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Motorola Xoom Won't Have Flash Support At Launch 187

Several readers have sent word that Motorola's Xoom tablet, marketed as the iPad's first significant competitor, won't ship with Flash support. Quoting: "Support for Adobe's Flash technology has been an argument for the Android operating system since Apple CEO Steve Jobs notoriously said that Flash is a dying technology and that it won't make it onto iOS devices for several reasons. Flash support appeared in Android with version 2.2 and Google even flaunted it as a killer feature for tablets running Honeycomb (3.0), like the Motorola Xoom. But it looks like Adobe and/or Google have yet to put the finishing touches on Flash's implementation in Android 3.0. An advertisement for the Xoom on Verizon's site says (in 6 point text at the bottom) that Adobe Flash support on the Xoom is expected in Spring 2011, meaning this functionality won't be available at the launch of the first Honeycomb tablet on February 24. Considering how slow carriers and manufacturers are when it comes to software updates, this Spring 2011 update could mean more like late Spring 2011 ETA."
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Motorola Xoom Won't Have Flash Support At Launch

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  • I think... (Score:3, Funny)

    by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @03:21PM (#35270646)

    the Xoom is going to Xuck. I'll keep my Nook.

    • Xoom, Flash, all these 'fast' names ... I'd like something slower please. Can I have a nice product called 'Savor'?
    • It's pronounced "exhume."

  • Only Apple can get away with a move like that!
  • But that's good right? Isn't Flash an inefficient battery drainer like we are constantly told? If so, why is this bad news?

    • It's interesting that the majority of Slashdotters will froth at the mouth at the mere mention of the Evil Flash, and claim that *they* have it blocked anyway...

      But mention a device that ships without it, and it's "crippled"...
      • by uniquename72 ( 1169497 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:33PM (#35271486)
        I don't run MSOffice either, but if you wanted to sell me a computer specifically designed to disallow running it, I'd tell you to shove it.

        Also, despite blocking Flash from running ads on websites, I could still allow it with a single click if I came across a useful use of it.

        And finally, I also run NoScript, but that doesn't mean no scripts ever run on my machine -- I allow what I want to allow.
        • Sorry, is there a device/computer specifically designed not to run Flash?!
            • Yep, requirement number one, before they even decided on the form factor, was that it is not to run Flash.

              That's totally true.

            • Um, no. Jobs has welcomed Adobe's attempt to produce a build of flash that wouldn't cripple the iPad and made sense for the interface.

              I do believe Adobe has yet to come up with such build, instead they decided to launch an anti campaign. Seems to me that Adobe knows it's impossible and knows that Flash is flawed.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @05:45PM (#35272210)
        Flash isn't evil, it's just abused. When you load a page and it has 3 or 4 flash ads and every tab in your browser is the same your computer is going to have a hernia. Some people pretend this is Flash's fault but the reality is that if pages were serving up the equivalent workload in HTML5 performance is bound to be even worse. At least the Flash plugin can spawn threads, do background rendering and so on. Everything in HTML5 on the same page will be competing on the same thread (web workers could potentially handle some load but nothing DOM related).

        The remedy is to use an ad blocker so you can pick and choose what content to receive. In time I expect Ad Block will be used as much to curb the abuses of HTML5 as it is for Flash now. Assuming HTML5 ads aren't inlined and obfuscated which is a distinct possibility.

    • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:24PM (#35271382) Journal

      But that's good right? Isn't Flash an inefficient battery drainer like we are constantly told? If so, why is this bad news?

      It's not bad news. You apparently didn't get the Slashdot memo:
      No Flash on iPad = vice
      No Flash on Android = virtue

      • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMpitabred.dyndns.org> on Monday February 21, 2011 @05:40PM (#35272178) Homepage

        Flash on Android is a choice. It's not on the iPad.

        The correct slashdot memo is:

        Choice = good
        No choice = bad

        • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

          On the other hand, the more devices out there that are incapable of running Flash, the more likely Flash falls out of fashion. I'm all for that, frankly.

          • That's basically my thought on the matter, too. the sooner flash disappears, the better. It's an abomination and never should have been allowed on the web.
        • Yes, and people are continuing to _choose_ a device that they know won't run Flash.

          (I find it very funny that this new device won't have Flash at launch, and Windows Mobile won't have copy/paste, two things that people hugely mocked iOS about at certain times.. Why aren't these competitors making sure they have these alleged huge superiorities fixed at launch??)

    • by dclozier ( 1002772 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:53PM (#35271720)

      Isn't Flash an inefficient battery drainer like we are constantly told?

      That's incorrect - Flash is very efficient at draining batteries. ;)

  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Monday February 21, 2011 @03:25PM (#35270696)

    From the headline I was concerned that Xoom wasn't going to have reprogrammable nonvolatile memory [wikipedia.org].

    I need to get out more.

  • by yog ( 19073 ) * on Monday February 21, 2011 @03:30PM (#35270750) Homepage Journal

    Honestly, Flash is nice to have but not the be-all end-all that some have made it out to be. On my Android handheld, flash is almost all advertisements. On my iPad, I've been able to stream Netflix, Yahoo clips, YouTube, and WSJ videos with no problem. Somehow they've worked around the no-Flash limitation.

    As a side note, I love my new iPad but some spouse or daughter is going to inherit it as soon as one of these awesome Honeycomb tablets comes down to my price range. iPad is great, but a bit too closed for my tastes. I'll just have to suffer a few months longer...

    • Unless something changes, you'll give up your Netflix streaming when you trade your iPad for a Android tablet. I'm hoping that Netflix will make a honeycomb version of their player.
      • If you keep your iPad (or buy a new one), don't count on keeping your Netflix or Kindle apps. Apple is demanding that they sell their movies and books through Apple, and hand over 30% of the revenue. Apple is threatening to pull the apps if they don't get their way. It may end up that you will give up your Netflix streaming if you stay with Apple. Both Netflix and Amazon have annouced that they will release Android versions of their apps this year.
        • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:47PM (#35271652)

          If you keep your iPad (or buy a new one), don't count on keeping your Netflix or Kindle apps. Apple is demanding that they sell their movies and books through Apple, and hand over 30% of the revenue.

          If you read details of the new subscription model [tuaw.com], Apple clearly says: " . . . when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing. " So if you currently have a Netflix account, Apple gets nothing. If you sign up for a new account through Netflix, Apple gets nothing. If you sign up for Netflix through Apple, Apple keeps 30%. Will Netflix go for that? It remains to be seen, but details matter.

          • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

            Details do matter. Here are a couple more.

            The Apple price has to be equal or less than the outside price.

            The developer isn't allowed to include a link to purchase outside of Apple within the app.

            For Netflix, right this moment, I suspect that this won't matter. Netflix almost certainly gets most of their revenue from people signing up first.

            For Amazon, this is a huge deal[*]. People will buy things after having installed the Kindle app, and will probably be pretty likely to do so from within the app where

            • Frankly, I hope that Apple gets slapped down by the FTC over this. Taking a cut is one thing, but requiring equal or lower prices is quite another and is obviously and blatantly anticompetitive.

              You can say that's anti-competitive for Apple but the reverse means it's anti-competitive for Amazon. If Amazon can say that prices for Ebooks bought through Apple will be higher than Ebooks bought through Amazon (even though it's the same book), who's being anti-competitve? Apple is saying if companies want to use their infrastructure, they can't up the price.

              • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

                It's anticompetitive because Apple has their own bookstore.

                • And so does Amazon.
                  • Right. However, Apple also runs the platform.

                    My analogy: Imagine a mall. Apple has a cute litte bookstore. Amazon has this giant multi-level warehouse-like bookstore. Sony has this tiny little kiosk.

                    Amazon makes a ton of money selling lots of books through their store. They have the market clout to get great prices and they keep their overhead low with their warehouse-like store. Apple has a nicer store where people will suggest books and be friendly and they make a little money. Sony makes a little

                    • Your analogy would be structurally closer if all three owned malls. Remember, Amazon and Sony have their own businesses. Amazon sells music and books as does Apple and Sony. Sony sells electronics and computers some of which compete with Apple. Amazon sells other goods but sells both Sony and Apple goods. In other words, all three have a very complicated arrangement where they partner and compete with each other at the same time. The bottom line is if Sony or Amazon want to sell in Apple's store they
        • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

          [Citation needed]

    • I think that, in large part(aside from specific niche/legacy stuff that is simply "flash or nothing", which is comparatively rare but very important to certain buyers) Flash is more of an issue for runners-up.

      Because Apple has a fairly impressive chunk of the desirable customers demographic and a strong no-flash position on their iDevices, many outfits who were previously content to use flash have had to adjust. However, many of them have just churned out an iDevice-specific app that wraps their web cont
      • What this is the fact that apple and other devices have H.264 decoding chips embedded in the hardware. H.264 doesn't require a flash container. You'll find it a lot of places as a .m4v in a mpeg 4 container. For video that is all Flash is was a container. It just happened to be the container that was nearly universal for both mac and pc for many years.

        • For pure *tube cases, it is true that Flash is essentially entirely unnecessary. As you say, it just does decode on an mp4 or flv video pulled from a URL, and provides a few basic play control widgets(and typically ads...).

          On quite a few sites, the URL for the video file is clearly visible in the page source. You can even rewrite the page on the client side for HTML5 video with some basic greasemonkey or equivalent. Annoyingly, enough sites do a little bit of obfuscation/screwing around with referrer URLs
    • by Qwavel ( 733416 )

      "On my iPad, I've been able to stream Netflix, Yahoo clips, YouTube, and WSJ videos with no problem. Somehow they've worked around the no-Flash limitation."

      Yes, that's because either they support HTML5 video (YouTube), or they abandon web delivery and use iTunes or App Store, for those that want content protection.

      That's great for Apple, which gets to implement their 30% tax and block stuff for whatever strategic, political, or moral reason they like, but that is bad for:
      - for consumers who will eventually

      • - for consumers who will eventually have to pay ~30% more,

        That's a fee for marketing and distribution. I'm skeptical that we consumers would pay 30% less if developers all had to manage their own sales, marketing, and distribution channels. The evidence so far indicates that we can expect to pay 60% less on apps delivered through the app store, despite this 30% fee.

        So, while DRM is generally obnoxious, it is not nearly so bad when it is not used to artificially restrict the devices that I can watch it on (e.g. as with Kindle or anything Apple).

        How does forcing video to HTML5/H.265 artificially restrict the devices you can watch it on?

        • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

          - for consumers who will eventually have to pay ~30% more,

          That's a fee for marketing and distribution. I'm skeptical that we consumers would pay 30% less if developers all had to manage their own sales, marketing, and distribution channels. The evidence so far indicates that we can expect to pay 60% less on apps delivered through the app store, despite this 30% fee.

          Amazon claims to take 30% (that's slightly off as I understand it, but good enough for our purposes) and give 70% upstream. Now Apple wants 30% of the whole, which is equivalent to Amazon's cut. Amazon can increase the cost by some amount in order to make any money whatsoever on the sale, or they can completely eat any in-app purchases (hoping that extra-app purchases make up enough to keep the whole thing profitable) or they can stop distributing their Kindle app.

      • That's great for Apple, which gets to implement their 30% tax and block stuff for whatever strategic, political, or moral reason they like, but that is bad for:

        Let's be clear here. Apple keeps 30% of revenue for apps sold. This pays for the payment processing (including the credit card processing fee) as well as all the infrastructure involved. If the developer does not charge for his/her app (and many of the ones above do not), the Apple gets nothing. As for subscriptions, the new model is this: Apple gets 30% of subscriptions if Apple is the one that originates the subscription. If the subscription already exists or was initiated through the content provid

        • by biovoid ( 785377 )

          - for consumers who will eventually have to pay ~30% more

          Only if the content provider decides to charge two different tiers based on where the subscription originated.

          Except that one of Apple's terms is that you CAN'T charge a lower price in your own store than what you charge in Apple's store. You're not allowed to undercut Apple.

          • So content providers have three choices: 1)Keep prices the same for both tiers and do not make as much money on Apple's subscriptions. 2) Raise prices across all subscriptions or 3) Do not do business with Apple. Whatever the choice they decide it's up to them to make a choice. But also remember that Apple only gets the subscriptions cut from the subscriptions they generate. Subscriptions not generated by them are not charged.
      • You seem to be confused. Apple aren't trying to put a "30% tax" on video embedded in web pages, they just don't support the (buggy/unreliable/battery draining/whatever excuse) Flash plugin on the iPad. You're free to watch videos using any other container, just not wrapped in an outdated proprietary plugin that was originally designed for putting vector graphics on web pages.
  • It's sort of a bummer if the first honeycomb tablet wont support one of(if not the) largest video sites. After all, that used to be a selling point. I know there are hacked together solutions that convert content "in the cloud" and push to the device, but thats got limited support.
    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      What are you talking about? Phones and tablets use the youtube app to stream video. There is no flash required at all.

    • If YouTube is dependent on Flash, how do you suppose my iPhone has been viewing YouTube videos from Day 1 (and the iPad has done likewise)? YouTube's video is encoded as MPEG-4. Devices using Flash using Flash to decode and play the MPEG-4. Devices that can directly play the MPEG-4 just do that. This isn't rocket science to understand.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      You are kidding right? Smart Phones have had a YouTube app for years and now YouTube has an HTML 5 mode that supports h.264 or at least did and they are adding WebM support.
      So the answer is a simple no it isn't.

    • What you naysayers dont forget is that the mp4 encoded video is wrapped in a flash container.

      The apps you speak of either transcode from the flv or extract the mp4(depending on the device) I've used apple, motorola, samsung, nokia, ZTE and Blackberry devices and none seem to access the full youtube library. Some devices default to m.youtube.com which is even more limited. Explaining this to my family, friends and customers is always trouble. Average people just want stuff to work. Those apps do not always

  • I have a Galaxy tab. The dedicated youtube app works fine, but running flash within the browser brings the whole machine to a halt for many seconds.
    As a result, Vimeo is pretty much uselss and they don't have a dedicated app yet (just a buggy fan-made app).
    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @03:44PM (#35270924)
      So what you're saying is that from your first hand experience, Flash on Android sucks. From my perspective, it's been about 8 months since Flash on Android has been released and they still haven't gotten the kinks out yet enough for it to be usable. I remember when Jobs made the argument nine months ago that Flash for mobile just was not suitable. A lot of people here on slashdot responded that that Flash for Android would prove him wrong. In your opinion, do you think that today Jobs was more right or the Flash supporters?
      • considering that it will be another 2-3 years before flash on android/arm is stable enough to actually use, and the current version has many limitations.(not all flash features are actually supported enough to run).

        I would say Jobs is right. The underlying hardware is changing far to fast for Adobe to keep up. Adobe's 5 year development cycles just don't cut it in a market that changes every 6 months.

        • by biovoid ( 785377 )
          Adobe releases a new major version (x.0) of the Flash Player every 18 months, and that cycle is getting shorter with each version. They release minor versions almost weekly. But don't let the facts get in the way of your hatred. That's twice now.
      • That's inconsistent with my experience. I run flash on my Galaxy S and find it to be just fine for animations and video. There are no problems with the load time. I do notice that activities like scrolling and zooming become 'choppy', but that hasn't killed my experience. I expect my mobile device to be a little less snappy when viewing video. To compensate, I just set Dolphin to display Flash content only when I want to see it. I then have the choice to view the content or not. I appreciate that.


  • Is there any video of someone actually using the Xoom? So far the only video I've found is someone using it's video player.
  • Motorola has been quite bad about promising updates and not delivering. See here [motorola.com] for a list of broken promises. Especially glaring was the failure on the Cliq XT. A year of "we're testing it" followed by "we just couldn't do it". Never mind that the phone ships in Korea running 2.1, never mind that custom 2.1 firmwares work flawlessly, they just wanted to sell new phones. I know Moto is just another big corp doing what big corps do, but eff them, I (and all the non-techies that ask my advice) won't be buying Moto anything again.
    • by wiredog ( 43288 )

      Yeah, you can buy LG! Because they're so much better! Or Apple! Or..

      Actually, I hear HTC and Samsung are pretty good.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        I would not say Samsung is pretty good. The Moment has several software issues that have never been resolved by Samsung but can be fixed by rooting and updating to "enthusiast" builds.
        I was so soured on my Moment that when I could I updated to the HTC Evo. While I wished it have a stock build it is a very nice device and is running 2.2. 2.3 is supposed to come in March but until I see it I don't believe it.

    • Motorola has been quite bad about promising updates and not delivering.

      Au contraire, they are quite good at promising updates and not delivering. They do it all the time.

    • by seifried ( 12921 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:29PM (#35271444) Homepage
      Say what you will about Apple but they do support their devices properly for a good ~3 years or more in most cases. The only way I'd buy an Android device is if it was fully unlocked so I can update it myself using stock Android firmware and still have 100% functionality, otherwise you know you're going to get screwed (not if, but when).
    • You've given a reasonable case against Motorola. Who do you recommend (for Android)? Who has a good track record of delivering what they promise? Perhaps more importantly, who has a good track record of supporting updates for phones that are no longer being sold?

      I have a Motorola Droid, and I've had no problem because I've just rooted it and installed my own upgrades. My bigger concern with Motorola is their trend of attempting to DRM lock the bootloader to prevent rooting. They make it harder for us t

  • I have moved into a flash free existence and all of my devices are better off. My electricity bill was less.

  • by Tr3vin ( 1220548 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:01PM (#35271110)
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=11520394#post11520394 [xda-developers.com]

    While not as good as official support at launch, this may help those who need flash.
  • by Arkham ( 10779 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:24PM (#35271370)
    I have a couple of mobile devices with purported Flash support (Nokia N900 and N8), and while they play video and handle "click" ok, they don't do mouseover, dragging, and other things that makes anything besides video viable. The one device that I saw that supported these advanced features did so by creating a virtual cursor that you moved via arrow keys -- terrible. When Apple decided not to support Flash, this was one of the justifications, and in my mind, the only truly legitimate one. Until Adobe redesigns flash with some sort of drag or gesture support, it's always going to be a poor experience on mobile devices.
    • Lack of mouseover/out is a touchscreen thing. You touched it, you clicked.
    • by biovoid ( 785377 )
      Flash supports mouseover - your device doesn't (because it's a touchscreen). Flash has supported multitouch, gestures and even accelerometer events since late 2009.
  • Seems close enough. At least it isn't on AT&T. I'm still waiting for my Captivate to be updated so the GPS will work properly.

  • To be honest, I've never heard of a firmware update coming from Motorola. All I hear is excuses. My L6 and Quench (aka Cliq xt) never got their update, so I'm basically a sitting duck for malware in Android. The L6 was trusty, but the Quench is full of bugs I'll never get fixed. I'm just waiting for Cyanogen Mod to add support to the MIB501 to erase the crap out of that phone.

    • Flash doesn't require a firmware update. It is supported by Adobe, and they have been fairly regularly updating Flash player for Android.

      For the record though, the original droid shipped with 2.0 and it has received updates for both 2.1 and 2.2.

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