Why Isn’t Flash Player Available for Most Tablets?

We own a Samsung Galaxy Note 2.1 10.1. Our business requires us to frequent websites with Shockwave features, which require Flash player on clients. But our tablet does not support Flash Player. So we can’t use our tablet to visit some of the websites we use on a daily basis. At least we couldn’t until we bought a Puffin Browser for our tablet. We will write more about the Puffin Browser in another post to this blog, but for our purposes in this post, we will simply say the Puffin Browser works.

Who benefits when consumers like us cannot access the services they require with computing devices? We aren’t sure. But we are confident somebody eventually benefits from constructing a serious obstacle between consumers and successful use of tablets (built with ARM chips) to access the information they need. (Note: the Microsoft Surface RT is a notable exception to the “ARM Chip/no Flash Player” rule. Flash Player works fine on the Surface RT)

Laptops, desktop computers, and even hybrid laptop/tablet computers are all entirely capable of supporting Flash Player. So we think it’s safe to say excluding tablet users from accessing Shockwave features on websites benefits PC manufacturers. At least two of these manufacturers are also prominent manufacturers of consumer printers — Dell and HP. Adobe, who also happens to be the ISV behind Flash Player and Shockwave, has deep relationships with each of the printer manufacturers (after all, Adobe is also the ISV behind PostScript).

It’s also important to keep in mind two other facts:

  1. Steve Jobs spoke publicly about Apple’s decision not to support Flash Player with the first iPad tablets
  2. and Google, the ISV behind Android, has its own video player for Youtube

Given the above points the whole issue of Flash player and tablets is controversial. At present it appears Adobe is highly selective about just which tablet manufacturers can support Flash Player.

When we consider this problem, we can’t help but think the industry has cannibalized itself.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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