It looks like the iPad’s lack of Flash support won’t be a major disadvantage quite yet, as it’s first major competitor, the Motorola Xoom, will be shipping without Flash support initially. Motorola says Flash will come to the Xoom “later this Spring”.
In a report today by Apple Insider, it was pointed out that the Verizon carrier site for the Motorola Xoom has some fine print noting that while Flash is expected to arrive on the Xoom this Spring, it will not be present at launch. This means that Xoom early adopters will have the same browsing experience as iPad users – Flash free.
Flash support has been a major bullet point for iPad competitors as Apple famously omits the platform from all iOS devices. Citing performance issues as the primary reason, the new class of processors being put in tablets this year have more than enough horsepower to handle Adobe Flash.
It will be interesting to see how Android tablet users respond to Flash on these new devices however, because in addition to performance Apple has also cited several usability concerns for Flash on tablets. Most Flash relies on a ‘hover’ type gesture where options or information are exposed to a user when they hover their mouse cursor over a piece of content.
The problem with a touchscreen interface and this type of content is that there is no ‘hovering’ on a touchscreen interface. You are either touching an element to select it, or not. This means that even if Apple were to enable Flash on iOS devices, most Flash content would still be only partially or completely unusable due to this conflict.
Apple’s dedication to a smooth user experience means that due to this and other issues, Flash may never be part of iOS. So it remains to be seen how much benefit Android and other tablet users really see from the inclusion of Flash. With most web video being playable without a Flash player at this point, it may turn out to be more PR bluster than actual gained functionality.
We will have to wait until Motorola brings it to the Xoom to find out, but when we do we will let you know!