At the big Google I/O conference, Flash on Android was promised, causing howls of appreciation from the assembled crowd. So how well does it work? Unfortunately, it’s not great. While this is still a beta plugin, the guys at PocketNow compared Android 2.2 (Froyo) on a Nexus One, Opera Mobile 10 on the HTC HD2, and iPhone 3GS. They tested the browsers with Flash turned on, and off.
When Flash was on, websites with Flash elements slowed to a crawl. Seriously, it looks painful to use. However, with it off, Froyo was the fastest thing around. The Flash plugin also has an on-demand option, where you have to okay specific Flash elements to run, so as not to utterly destroy your browsing experience.
What can we take away from this? Flash is very, very tricky to do on a cellphone. If you leave it on, it really kills the browsing experience. Watching the comparison vid, you can see why Apple would not be thrilled to browse like this. Hell, I have a brand spanking new MacBook Pro, and Flash still stalls on it sometimes (especially Firefox).
On the other hand, with some judicious engineering, and controlled use of the plugin, its downsides can be dealt with. Having it so that you need to allow each Flash element means you keep the functionality and speed. If Apple were to allow Flash, this would be the way to do it.