Flash comes to the iPhone ... sort of - USATODAY.com
It had to happen: a developer has figured out a way to see Flash videos and games on the iPhone and iPad.
Boston developer Lida Tang, 32, has worked his way into the Apple App Store with Cloud Browse, a program that lets you go to websites that feature flash video and games, includinge CBS.com, comedycentral.com and Nickelodeon.com, despite Apple's aversion to Flash. Tang came up with a workaround that obviously even Apple could approve of. You can watch Flash, but it isn't actually on your iPhone. It's on another computer.
Here's how it works: you download the free Cloud Browse App and install it. Then you direct the App to the website of your choice. Here's where the interesting part comes in: the site is called up on another computer, which streams it back to your iPhone.
The App works for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, but is optimized for the small screen of the iPhone and iPod. In our tests, the quality was decent on the iPhone, but pretty grainy and hard to watch on the much larger iPad. (An iPad optimized App is in the works.)
The app is free, has been out for a few weeks, and so far has picked up 150,000 downloads, says Tang. He plans on bringing out a paid App at $9.99 monthly.
There's a big difference between free and paid. Free users only get to stay connected for about 10-15 minutes, and the video frame rate is slow. Tang says paid users will get unlimited access, and faster video.
Tang says he began working on the App a year ago, motivated by "wanting to escape the confine of the mobile device. There's a lot more power in the cloud."
The app had already been approved by Apple by the time Apple CEO Steve Jobs penned his "Thoughts on Flash," essay on the Apple website, which ended any realistic hope of seeing Flash on the iPhone or iPad. Jobs says Flash is a battery drainer and resource hog.
The Cloud Browse App works just about anywhere on the Web -- except for video site Hulu, which is co-owned by Fox, NBC and ABC. "Hulu is very aggressive about blocking access," says Tang.