File Under: Mobile, Multimedia

Damn the Torpedos: Mozilla Adds Flash to Firefox for Android

Flash Player running in Firefox for Mobile. Photo: Scott Gilbertson/Wired.com

Adobe may be abandoning Mobile Flash, but Mozilla is pushing forward with Flash in Firefox for Mobile. In addition to the new native Android UI we recently showcased, the latest nightly builds of Firefox for Android now offer experimental support for the Flash plugin.

If you’d like to give it a try, head over to the Mozilla nightly builds page and download a copy of Firefox for Android (note that if you have the beta release installed you’ll need to remove that first). Once the download is finished just open the file to complete the installation and setup.

The nightly builds are, obviously, not stable releases, but I took the latest version for a spin on a Dell Venue and had no problems watching Flash movies. Or I should say no technical problems with Firefox for Android. The browser didn’t crash and Flash worked as advertised in that it loaded and attempted to play movies. Sadly playback was jittery at best, often fell out of sync with the audio and more or less made a good argument for why Flash doesn’t work well on under-powered mobile devices (all testing was done over wifi).

Flash’s lackluster performance isn’t Firefox’s fault, but that probably won’t stop users from blaming the browser. In truth how well Flash performs in Firefox for Android will vary considerably based on your phone’s hardware.

While Flash on mobile is imperfect enough that even Adobe is done with it, Mozilla reports that 21 percent of Firefox for Android’s 1 and 2 star reviews come from users requesting support for Flash. For those that have been waiting for Flash, rest assured, Firefox for Mobile is indeed getting Flash support, though the final version won’t arrive until Firefox 10 ships early in 2012.

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