Friday, October 8, 2010

Adobe Flash and AIR for Android

air_logoAdobe has officially released Adobe AIR for the Android platform.  That is right, if you go and look in the Google Market right now, you will find it.  The real question is, “Should you car”?  It all depends on what the future holds for Adobe AIR and what it is meant to accomplish on the Android Platform.  Will it end up like Adobe Flash with limited reach and compatibility?  Will it surpass Flash and offer users with a new resource for apps and games?  Time will tell.

If you go into the Google Android Market and do a search for Adobe AIR, you will first find Adobe AIR itself.  Second, you will find a slew of new apps that all require it.  What do they all do?  So far, it looks like just games, but that is what makes or breaks a platform like this on a mobile device.  Games are great ways to demonstrate the abilities of such a platform.  It determines how good the touch interface is.  It tells us what audio and visual capabilities it offers.  It tells us how efficient the platform is on a given device.  Games are intense and fast paced.  If AIR can’t keep up, then it is doomed to be nothing more than a useless add on that takes up precious memory, something many users do not want.

Adobe AIR isn’t going to revolutionize the kind of apps we can install.  You aren’t going to be installing desktop apps that require AIR due to the fact those applications are designed around specific hardware.  Just as you won’t be installing apps from the Android Market to a desktop computer due to the same limitations.  Something I am noticing about apps designed around AIR is that they are extremely small.  The majority I noticed are well under 500kbs.  While others are just as big as normal stand alone apps.  This in itself really makes AIR pointless in my opinion.  Keep in mind that AIR itself is about 16mb’s when installed.  On the Motorola Droid with 256mbs of memory, that is a LOT of space it is taking up…especially when users apps are already fighting for space.

The major thing about Adobe products is that they tend to be a bit on the bloated side.  They eat up resources quickly.  If Adobe could find a method to reduce that footprint to a smaller installed size, then we could very well see a new means for people to distribute content to the Android platform.

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