Motorola 'flagship' Honeycomb tablet to ship sans Flash
Its Android not yet Adobe-fied
Will Brits who choose to splash out on Motorola's 10in Android tablet, Xoom, be able to view Adobe Flash-encoded content? Americans won't.
According to US network operator Verizon, the Xoom's Flash support is "expected Spring 2011", and not when the tablet goes on sale on this coming Thursday, 24 February.
The omission would be of small consequence had not so many Android tablet makers chortled so loudly that their offerings deliver "the full web experience" - code for Flash support - because their chief rival, Apple's iPad, infamously does not.
Motorola will be selling the Xoom in the UK through Carphone Warehouse, but since the tablet isn't expected here until some time in Q2, it should have Flash on board at launch.
The sound you can hear is a host of CW and Motorola UK staffers touching wood all at the same time.
To be fair, Motorola is not the first tablet maker to face such a Flash fail.
Toshiba's first tablet, the Folio 100, was dropped by exclusive UK seller Dixons because it didn't do Flash. It has now gained Flash support - a feature manufacturers and retailers will tell you is essential for UK sales success - and will be relaunched next month.
Speaking of Dixons, a mole tells us that its Vega tablet has suffered from Flash playback woes, though again, this is expected to be sorted any moment now.
This is the problem with Flash. Every hardware and software combo needs to be certified by Adobe.
In the past, Intel often touted its Atom chip as superior to ARM because the standard platform it provides will run Windows and Linux Flash players out of the box. ARM-based devices need specially coded Flash players, because of the subtle differences in ARM chips, which are made by different vendors out of the technology templates ARM provides.
That's not a reason to abandon ARM - it has many advantages over Atom, not least its impressive power efficiency - but it shows how 'ARM plus Android' is not the standard platform you might assume it to be.
It also explains why so few other tablet makers are rushing to market with Android 3.0 Honeycomb devices. ®
Looks like Apple may have been dead right
One of the reasons that Apple gave for not supporting Flash was that it would leave them at Adobe's mercy for updates. I assume the issue here is that Flash for Android 3.0 isn't ready yet. While this is borderline tolerable on Android, where users do not usually expect or get timely OS updates, it would clearly be unacceptable on iOS, where users generally get the update a few hours after it comes out. Imagine if Apple had to hold back iOS 5 by six months because Adobe was dragging its heels on Flash!
Fnarr, snork, etc...
"The sound you can hear is a host of CW and Motorola UK staffers touching wood all at the same time."
To be fair, I've always thought that most CW sales staff were w*nkers.....
The words "Bwah" and "Haha" spring to mind. iPad 2 will be out before anyone brings out anything remotely competitive. The tablet market needs good kit from a range of vendors, only rather than making tablets that are good products by their own right, everyone is doing the exact same "Let's do stuff the iPad doesn't do!" bandwagon, and then failing to actually make good on the promises. The android lot need to both ship a good tablet between them (and prove that they will honour the upgrade paths), RIM needs to shut up and just ship ANYTHING, given that they have already introduced the playbook right up the 3rd generation without a single unit in anyones hands, and the WEBOS one needs to arrive on time with the announced spec. Anything else is just handing the market to apple on a plate. And let's not mention Nokia, eh...
I wasn't aware of all the port problems involved with the "standard" ARM processor...does this affect all native-code applications, or is Flash merely more sensitive to chipset differences?
Flash or not.....
...I ain't buying one. Waaaay too expensive for a fondleslab that does even less than an iPad, which is itself waaay too expensive for what it is - an entertainment device good for simple apps, games, browsing, music and photos.
Loads of people have responded to previous tablet articles, clarifying their hardware/operating system/price expectations and I agree with them all.
Well I may consider buying one when it is liquidated stock, after it has bombed bigtime due to the issues already discussed umpteen times over.