Flash Support on the iPad Becomes Reality
Comex, the programmer behind the user-friendly jailbreak tool, Spirit, has unleashed the source for his latest project, Frash. This little gem enables Flash support (sans video) on the iPad. Frash is still in the alpha stage, so if you run into problems, you are left to the mercy of the forums, but all reports indicate that it is simple process and can easily be reversed. With that said, those willing to make the simple leap to a jailbroken iPad will no doubt appreciate the additional capabilities of their tablet.
In any pre-release build, there are bound to be bugs and missing components. In the case of Frash, video is not supported, but games and native animations work quite well. At its core, the software is based off of the Flash components found in Google’s Android OS. Comex is lucky to have a strong foundation to work from, but porting software between platforms is never an easy task.
Lack of flash support is one of the reasons that Android is gaining ground in the mobile market. Users appreciate the ability to go beyond the mobile web with their devices. Android tablets are also on the rise and they will benefit from the scalability of Google’s OS. When iPad users begin bumping into Android tablets in the wild, they are bound to feel a sense of inadequacy. There is something to say about being able to play a game such as Alien Hominid when you are accustomed to seeing tiny, blue, question mark stamped boxes.
Apple consistently rejects the notion of adding Flash support to their devices, citing unreliable performance and insufficient optimization. This is a defining difference between Apple and their competitors. Hardware is catching up to user demand and devices with native flash support are on the rise. The iPad has the raw power necessary to run Flash, yet Apple can’t or won’t offer even partial Flash support to their customers. Many users are now in a position where jailbreaking seems like a reasonable option. People often associate jailbreaking with piracy, but Comex will likely change more than a few minds once Frash closes the compatability gap.
Apple is aware that people want Flash, but it doesn’t seem like they care. If one programmer can make Flash support a reality, one would assume they could too. We expect Flash when we browse the web. Many detractors are convinced that the performance excuse from Apple is a cop out. Apple sees value in control, but simultaneously ignores the value of a happy customer. Who wouldn’t expect the full internet experience from their iPad unless they were previously aware of Apple’s stance. Their justification for banning flash seems weak and the all the HTML5 fanfare is a bit premature. Flash has a hold on the internet as we know it and it will take a few years and revisions for HTML5 to catch up to Flash’s capabilities.
The bottom line is that they prefer to control the content that is distributed through the app store. They decided early on that standardized languages like C++, CSS, and HTML are sufficient for the sort of apps users want and prefer to sidestep any involvement with Adobe if it can be helped. This is Apple’s game, and it looks like they don’t play well with others.
If you are interested in sidestepping Apple’s virtual caution tape and want to try out Frash for yourself, installation guides are readily available. (HERE, for example) Until Job’s has a change of heart, or rather, when hell freezes over, this may be your only option if you want to get the most from your device.