With Droid 2, Adobe Flash stakes its claim

Adobe finally has a hot smartphone that's shipping with the latest version of Flash -- take that, Apple.

Adobe is latching on to the launch of Motorola's Droid 2, reminding the world that Flash 10.1 is here to make the iPhone look silly.

A video on Adobe's Website shows Flash in action on the Droid 2. The phone handles web video from sites like CBS along with interactivity within the video, such as buttons for sharing with social networks. Interactive content, such as The Sims' mobile Website, also seems to work well.

The Droid 2 isn't the first Android phone to run Flash 10.1. That honor goes to HTC's Evo 4G, which upgraded to Android 2.2 last week, followed by Motorola's first-generation Droid. But the Droid 2 is the first Android phone to come with Android 2.2, and therefore Flash 10.1, installed out of the box, and it uses hardware acceleration to give Flash an extra kick.

I like the "show, don't tell" approach Adobe is taking now. When Apple chief executive Steve Jobs published a long essay on why iOS devices do not and will not support Flash, the coldest diss was this one: "We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it."

Say what you will about freedom of choice, but without actual phones running full versions of Flash, there wasn't much that Adobe, or Flash's supporters, could say in defense (but not for lack of trying).

Now, Adobe has the stage. It has a hot smartphone that's shipping with the latest version of Flash -- not the lightweight version that shipped with HTC's Hero -- and a Website, m.flash.com, to showcase the best uses of Flash for mobile phones.

This is Flash's make-or-break moment. If Flash becomes a killer Droid 2 feature, Adobe can finally say that it proved Apple wrong. But if people find that battery drain, slower page loading, and distracting Website ads are more trouble than Flash is worth, Adobe may never recover, and the mobile Web will continue to march towards HTML5, to Steve Jobs' delight.

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Tags smartphonesMotorolaAndroidflashmobile phonesPhonesGoogle Androidconsumer electronicsGoogle Android phonesAdobe SystemsMotorola Droid 2

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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