Speed Test: Flash vs. HTML5 On The Nexus One


flash-vs-html5Unfortunately Android doesn’t yet have flash support on its phones by OS default, but we’ve been assured over and over again that it is coming. While Apple disregards Flash on the iPad in favor of HTML5 (and to spite Adobe), the jury is still out – and will be for some time – on which is more efficient for rendering animation.

Michael Chaize highlighted a test designed to determine which is currently faster on Android – Flash or HTML5 – by running some simple benchmarking animations on his Nexus One:

At about 2 minutes and 20 seconds in, you can clearly see that Flash is the victor, rendering animated balls with shadows MUCH more quickly and smoothly than HTML5 with both running on the Nexus One. Furthermore, when testing the animation with Flash 10.1 on the Nexus One he gets 20fps, while Safari only runs the animation at 1-2fps on the iPhone 3GS with HTML5.

A disclosure we should make: Michael Chaize is a Platform Evangelist for Adobe Flash. The original article where this was posted – TheManInBlue.com – came to this conclusion:

Flash still wins, but browsers are catching up.

But this isn’t battle whose outcome will be decided any time soon – if ever.

[Via AndroidAuthority]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Doesn’t make me no difference since my phone won’t get flash anyway.

  2. I would like to see the move from Flash and Adobe myself. I want a more standard, and not need to install a third party app to be able to see these things. Adobe has plenty of advantage as they have been in the game for how long while HTML 5 is still very much in development.

  3. as of now flash wins just because of what is running on it.. . hulu ch131 and all my other fav video sites use flash, and even if html5 were 10x faster, wtf would i do with that if my sites still run flash… so until the SITES switch, i don’t see the need to

  4. I hate flash, probably as much as Steve Jobs do. Flash 10.1 is a major improvement to the browser media platform but I believe it is too late. Like how no matter what IE9 does for Microsoft, I will still hate IE.

    Silverlight/Moonlight proved to have superior performance over Flash. That’s how sad it is for Flash.

    I wish all browsers go hardware accelerated and destroy Flash and Silverlight.

  5. Well I don’t know how true this is yet but my coworker that wants an iPad JUST asked me what HTML 5 was because he understands that Hulu (among other services) is partnering with Apple on the iPad using HTML 5. Now if this is true Apple could very well drive most media sites to using HTML 5 at least for video. So there would be no more critical mass problem with moving from Flash to HTML 5. The content providers will move and the browsers are almost ready to support it.

    If theres one thing I hope the iPad is successful in doing I hope its this. I don’t care for bothering with Flash for video and it makes it a pain both to develop video content sites and use them in various media setups. Leave Flash to games or whatever the Flash fans love to rant about when you say Flash is dead. Give me video in a standard way with no plugins.

  6. @covert
    watch alot of hulu on your android phone these days?

    You see that’s the point. We should not be choosing rendering technology based on what popular sites are using but rather how you can reach the largest audience/customer base with the most features. As a developer, I am personally willing to sacrifice some features (IE, fps and “smoothness”) in the name of having a wider user group. In my experience, how slick your interface is doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if your users can’t see it. As soon as flash is officially supported on android, this equation changes. but for right now, any comparison between Flash and html5 (especially related to mobile) is completely inane and goes to prove how slow a news day it is.

  7. Just looked for an article and I imagine that coworker saw this…


    It looks like CBS in particular will do it via HTML 5. I don’t think it will be long before the others come around as well.

  8. Flash will do until HTML5 is finished :D

  9. have Flash on my Nexus courtesy of the Desire ROM… went to the url in the vid (themaininblue.com) and sure enough… Flash is much faster than the html version… sweeet :D

  10. @Solid, this is my point, this is why i want/need flash still, because hulu ISN’T html5, ch131 isn’t either nor are a ton of other websites that i watch video on. and whatever they are using to run their video is what i will be using to watch it, and as of now that is flash, so i want/need flash to work, when they change to html5, i’ll be right there along side them happily jogging along as i have no reason to stay with flash at that point, but until then, flash is the only key that opens the doors to these sights

  11. @Covert. I think the point he was making is that you can’t watch it on your phone right now. And thats because of the difficulty of porting Flash wherever it needs to go. With the HTML 5 STANDARD this wouldn’t be such an issue as every browser vendor will basically implement it. Currently we are stuck waiting on Adobe and their piss poor development team. The sooner we get away from Flash the sooner we will be able to see video on just about any device coming down the pipe.

  12. couldn’t agree more^ i just do hope it happens one day

  13. Its hard to believe that HTML 5 is a new technology that cannot render 1000 simple balls properly.
    HTML 5 is just not optimized for the nexus one as flash already is.

  14. The reason Flash outperformed HTML5 is quite simple: It has hardware acceleration. This is what allows Flash to create rich applications without much decrease in performance.

    HTML5 is being made to provide the same features, and does so while encouraging open standards.

    However, rendering engines now tasked to provide this new functionality weren’t originally designed for feature-heavy applications in mind. So it’s not HTML5’s fault, but the developers who didn’t consider that a web-based application cannot perform as it should unless it has enough resources.

    So in a twist of irony, Microsoft is emerging with IE9, with its new rendering engine Chakra, so that it may make HTML5 a viable alternative to Flash. Adding new HTML5 features, like what Webkit and Gecko are doing, isn’t the focus on this new engine. Rather, to increase performance by being hardware-accelerated and concurrent, which really makes it a modern rendering engine for modern hardware.

    This will make web-based applications just as powerful and feature-rich as similar desktop applications, and they will also retain transparency. This is a venture that I wholeheartedly welcome.

    My two cents.

  15. hey adobe, STFU and deliver please, you are taking such a long time.

    Why Apple want to ditch you, not because you are incapable. We all know you are capable. IT’S BECAUSE YOU ARE SUPER SLOW. WHERE IS FLASH for 64bit OS, it’s like almost 2 years and still nothing and where is the flash for android. My goodnesss

  16. @Marly

    It isn’t just the phone, if you check the site this is true of all browsers and os combinations. Now it could be that the html5 codes isn’t optimized but I get 8fps with html5 and 60fps with flash on my desktop (both running at the same time).

  17. So this means Steve Jobs should shut the F up about Flash.

  18. Well considering that the browser venders still can’t standardize on rounded corners or gutters…. how long until HTML 5 is ‘standard’ if it’s that much more complex.

  19. Well the two advantages of flash over HTML5 are the hardware acceleration (flash utilizes the gpu for rendering animations and details coding video) and of course it is perfectly standardized every machine with flash on it runs flash exactly the same and 99% of computers have flash installed also flash has the private sector and the open source community backing it with most ads running through flash. Even Google is backing flash, it’s now embedded into Chrome and the ChromeOS ;-)
    Flash is open and powerful and its great for sites like YouTube and hulu however for simple video in blogs HTML5 could be the new standard.

  20. I think it’s better for all that HTML5 gets better and more widely used, so there is an open standard that is more attractive to utilise, and whose user experience is better, than Microsoft’s Silverlight.

  21. Jesus, where do I start. Let’s quote myself, again.

    “Quote And what’s short sided is your arguement about flash. I love how you non devs spout crap about hings you just don’t understand. It shows your not very tech savvy… to say the least Your floppy disk/cd comparison is way off. Flash and html5 have two completely different intentions and uses despite some overlapping functionality, and cds were a direct competitor to floppy There has been much ado about HTML 5 replacing Flash. Typically the people who talk about this have no experience with Flash, and thus no idea of what its truly capable of. I suspect that if they truly did, they likely would not be making such statements Even where there is technological overlap between the two solutions, the Flash based solution is usually far more polished Let’s take an easy example: the new HTML 5 video and audio tags that grown men are weeping with joy over. You can do this in a browser natively-great!!! You don’t need Flash!!! All the open-web zealots can get up and do the conga! Except, there’s one problem None of the browser vendors can agree on standard audio/video codecs. Welcome back, 1997! Yes, in order to make sure you audio/ video tags work in all browsers (we’re not even talking about browsers that don’t support these tags) you’ll need to encode you video/audio in different formats for each browser. (Either that, or you can encode in Flash video and it will work anywhere-you decide) Don’t get me wrong-the HTML 5 spec is a step in the right direction, *but* t is only a step (and a baby step at that). The sad fact of the matter is that people are acting like the release of HTML 5 (now scheduled for 2022 according to the co-editor of the spec Ian Hickson) is akin to the rapture being mminent not because its a vast improvement-but because its *any* improvement where HTML basically stagnated in the arms of the W3C for the past ten years. Flash has all cross browser support, but html5 wil require separate sets of coding for each browser. This is why macs don’t render a large portion of the web correctly. This is also why ie will never die, as it is still the most widely coded for browser. Also, flash is an animation and interactivity studio, and html5 is pure hard code. Big difference Also keep in mind flash does a helluva lot more than just render video. I’m talking 3d graphic rendering, real programming via action script, and just too much to explain So keep drinking the koolaid, and you wait for that 2022 release date. And the latest flash release is even better and more optimized. Flash isn’t going anywhere for a long time.

    Also, hating IE just because its trendy right now, and knowing nothing about it, is just plain silly.

  22. Thank you Iowa. Flash is also extremely accessible. Which is probably one of the reasons Jobs hates it so much, he can’t control it’s soul. LOL on the 2022, I looked up and you are not kidding.

  23. It probably shouldn’t go anywhere.. On desktops.. But this is a mobile site.. Flash 10.1 is currently on zero mobiles officially.. Flash lite doesn’t do much but display popups..I’ve yet to see the “here’s my n1 rooted desire rom watching hulu” video on YouTube.. I hear a lot about hulu and flash(usually in the form of “ipad/iPod/iPhone suck cuz not flash so I can’t watch hulu), but never much about actually getting it working on a different mobile.

    IMO, “interactive multimedia” usually equals “really intrusive advertising all over the damn place” or “barely works on a pretty fast laptop” web aps.. sure flash games bleh bla blah.. But most suck and none are really designed for this platform (touchscreen mobiles.) the games are starting to get interesting on android.. Xmas ’10 might be the season of the android if google and devs step it up a couple notches..adobe.. We’re won’t hold our breath waiting.. But certainly won’t say nay if somehow you actually deliver.

  24. can you update flash lite on the sprint hero?

  25. SKYFIRE browser is coming to Android.

    So there is chance there will be flash on the arm11 era androids (like the hero)

    What kills me..is Flash works on the Old Windows phones…You can/could Watch Hulu (still can if you have the correct software)

  26. – Flash consume to much of battery life of my devise.
    – And it is very buggy and responsible for the crash of the system.
    – On top of that its proprietary software not open source. HTML5 give us more freedom and customization option.
    – Flash is very heavy on the light system.

  27. I don’t care what is used I just want to play my damn facebook games on my phone please!!!!

  28. Ha! take that Stevo! Yeah I’ve had a love hate relationship with flash but one thing that is great about it is that it is a wide spread platform that most web sites use and since I have flash I can therefore watch the content. Flash does do HD too. HTML 5 hasn’t convinced me to go for it because it isn’t a standard. There are different versions of what people think HTML 5 should be. Some advocate different interests, so its not like ditching flash will suddenly bring mass unity and better performance. Yeah flash hasn’t always been great, but at least I can use it and generally get a good viewing experience as long as my connection is good. Good article!

  29. I use Zahdoo.com for my managing my activities and events online. The site is 100% Flash. with decent internet connection the site loads as fast as many non-flash sites I have used in the past. The way flash was used in the design of the site offers rich functionality and features and enhances usr productivity. I feel Flash is going to change UI esp. on mobiles and touch screen computing.

  30. opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/osmf/



  31. Why should the question about html5 video destroy Flash?
    Remember there’s no html5 video standard.
    Of course video sites will soon have an html5 player for Safari/iPad. That’s easy, cause it plays the same h.264 videos as the Flash player. Loose a bit of money cause no ads, but hey.

    All other users will continue seeing Flash video players.

    Why should anyone completely switch to html5 video? That would mean encoding and storing all content as Ogg Theora too, giving up ad revenues, giving up DRM, and on top of that an inferior user experience, cause Flash performance is in fact much better except on Macs.
    That would be a stupid business decision.

    Cheers, May

    ps: Just please stop repeating these myths and start thinking for yourself. The world is not just black and white. Didn’t you go to school?


    – the openscreenproject has nothing to do with open source, it’s marketing!

    – Flash is not fully hardware accelerated
    (nevertheless it performs better)

    – Flash is not open source and yes that’s a problem

    – Flash is not “heavy” nor “buggy”

    – html5 does not “evolve”, but some browsers might improve their rendering engines

  32. >Flash will do until HTML5 is finished :D
    yeh *when* it will be *ready* :)
    But than we have a optimized Flash Player which is again one step ahead.
    And developing Flex apps is muuuuch more nice than struggeling with jQuery etc…

  33. Well my flash hater friends. Let me tell you this because Ipad, IPhone doesn’t support flash doesn’t mean it is useless. Flash opened a new era on web development and Adobe is trying to improve their product to make it available to all browsers. My question is why don’t let users choose what kind of programs they want to install on their devices? Can you imagine a Mac without Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator for designers :) Youtube uses .flv format because flash video is light weight comparing to other formats. There are already plenty of browser issues exist why do we have to deal with one more.
    HTML pages are great for government but not for a club or a restaurant. Flash can communicate with different technologies without a problem. Many people complain about flash not being open source but I don’t want people to steal my work and make couple of changes and use it for a different site. There are plenty of online support and user groups available. I think Flash and Flex and Air is the future of the web and Apple shouldn’t make life complicated for Flash developers.

  34. Flash isnt os ? asfair, flex sdk is, wich makes flash os too.
    HTML was suppost to be open format, and so, there was just one big mess in internet first years. Oh, sorry, the mess is still here. So, going 13 years back ? How many codecs are there right now, for video, audio etc. ? There were at least a few quiet years with flash somewhere around.

    HTML5 will be just another headache for web-programmers, just like html/js/browsers were. Lets pray for a few minutes.

  35. I definitely don’t doubt that Flash Player 10.1 is faster than HTML5, especially in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing — the Flash Player and ActionScript 3 is a much more sophisticated platform.

    However, even if the HTML5 and AS3 implementations are roughly similar thus showing Flash Player is inherently faster at rending bouncing ball particles, it’ just a silly and impractical test. :)

  36. I think alot of hatred toward flash is caused by how it is abused and because it’s the only glass house to throw stones at for now. I will hold my opinions until I see how easy and intuitive HTML5 truly is. If the current viewing experience on my iPhone is any indicator.. It will not be good. The iPhone will say it can’t support the video format.. Then I click again and it opens just fine. Or it stops mid video and I have to close out and try again. Meanwhile there’s no problems with any video format on my PC.. So where is the problem? With flash or mac?

  37. my lord, year 2010 still fixing fps, shadow, rendering problems.
    I think world’s programming trends or different languages are just moving in a circle again and again.

  38. HTML 5 uses javascript, which isn’t even an Object Oriented Language. So a comparison is nothing short of a joke to anyone who really understands what is really being compared. It’s like comparing javascript to java.

    Actionscript 3 supports almost all the features of a true Object Oriented language, including Garbage Collection. Off the top of my head some missing features would be Operator Overloading and Multiple Inheritance.

    I’ve read that people think Flash is expensive to develop with. Developing with HTML 5 / Javascript is MORE expensive, why?

    Because it’s a less advanced tool, with no Development environment and additionally every browser is slightly different and the developer has to deal with quirks–with flash the behavior is the same no matter the platform or browser.

    Developing with flash is like using a backhoe to dig the foundation for your house, using Javascript is like using a shovel to do the same job. Of course the backhoe is more expensive then the shovel but what gets the job done more efficiently and cheaper?

    Developing in Macromedia director would be less expensive then using javascript, it too would be a more advanced tool.

    The only thing HTML 5 will be allowing is video and possibly some other forms of animation, nothing as advanced as fully 3D and interactive websites–save that for flash and java. IT IS A MARKUP LANGUAGE.

    I could go on, but anyone with any knowledge of computer science will be able to sort the truth from the crap.

    I’d even say it’s far more likely that Adobe makes their own browser with flash support built in then javascript evolving to become a better language then AS3 or Java…. such a thing is laughable and outside the scope of what javascript was ever meant to be.

  39. Writing this answer from Ubunto 9.10, and using flash perfectly well on it… being a web developer myself I can see how open standards can become a sort of fanatic religion for many, I don’t know you but a well done flash website compared to a well done xhtml/css website when shown to a client is so unfare.

    Most clients don’t give a damn about the technology we use, they just want results, design and functionality and flash is a clear MONEYMAKER in that area, besides, almost anybody can code or reuse a template in XHTML/CSS but not anybody can do a great job in flash (more money)

    I remember at first when making one of my first ‘expensive’ websites, I spent almost a week doing and optimizing my XHTML and CSS, and just three hours making an animation in flash, at the end of the meeting everybody loved the animation, they made a round of applause for me and asked me more of that ($$$), the css and xhtml, well, they didn’t understand or care, they saw just a lot of colored text, so in my case html is something I do for a while or can outsource for real cheap and concentrate on adding the real value in interactivity and emakarketing, flash all the way, going to Cancun next week for making it a backbone in my company, easy money.

  40. I can’t understand “adobe vs html5” that is discussing in the internet, here and there, especially, when jobs declared that the outstanding tablet, ipad, won’t support adobe. I have an impression of adobe that it can play any videos with different video format, in opposite, html5 supports h.246 (According browser publishers’ will) someone thought html5 should take 10 years before replacing adobe in the areas like games, desktop widgets, e-learning interactivities and many applications that require advanced animation API or techniques. As ifunia lists in their official website, html5 can’t replace adobe at once, because “74% of the web can’t be seen on the iPad” (that means you have to convert videos by 3rd-party video converter like ifunia and handbrake), ipad needs help, let alone html5! So, adobe is necessary for our digital life all the same.

  41. Html 5 is nice. Let’s wait ans see how early it will emerge.
    For Flash, U need to realize it’s more than mere vedio/audio player. I is full-blown OOP platform for creating rich apps.
    Don’t compare cat with lion!

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