Mobile Shootout: HTML5 vs. Flash Player 10.1

As the Apple vs. Adobe battle over Flash support on iDevices reaches a fever pitch of Protestants-vs.-Catholics-in-Northern-Ireland proportions, it's crucial to step back and say, "Well, what about performance issues?  Does Flash run faster/better than, say, HTML5?"

Vimeo user Michael Chaize wanted to answer that question for himself, and ran some tests on both an iPhone 3GS and a Google Nexus One, using particle-generating animation tests designed by Australian programmer Cameron Adams, a/k/a The Man In Blue.  Adams originally ran the tests on desktop browsers (Safari on OS X and Firefox, Chrome, and IE on Windows XP) — and found that, with one exception, Flash outperformed not only HTML5, but also SVG and native HTML/Javascript in all browser platorms.

Chaize's tests, in turn, demonstrated marked performance increases across the board on his Nexus One when testing the embedded Flash Player 10.1 versus HTML5 or JS.  The real surprise came when he switched to his iPhone — not a "hey, the Flash test worked!" surprise, because it didn't (duh), but how BADLY the HTML5 test performed, even compared to the Nexus One.

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