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Weekend Wrap Up On RIM, IE9, Flash

RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis got defensive with the media, Microsoft showed off IE9 for Windows Phone, and Adobe's Flash has found its way to Google's Android Honeycomb.
Someone needs to pull RIM's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis aside and explain that playing the poor picked on company will only garner apathy, not sympathy. During an interview with Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC's technology correspondent, he seemed to get offended when asked about the security issues that have surrounded BlackBerry in India and the Middle East, as if Cellan-Jones was attacking some security vulnerability in the platform.

It seemed to me that the question was about the demands of India and other countries to gain access to emails and other data the BlackBerry transmits. The security issue isn't technical, it is political. If Lazaridis didn't want to discuss for legal reasons, then just say so and move on. Instead he starts whining--yes, whining--that the question isn't fair.

Now, ordinarily one episode like this wouldn't be a huge deal. The guy must have just been having a bad day. But it's part of larger pattern.

He pulled this same stunt a few days ago when he decried the negative sentiment in the media about RIM and its BlackBerry platform instead of taking it head on. RIM's public relations arm needs to do some coaching or the negative sentiments will really start to pile on.

See also: RIM CEO Stumbles Through PlayBook Damage Control

In more technical news this week, Microsoft held its MIX conference and Windows Phone was big news. The free Mango update will be out this year, hopefully in time for the holiday season. Boy Genius Report has a video highlighting the performance of Internet Explorer 9's HTML5 performance against the iPhone 4 and a Google Nexus S device. IE9 was cranking out 20 frames per second in the test. The Nexus was about half as fast at 11fps and the iPhone might as well have not even shown up, generating an embarrassing 2fps.

Now, in fairness, Mango is months away. In that time the iPhone 5 will probably launch and Android will likely see an update in the same time frame. Let's see this test repeated with the most recent devices available when Mango hits the downloads.

Finally, Android 3.0, which ships on tablets like the Xoom, now has flash available. Specifically, you need Android 3.0.1. Like desktop computers, Flash on Android isn't a separate app. Instead it lives inside the browser where it renders content. According to InfoWorld, it is not a pleasant experience and the shortcomings cannot be brushed aside with an "it is still in beta" argument.

For example, Flash doesn't seem to understand swipes so if the video isn't where you want it on the screen, you must scroll the video to the center of the screen by precisely touching the frame around it. Application and gaming experience wasn't any better.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has steadfastly refused to allow Flash on iOS and some of the reasons include how Flash is designed to work with the user. On a computer, it includes mouse-overs, external controls such as scroll bars and precise navigation. Those and other features are hard to come by on finger-driven tablets and phones. Given this initial experience of Flash on a tablet, it looks like Jobs is justified in his actions.