Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch on Flash’s Effect on Battery Life

Austin Carr, writing for Fast Company:

Today, in an interview with Fast Company, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch answered critics who might say HTML5 is somehow more efficient than Flash.

“It’s a false argument to make, of the power usage,” Lynch explains. “When you’re displaying content, any technology will use more power to display, versus not displaying content. If you used HTML5, for example, to display advertisements, that would use as much or more processing power than what Flash uses.”

That remains to be seen. My money says that on Mac OS X, native HTML5 animation will prove more efficient than Flash. And it’s certainly true for video playback — full-screen video through Flash Player always makes my MacBook Pro’s fan kick in; it seldom does with H.264 through the HTML5 video element.

But, anyway, that’s not what last week’s news was about. Last week’s news was that, right now, today, if you disable Flash Player on a MacBook Air, you can gain two extra hours of battery life while surfing the web. That doesn’t mean you aren’t missing anything while surfing without Flash. It just means you get far longer battery life. No one, including Adobe, is disputing that.

“I just think there’s this negative campaigning going on, and, for whatever reason, Apple is really choosing to incite it, and condone it,” Lynch says. “I think that’s unfortunate. We don’t think it’s good for the web to have aspects closed off — a blockade of certain types of expression.”

So it’s a First Amendment issue now? And how did Apple incite anything? All they did was start shipping Macs without Flash Player pre-installed. They didn’t even mention that fact publicly. It wasn’t mentioned on stage at the announcement event. And their battery life claims for the new MacBook Airs were measured with Flash Player installed. It’s not Apple who’s inciting anything. It’s people who are realizing just how much of a drain on battery life Flash Player is.

Monday, 8 November 2010