Thoughts on Mobile Flash

So, the big story/controversy/hub-bub in the tech world right now is mobile Flash.  Everyone knows Apple won’t allow Flash on the iPhone due to its poor performance.  Now, Flash has been shown running on Android.  It was buggy and slow, and turned the entire browsing experience in to a painful mess.

Now, many geeks have been clamoring for Flash, even though it’s a dying technology, and have been bashing Apple for their hard-line stance against Flash.  “At least give us the choice,” seems to be the rallying cry.  Apple is taking away their choice to run (and write) Flash.  These same geeks are defending the horribly running Flash on Android saying that you can turn it off.  At least you have the choice.  You can run it when you want to access sites like Hulu, but turn it off for regular browsing.

Here’s the problem, and this is why this is bad for Android and Google.  The average user (you know, the target demographic if you want these devices to actually be profitable) could care less about Flash.  What’s more, and here’s the key, they won’t know how to turn it off.  Only the geeks who think there’s a need for Flash in the future of the mobile web will know how to turn it on and off.  The average user will be stuck with it (because it’ll be there by default).  The average user won’t have the choice, so all they are going to see is how painful it is to surf the web on their Flash-running Android device.

What’s worse is they’re not even going to know that Flash is the problem.  All they’re going to see is how slow and buggy their web browser is.  Then, they’re going to look over at their iPhone (and iPad) using friends, and see them browsing the web with no problems, and still getting Hulu through the iPhone/iPad app that will certainly come out in the near future.  Then, they’re going to wonder why they didn’t just get an iPhone in the first place.

This is the part the geeks, and by extension the tech websites, don’t seem to get.  Apple could care less if the geeks flock to Android, with feelings of false superiority just because they can run Flash, as long as the average user (the majority of their customers) have a flawless, “it just works”, experience with their iPhones.  They’re not going to let the vocal minority’s hollering stand in the way of that.

Let Google and Android market to the geeks, we’ll see how well that works out for them and mobile Flash.