webOS 3.0: Adobe Flash
Apple has its reasons to support HTML5 instead of Flash, one of which is that Adobe's solution tends to be a power and performance hog. Tablets employ less-powerful hardware and come equipped with smaller batteries than notebooks, so Flash support is almost in direct opposition to what smartphones and tablets were designed to do. With that said, Flash is the most prevalent multimedia platform, and it's here to stay.
We explored Flash support on Android 3.0 last month in our Xoom review. We haven't seen anything change since then. In many situations, Flash continues to trash a tablet's responsiveness.
Like Google, HP chose to support both HTML5 and Flash, making webOS-based devices attractive to a broader audience. Right out of the box, Hulu works without any glitches. The same goes for many other Flash-based Web sites.
Going full-screen locks the display's orientation just like video playback, as explained on page five, and overall image quality is excellent. Four issues persist:
- Audio can become out of sync if you have multiple windows open.
- The quality of the video seems to be poorer in windowed mode, which is likely the fault of a decoding scaler that places lower priority on quality in order to minimize processing overhead.
- Even in windowed mode, Flash video continues to be a resource hog. Scrolling during video playback causes tearing as the system tries to keep up with touch commands.
- Playback performance is hit or miss. High bitrate Flash video stutters (Hulu at its default settings). You'll get five or six seconds of fluid playback and then a one-second stutter.