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Don't look for Adobe Flash on Apple's iPads, iPhones soon

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

I was traveling last week to cover Apple's iPod and Apple TV event Wednesday (and writing an extra column based on that). So this week, I offer questions taken from Friday's Web chat.

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The iPad's future Concerning the iPad, will the projected update in OS include Flash (or deal with it's lack of)? Will Apple ever make a camera/mic attachment that makes it Skype friendly?

No. I won't say you'll never see Flash on the iPad or the iPhone. It would be a Nixon-goes-to-China moment for Steve Jobs to take back all the nasty things he's said about Adobe's product.

But the odds are excellent that you'll see a front-facing webcam on the iPad. Apple spent too much time Wednesday talking up the appeal of FaceTime videoconferencing on the iPod Touch for it not to add that to all its iOS mobile devices.

Sony or Kindle? Sony increased it's cheapest price to $179 but made it touch screen; Kindle dropped its price to $139. Countless free books at www.archive.org. Which is a better value for basic reading, the Sony or the Kindle, or would you wait until either pre- or post-holiday price drops?

The Kindle hardware looks pretty old and is due for a replacement with a touch screen (see this New York Times piece from Wednesday). But I'm unsure about the prospects of any current e-readers; if they 're not going to get wiped off the map by tablets like the iPad, they're going to need to get cheaper still but also acquire screens that can display color as well as black-and-white.

Android loaded down? I have read a lot about the openness of Android, and to counter that, Android haters have pointed out that the service providers have loaded the devices down with their self-serving applications. What is your opinion on this, and how difficult are these applications to remove, esp. on Verizon? How does the openness of a Verizon device compare to the iPhone and iPhone unlocked?

We're talking about two kinds of openness:

1) The ability of developers to ship the software they want for a phone, and;

2) The ability of users to customize the phone as they wish, by adding and removing applications.

Android is far more open on the first point. On the second, Android phones have a problem that the iPhone does not -- Apple doesn't let AT&T bundle any junk apps on the device, while all the carriers are at liberty to exercise their bad taste with Android phones. It's true that you can't remove some core iPhone apps. But nobody is going to argue that, say, Sprint's NASCAR app is anywhere as essential as the Mail app on an iPhone.

If you want to compare jailbroken iPhones, though, you also need to factor in Android units that have been "rooted" and updated with home-brewed variants of Android like CyanogenMod.


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