Even with these kinks, however, Flash for Android is perhaps the most hyped item on the platform. Often used as the silver bullet in Android-vs-anything-else flamewars, the presence of Flash has been drummed up to seem like a make-or-break item for a platform’s success. But how many people really care?
Earlier today, ZDNet noted that Flash for Android has made its way to 1 million handsets. Time for math!
It’s been a while since Google has disclosed how many Android handsets are floating around, instead opting to reveal how many units are being sold per day. As such, our numbers are a bit fuzzy, but should be indicative of how things are going in general.
If we use the numbers we know to be true (roughly 500k Android phones sold in 2008, 7.7 million in 2009, 100k per day from Jan to May 2010, and 200k per day from June on), we can estimate that at least 41.2 million Android handsets are floating around. More generous estimates put the platform at around 50 million units pushed.
Now, according to the numbers released yesterday, roughly 30% of the Android phones out there are running Android 2.2, which is a requirement for Flash compatibility (except for the Nexus One, which had an early build of Flash on 2.1). That brings the number of Android handsets out there that could possibly run Flash down to somewhere between 12.4 million and 15 million.
Now, Flash just cracked 1 million downloads. Depending on which estimate you use, that means that Flash has found its way to somewhere between 6% and 8% of the Android handsets that it could possibly run on.
Thanks to YouTube, Farmville, and other online obsessions, Flash is about as prominent as web technologies come. Is <8% penetration in one month a good number for something so well-known and oft discussed? Sure. It’s not fantastic, but it’s certainly not a failure. With that said, it also seems like the importance of Flash to the masses might be getting a bit blown out of proportion (Thats what Steve Jobs Said).
We’ll have to check back in on this one in a few months.
“It’s not an API issue,” said Anup Murarka( director of technical marketing for mobile and devices for Adobe), noting that the Flash team is investigating the sites that had trouble with on a Android 2.2 device. Flash Player 10.1 uses the same code base across experiences, but sites aren’t set up to provide a desktop experience on a mobile device. We consider the the problem is the fact it usually does video and some games sites, but can’t really give a good capable enough desktop experience. So when does this problem become more important? When tablets start launching. Android tablets will have Flash and device makers like Samsung and Research in Motion are touting a full Web experience. The rub: Sites may read an Android operating system and deliver a stripped down mobile page sans Flash and video. Cmon now Larger screens need to show off Flash and a good browsing experience, at least!!!.