HP recently posted the video below on their Voodoo Blog. To me, the video shows several things.
First and foremost, the video highlights the ubiquity of Flash on the web. As far as I know, Apple still has no plans to support Flash on iPad. I’ve always heard that this was due to bugginess in Flash, as well as Flash’s cost in battery life. On the Mac, battery life is less of an issue, and the Flash code is isolated from the main browser code. If Flash crashes, the browser notifies you of the crash and then restarts Flash. Apparently, either this is not possible in the iPhone OS browser, or the battery cost of Flash is just too great. The video points out that tablets like HP’s Slate are based on Windows 7 and get Flash support by default as part of the overall Windows 7 experience.
The video also highlights the basic differences between Apple and Windows 7 vendors like HP and Dell in their approach to the tablet market. As they did with smart phones, Microsoft’s partners are working with a scaled down version of the desktop operating system. A process or application you run on your desktop has at least a chance of working on the tablet. Certainly, the browser experience will be nearly identical. Apple’s core approach is different, as different as the toolboxes offered by Mac OS X and iPhone OS. The SDKs for both are quite similar, but there are a vast sea of differences. Clearly, there’s no simple way to port an application from one platform to the other.
The video also shows off the HP device, gives it a real chance to shine. And, in my opinion, this is where Apple really comes out ahead. HP’s Slate is thick and chunky. The iPad is graceful, subtle, elegant. And thin.
All that said, I think this is going to be a very interesting new phase in the evolution of computing. Will Apple force Flash to change or, perhaps, open the door so a Flash competitor can enter the market? Or will the ubiquity of Flash eventually force Apple to allow Flash to play under iPhone OS. Interesting, interesting times!