linux. Of course bitstream acceleration will work even with QuickDraw display. Color conversion and scaling can be done with OpenGL on both Linux and OS X. I.e. hardware accelerated, it's just not implemented. (Only partly). Allowing h/w bitstream acceleration on Linux for VDPAU and VA-API wouldn't be harder then on OS X. Which is still in beta/preview.

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WTF?

YouTube?

"…so you're not going to be browsing YouTube just yet."

Er, doesn't it come with an app for that?

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Headmaster

Fanboi

Before you fanbois pounce on him, let me say that I think the author meant to indicate the level of complexity in flash content that Frash is capable on handling, rather than actually using Youtube...

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CloudBrowse

In the app store there has been a free app called CloudBrowse. It plays flash video's on the iPhone over wif for free or over 3G with a monthly contract and doesn't require jailbreaking. So much like Android it is a choice to download the app or not.

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Remember me on this computer?

Does anyone really care??

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Stop

@Badwolf

Nope, not me. I have an iPhone and have NEVER noticed the lack of Flash on it. I hate to say it but Jobs might actually be onto something with his "Flash is old tech" rant. It makes sure I never see most of the ads, that's for sure.

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Not for long

Erm, I don't think it is Steve Job's aim to reduce the number of ads you see on your phone...

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But...

...will it run Badger Badger Badger?

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Badgers

Dang

Been wanting to use the Badgers icon for ages and forgot to do it.... oh well, here it is belatedly.

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Jobs Halo

No thanks

I love the absence of unstable, bloated Flash on my iPhone.

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RE: dz-015

Looks like you've been downvoted by people who want unstable, bloated Flash on their iPhones.

Either that or by idiots who clicked the wrong button...

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Jobs Halo

Unloved and mostly unmissed

The only thing I miss on the iPad is the BBC weather animated map.

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choice

Most of the time Flash is not necessary. But there happens some times when some website has flash navigation, or a mini embedded utility that you need.

It is better to have the option and not use it, than not having it at all.

I do have HTC Desire running Froyo, and Flash on Demand is the best of both worlds.

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Stop

Shut up moaning the people without a iPhone?

Nobody with any sense moans about not having an JudasPhone when there is much better options around, take the HTC Desire, xPerian X1000 etc, I have a Judas 3GS (Work Phone) and a Desire (Personal Phone) and the only think the iPhone has over the HTC is proper push email for Yahoo accounts etc, the HTC is quicker, easier nicer and much, much more pleasurable to use.

How the JudasPhone even gets 4 articles a day on your site still is a sad mystery, at first I though TheReg liked it, now I just think Apple must be paying you well!

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but then of course...

There's the shame of being an Apple fanboi. No amount of Flash will help that, it takes years of therapy.

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The best solution....

Would be for Flash to be available, but a simple on/off switch to enable or disable, then anyone who want to play the millions of flash games, watch standard videos etc. could, and those that didn't like it could switch it off, but the iPhoners who immediately shout "buggy, bloaded, old tech, resource hog" shout this because they don't have the choice.

We don't have Microsoft refusing to allow me to install Crysis on my celeron laptop because it can run like a dog, and I don't think it's up to them to tell me what I can run.

Flash can be fine on portable devices, however, Steve doesn't want a level playingfield, he doesn't want things running on his iPhone (did you think it was yours?) that allow comparison between the iPhone and the next smart phone, it doesn't matter if the iPhone is better or worse, faster or slower than all the other smart phones, he just wants if different, so he can say it's better.

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lol at you add haters...

Yeah - you all hate ads, but I bet you love the sites that rely on those ads for their income.

If the ads weren't there the sites would probably cease to exist. So all that "free" content you feel you have a right to view would suddenly disappear behind pay walls. Or just disappear.

Course then you could all start crying about that as well. Blocking ads on sites that you like and value? Shows your total lack of respect for the site owners, and eventually is just cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I'll take a few ads over subscriptions or micro payments every time I want to look at something any day.

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Hate for flash ads is silly anyway

People moaning about flash ads are in for a treat when advertisers get around to using canvas, video and other features of HTML 5 to accomplish something equally distracting and probably more CPU sapping due to the overheads of running in a single thread. It's only a matter of time.

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Strong words

I know phones with big screens stir up emotion but the article reads more like a blogger big upping his iPhone to his Android owning friends.

It's really quite simple, if you want a phone that has flash get an Android, if you want your friends respect get an iPhone.

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FAIL

"choice"?

"Choice" is only worth providing when said choice is of some intrinsic value to the user. A dozen text editors is certainly "choice", but damned few users will *use* them all.

As for: "It is better to have the option and not use it, than not having it at all." Bullshit.

Read Donald A. Norman's "The Design of Everyday Things" and stop believing all the rubbish you've been fed about pointless "choice". That's marketing spin, *not* design.

Do you insist on covering every single door in your house with fifteen different types of knob, handle and push-bar in the name of "choice"? No? Then why the fuck do you demand product designers do the *same damned thing*?

(And no, before you hurl the "Apple fanboi" ad hominem at me: I do not own an iPhone. I own a Nokia 2630 with the exact same "antennagate" problem as the iPhone 4, but for a mere fraction of the price. And Nokia clearly invented "Antennagate" way back in 2008, too. I do hope they've patented it...)

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Jobs Horns

stu_2u@yahoo.co.uk

This choice matter is a joke, Apple don't want you to have a choice, take Swype or SwipeIT, two keyboard input methods which take screen input to another level, however Jobs will not allow it on the iPhone as he wants them all to be the same!

Thing is, all it actually does is stifle invention and proper competition, but then this is Apple, the one computer manufacturer in the world who insists on certain hardware to run its boxes!

No not to stifle competition, but for stability it says, stability providing you have paid over the odds in reality, the better the public wise to Apple the better for all, worryingly I hear more and more people talk about getting a Mac because their JudasPhone is so good!

This just proves that most end users are oblivious to the real market, they want something simple, one big red button which does it all would be perfect, personally I want something feature rich but I can understand the point, can't see anyone shaking them easily either, Apple are on the Up and we better get use to it!

Work asked me just last week if I wanted Mac training!

I said I have been flashing for years why do I need training?!

Joking of course but seriously how offensive, if anyone see's me in a MAC training room you have my written permission to take me to the vet and get me put down!

Not that I am an M$ fan either, as I am writing this I am sitting in a M$ course advising how turning up the signal strength of an access point would NOT help connectivity when the signal is weak!!!

Really?

Sometimes I wish I was dumb, deaf & blind, then I could fit right in with either of these two companies who has about as much foresight as FIFA and their legendary Technology brigade!

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FAIL

RE: stu_2u@yahoo.co.uk

"Apple, the one computer manufacturer in the world who insists on certain hardware to run its boxes!"

Err, the hardware is the stuff in the box...

A hardware manufacturer wanting you to use their hardware? Whatever next?

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Jobs Halo

RE: Once I install flash

I use ClickToFlash. It's pretty much the same...

The point is that Windows or Mac user, no-one really likes Flash (except Flash developers!!!)

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This post has been deleted by its author

Grenade

... too much flash hating ...

I've ever perplexed at this l33t g33k feeling that flash is crap.

No, get off your high horse, stop acting like silly Luddites - *much* of what is produced using flash as a platform is crap.

Before XHTML5 & CSS3, Flash (and other technologies) gave what the web was crying out for - rich media. If you don't like Rich Media, that's your prerogative. If you feel the web should be entirely text based, good for you - but don't expect many people to buy that sentiment.

I'll buy that flash ads are intrusive, CPU hogging beasts - but then, there's plenty of other annoying ad technologies that don't require flash.

... but lets leave ads, we all hate them, but they pay the bills (there really isn't such a thing as a free lunch) ...

Some of the most enjoyable online games I've played are flash based.

Some of the most impressive vehicles for presenting information on the web are flash based.

The fact that there's so much rubbish flash on the net is a moot point - the net is filled with an awesome amount of pure crap. It doesn't take flash to make that so, it just takes idiots.

But lets get to the core argument behind the negative sentiment toward flash - the educated argument.

1. Proprietary, closed source - yep, it is. But then, our very access to the internet is thus. What's wrong with that? Do you think innovation & technology are free to develop? This is an entirely different argument. Suffice to say, both closed and open source solutions have their merits. Like or loathe it, closed source is here to stay.

2. CPU hogging - yep, I'll give you that. But for the most part, that's just down to poor implementation & page overload from other sources - the same applies to *any* content.

There's not really much more to say other than I fail to understand how educated minds could be so ridiculous to loathe a technology that has been the mainstay of rich media for over a decade.

As usual, the baby is in with the bath water - the full picture hasn't been assessed and the knee jerk reaction is to just kick when it's down....

... und zo ...

... suck on this ...

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