The Adobe Flash experience on Android tends to range from “Mostly works” to “Oh my god why is my phone doing this, someone help”. That’s totally understandable — it’s still (sort of) a Beta product, so there are bound to be kinks.
Even with these kinks, however, Flash for Android is perhaps the most hyped item on the platform. Often used as the silver bullet in Android-vs-anything-else flamewars, the presence of Flash has been drummed up to seem like a make-or-break item for a platform’s success. But how many people really care?
Earlier today, ZDNet noted that Flash for Android has made its way to 1 million handsets. Time for math!
It’s been a while since Google has disclosed how many Android handsets are floating around, instead opting to reveal how many units are being sold per day. As such, our numbers are a bit fuzzy, but should be indicative of how things are going in general.
If we use the numbers we know to be true (roughly 500k Android phones sold in 2008, 7.7 million in 2009, 100k per day from Jan to May 2010, and 200k per day from June on), we can estimate that at least 41.2 million Android handsets are floating around. More generous estimates put the platform at around 50 million units pushed.
Now, according to the numbers released yesterday, roughly 30% of the Android phones out there are running Android 2.2, which is a requirement for Flash compatibility (except for the Nexus One, which had an early build of Flash on 2.1). That brings the number of Android handsets out there that could possibly run Flash down to somewhere between 12.4 million and 15 million.
Now, Flash just cracked 1 million downloads. Depending on which estimate you use, that means that Flash has found its way to somewhere between 6% and 8% of the Android handsets that it could possibly run on.
Thanks to YouTube, Farmville, and other online obsessions, Flash is about as prominent as web technologies come. Is <8% penetration in one month a good number for something so well-known and oft discussed? Sure. It’s not fantastic, but it’s certainly not a failure. With that said, it also seems like the importance of Flash to the masses might be getting a bit blown out of proportion.
We’ll have to check back in on this one in a few months.