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Why a Flash-Enabled Browser Matters

According to Comscore, over 75 percent of digital entertainment options rely on Flash, an Adobe plug-in designed to display multimedia files. However, few smartphones have Flash-enabled browsers. This means that smartphone users are missing out on most online entertainment options. But not for long.

Online Entertainment Providers Use Flash

Many of the leading online entertainment providers use Adobe Flash as a container for digital files. The plug-in acts as a suitcase and delivers the file from the provider to the device. That's why a Flash-enabled browser allows you to watch digital media, such as streaming video, and to see apps and games that use Flash. The following online digital providers use Flash:


  • Hulu


  • YouTube


  • DailyMotion


  • Vimeo


  • SpikeTV


  • CBS


  • Fox


  • CNN


  • ESPN


Trying to watch a video from any of these providers without a Flash-enabled browser will trigger an error message. You may find a Flash app designed to correct the problem, but they don't work as well as the actual Flash program.


The Benefits of Using Flash

Flash-enabled browsers allow you to watch streaming video and other files without loading and stalling issues, but Flash has two other benefits. The first one is ActionScript, which allows digital media providers to optimize a video's settings for specific browsers. This is especially important for streaming videos.

The second benefit is the "on-demand" feature, which allows you to advance a video to a specific point without having to watch everything before it. For example, you can advance a YouTube clip from the beginning to the middle by moving the slider beneath the video. You don't have to wait for the data to load by watching the entire clip to that point before you can move the slider.

Adobe Flash and Apple

Apple won't allow Flash on its operating system — not even on the iPad. While many consumers don't understand this, it's rather simple: Flash is a free plug-in, and Apple's comparable plug-in is not. If a person wants to watch videos or play Flash-enabled games on an Apple device, they have to purchase the right plug-in.

Android Phones and Flash

Unlike Apple, Android has embraced Flash. In April 2010, Skyfire Labs released a Flash-enabled Android phone. It gave users the ability to view Flash-embedded videos on websites using the smartphone's browser. The phone did not have full Flash compatibility — it used a back-of-the-house process to convert the Flash into HTML5.

Since then, Android has continued to release cell phones with Flash-enabled browsers. Since Android released version 2.2, the built-in browsers have been able to support Flash 10.1 content. This means that consumers can watch their favorite digital media without glitches. If you want to maximize your online time, buy an Android phone with a Flash-enabled browser.

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