Streaming Video to Android Devices: The Challenge for Developers

Does video put too great a hit on Android devices, in terms of battery life and processing power? Is the perception that Flash video is a resource hog true? Those were some of the questions that Tim Siglin, chairman of Braintrust Digital and contributor, answered in his recent Streaming Media Europe presentation.

Siglin started out by detailing recent tests he had done with Android devices, looking at performance and battery issues.

"The perception was that Flash Player sucks, and it literally sucks on mobile devices because it tends to -- the perception was that it sucked battery, sucked memory, and even sucked at performing basic tasks like graphics rendering," said Siglin. "The reality, after doing the tests, is a little more complicated than that. But the big question that I had as I started looking into this...was how did we get to the point where the Flash Player was the first culprit where, whenever you read a review, the review would say, 'Flash Player's horrible on this particular device'?"

Reviewers were faulting Flash performance over other likely contributors, like the data network or the GPS system.

So are Flash's defects the truth or a misperception? It's especially important to know, said Siglin, due to the Android operating system's dramatic growth.

"So the challenge was to determine whether the stability and performance issues that Steve Jobs had talked about were actually applicable to the handset. I went to Adobe, asked them to provide some publicly available data on tests that they'd done, and they said they didn't really have a whole lot that they could put out into the marketplace -- not because they hadn't done the testing, they certainly had done the testing -- but because of the fact that they had been using things that they wouldn't necessarily have the rights to put out into the market in terms of the sites and content that someone could use to replicate their tests," Siglin said.

He was able to get helpful testing resources from Adobe, then set out to carefully test battery and performance data on Android handsets.

For the full test results, watch the session video below.

Video for the Android OS: Challenges and Opportunities

Tim Siglin, Chairman, Braintrust Digital

The rapid growth of Android OS-based handsets, along with emerging tablets using the Android "Honeycomb" operating system, provides an opportunity for an alternate platform to Apple's Flash-free iOS. What are the challenges faced by developers and content creators that wish to push video and rich-media web browsing experiences to the diverse Android OS marketplace? Tim Siglin, co-founder of consulting firm Transitions, Inc., was asked to find those answers, which were published in a series of reports commissioned by Adobe, Inc. The results were surprising on a number of levels, based on extensive testing of more than a dozen handsets and tablets. Siglin will share those results and a number of other insights into the use of particular streaming protocols on Android in an informative, question-and-answer session format.  

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