Adobe shows off Flash on a tablet

Steve Jobs was right about one thing when he ripped into Adobe’s Flash platform last week: There has yet to be a smartphone or tablet that demonstrates Flash running smoothly. Now, Adobe’s looking to change that.

At the Web 2.0 expo in San Francisco, Adobe showed off a multi-touch Android tablet prototype running Flash and Air. Zedomax covered the event and posted several YouTube videos of the tablet in action. The site says Flash and Air apps run “flawlessly” on Adobe’s prototype. “That was the first time I saw Adobe’s Air apps running on a tablet and totally impressed by how it ran,” Zedomax writes.

Adobe shows off Flash on a tablet

Despite the breathless coverage, I’m not totally convinced that Flash is ready for prime time, at least in this prototype. If you look at Zedomax’s video of the tablet running YouTube, the framerate is noticeably lower compared to the actual YouTube video being demonstrated. Granted, this is just a prototype, but it doesn’t seem as flawless as Zenomax reports.

Air — Adobe’s desktop runtime for Web applications — fares better. The demonstrator showed off Wired’s magazine app, and while it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, the app is as smooth on the convention floor as it was in a video Adobe released two months ago.

Other tablet makers are attempting Flash with mixed results. The JooJoo, a 12-inch tablet that launched last month, suffers from sluggishness according to Engadget’s review, because the software doesn’t yet support hardware acceleration for Flash. The WePad appears to run Flash competently, and we’ll get a better sense when the tablet is released in July. Notion Ink’s Adam tablet is supposed to run Flash, but that’s one of the things the company wants to work on before releasing the tablet. Then there’s the HP slate, for which Flash was supposed to be a key feature, but it’s rumored that HP killed the project.

I’m not sure what it means that Adobe is showing off a prototype of its own, but hopefully it means a speedier adoption of Flash on all the other forthcoming tablets.