Android’s flexibility is a genuine strength. When a product isn’t officially available for your device, version of the operating system or country, there’s usually a way to enable it. Sometimes, it requires rooting your device and hacking at the firmware, which is going to get harder with the introduction of Android 5.0 Lollipop across more and more devices. And sometimes it simply requires installing a third party application from the Google Play Store (it’s just a case of finding it!). This leads me on to Adobe Flash for Mobile, which was officially dropped in June 2012. At that time, out-of-the-box support for the device largely dried up. Android’s default browser supported Flash up until Android 4.4 Kit Kat was released, when Google switched to Chromium for WebView support. WebView is the built-in browser used by the system to navigate to web pages without using your default browser. When WebView was replaced with Chromium, unfortunately this broke support for third party browsers using Flash such as Dolphin and Puffin. The story is the same with Android 5.0 Lollipop; officially, you can’t get Adobe Flash websites to work on Chrome (Firefox, Dolphin or indeed any of the other mainstream browsers).
But we use Android devices, where there is no such statement as, “no sorry, we can’t do that.” Usually, anyway! My readers will be pleased to see that there’s a workaround! Firstly, you need to download the Flashfox browser in the Google Play Store. There are two versions available: a free one, that feels like it has more adverts in it than I have coffees (really?! – Ed). There’s also a pro version, which at $3 is probably worth it because it ditches the adverts. And actually, once you have the Flashfox browser, that’s all you need to benefit from Flash-enabled browsers. Now, as an optional step you might want to download Flashify from the Google Play Store. This is a free application that enables a quick and easy way to send a website to a different browser; Flashify can be paired up with Chrome (if you want this as your default browser) and Flashfox (for your Flash purposes).
This is how I use Flash for mobile these days: I like Chrome’s synchronization between my devices but do occasionally need to dip into Flash. And it illustrates that there’s usually more than one way to do something with an Android device. All it takes is a little bit of ingenuity from a developer, usually somebody who finds the current way of doing things to be compromised, and Android is flexible enough to adapt. Now over to my readers: who uses websites with embedded Flash? Have you upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop and are going to download and install Flashfox? Let us know in the comments below.