Support for Adobe Flash is one of the biggest selling points of Android 2.2 - or "Froyo" - and one reason so many people were looking forward to Google's mobile operating system update.
Flash makes it possible to watch more videos on your mobile device, and should give developers powerful new tools to develop games for Android phones while giving the Droid a leg up over Apple's iPhone. But upgrading your phone to Android 2.2 isn't the same thing as installing Flash. Getting Flash onto your device has to be done manually, and you may encounter a few hiccups on your way to Flash-Droid nirvana. But don't give up - with enough persistence you will succeed.
I own a Motorola Droid and upgraded to Android 2.2 earlier this week by downloading a leaked copy of the operating system. (Click here for my review of Froyo). I had decided not to wait for Verizon to push out the update, and there are now unconfirmed rumors that Verizon is delaying official upgrades to 2.2 for various reasons, but I'll get into that later.
There are several methods for upgrading to Flash, and they're all pretty similar, but for me the key seems to be downloading Adobe Flash Player 10.1 onto my PC and then transferring it to my Droid via the USB cable, instead of downloading Flash directly to the phone using its constant Internet connection. Each time I downloaded Flash through the phone's web browser, the program file turned out to be corrupted, and in other cases I wasn't able to download it at all.
After moving Flash from my PC to my SD Card - the file name is com.adobe.flashplayer-1 - I opened ASTRO, a program that can be downloaded from the Android market, located the file in the memory card's folders, clicked "open app manager," and then installed Flash. It worked perfectly.
You may be able to Flash-ify your Froyo without involving your PC. One method you can try is downloading the Adobe Flash Showcase app from the Android market, which basically just redirects you to the m.flash.com site so you can download the Flash Player. This didn't work for me, but if it works for you it could save some time.
Mike Broberg, a friend of mine and fellow Motorola Droid owner, successfully installed Flash without using his PC, using a slightly different method, and offers the following instructions:
"It will save you some time if you go into your app settings and click the "Unknown sources" checkbox to allow the installation of third-party apps not downloaded from the Android market.
Visit (this site) and look for the Captcha prompt and orange download button in the upper right (avoid the confusing ads that also say "Download").
You go to a subsequent page where they make you wait a minute for the "regular download" link to appear. Just go do some other crap and come back. It will show up. There's a little counter in the bottom right.
Download it. If you click on the alert when it's finished in your task bar, you should be able to install it right from there. I had to go back and enable the "Unkown sources" option, so I then had to go into Astro, find my downloads folder and tell it to use the app installer to open the download from Flash ("com.adobe.flashplayer-l").
Make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi. It runs choppily over 3G.
I had to restart my phone, but that might have been because my Wi-Fi connection dropped out at this point (Thanks Time Warner Cable).
Go to m.flash.com to test it.
I didn't have any luck trying Mike's method on my phone's browser, but by navigating to the same site on my PC I got the download to work.
In any case, once you have downloaded Flash, go to m.flash.com to see a wide variety of Flash videos and test out how it works. While Mike had trouble viewing videos over 3G, I was able to get good video quality without resorting to Wi-Fi.
The bottom line is, if one method of installing Flash doesn't work, try another one. You'll get it to work eventually.
Of course, you'll need to be running Android 2.2 to install Flash. Verizon started pushing out 2.2 to some Motorola Droid customers this week, making it one of the first phones to receive Froyo. There are now rumors that Verizon is delaying the updates because of several bugs, possibly including poor battery life (which I mentioned in my previous post).
Even if true, Motorola Droid owners should expect to receive Froyo soon, hopefully within the next week or so. Froyo is also coming to the HTC EVO 4G starting this week.
If you're already running Android 2.2, consider yourself lucky. It appears that fewer than 5% of Android owners have been upgraded to Froyo.
Jon Brodkin writes about Microsoft, Google, browsers, operating systems, PCs, mobile devices, cloud computing, virtualization, open source and a bunch of other tech stuff for Network World. He also cares just a little bit too much about Boston sports teams. Follow Jon on Twitter @jbrodkin.
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