The Flash Player, version 10.1, first became available in Android 2.2 in June 2010. It runs within the device’s native browser. Developing applications for the mobile browser is beyond the scope of this book. However, understanding the similarities and differences between the two environments is important, especially if mobile development is new to you.
- Both types of applications are cross-platform rich media applications. They both use the ActionScript language, but AIR for Android only supports ActionScript 3.
- Both benefit from recent performance and optimization improvements, such as hardware acceleration for graphics and video, bitmap manipulation, battery and CPU optimization, better memory utilization, and scripting optimization.
- Applications running in the Flash Player browser plug-in are typically located on a website and do not require installation. They rely on the Flash plug-in. AIR applications require packaging, certificates, and installation on the device. They rely on the AIR runtime.
- Flash Player is subject to the browser sandbox and its restricted environment. The browser security is high because applications may come from many unknown websites. Persistent data is stored in the Flash Local Shared Object, but there is no access to the filesystem. AIR applications function as native applications and have access to local storage and system files. Persistent data may be stored in a local database. The user is informed upon installation of what data the application has access to via a list of permissions.
- AIR has additional functionality unique to mobile devices, such as geolocation, accelerometer capability, and access to the camera.