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Flash Player on Android: High Performance, Low Battery Drain

The Adobe Flash Player gets a bad rap for its performance on mobile devices, but is it warranted? To find out how much of a difference the Flash Player makes to Android devices' battery times, Transitions, Inc. ran a five-day study with six Android phones running Flash Player 10.1. The upshot: while the Flash Player decreases battery life slightly, it boosts performances a great deal.

Transitions, Inc, a technology consulting firm co-founded in 2003 by StreamingMedia.com contributing editor Tim Siglin, tested two Motorola, two HTC, and two Samsung phones running the 10.1 plug-in. The plug-in was a slightly modified version provided by Adobe that gathered important test result information.

Transitions ran tests with basic sites, a combination of games and immersive sites, purely games, and purely immersive sites. In the end, it found that Flash doesn't hit the battery that hard.

"Flash Player 10.1, in our initial tests, has negligible battery drain impact. Wi-Fi based use of Flash Player 10.1 in the native browser, with no other applications running, appears to use battery power consistent with that of non-Flash Player 10.1 content," the report says.

One animation test compared results playing back Flash and HTML content and found a slight battery life difference of 10 minutes, but a significant performance difference: "Flash Player 10.1 performance was 350 percent better than HTML, running an average of 24 frames per second for Flash and 7 FPS for HTML," notes the report.

For more on the report, read the Transitions blog post; you can also download the full report from there.

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