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Google mocks Jobs with Flash on Android

'Um, people use it'

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Google I/O Google has unveiled a new incarnation of Android: version 2.2, codenamed Froyo. And yes, it includes support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1.

"It turns out that on the internet, people use Flash," Google vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra said this morning as he unveiled the new Android at the company's annual developer conference in San Francisco. As he demoed Froyo - and hailed the continued expansion of the Android platform - Gundotra slipped in more than few sideways jabs at Steve Jobs and Apple.

At one point, Gundotra said that if Android hadn't arrived, the mobile world faced a future controlled by one man and one carrier - and as he spoke, a slide appeared behind him that read "Not a Future We Want. 1984."

At the same time, Froyo brings Chrome's V8 Javascript engine to the Android browser, promising three times the performance. Gundotra couldn't help but run a demo showing Froyo besting the Apple iPad on Javascript speed.

Froyo is short for Frozen yogurt. Google likes to name Android releases after desserts.

The new OS also offers a new Dalvik JIT compiler purported to offer two to five times better performance on CPU-bound code, a Microsoft Exchange front-end, tethering tools that can transform handsets into portable hotspots, and several new APIs. These APIs handle everything from application data backup, messaging between devices and server-based services, and management of devices by IT admins.

Last month, Andy Rubin, Google's Android project lead, told The New York Times that the company would include Flash on Android 2.2. With Steve Jobs and Apple banning Flash from the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad - even when translated into Apple machine code - Google is suddenly Adobe's BFF. The company also intends to bundle Flash with its Chrome browser.

This isn't all that surprising when you consider that YouTube is built on Flash - and that Flash is such a popular advertising technology. But just a year ago at the 2009 Google I/O, Mountain View was hailing HTML5 as the future of web development.

Google believes in "open." But that could mean anything. Rubin told The Times that it means "not being militant about the things consumer[s] are actually enjoying." Gundotra echoed these words. "Being open on the web means not being exclusive," he said.

It should be noted that Flash 10.1 is still in beta. ®

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