Ever since the iPad announcement, in which we learned that Flash will not be on the iPad, there has been much debate about the merits of Flash on mobile phones. Besides the argument of Flash being buggy, claims have been made that Flash will just drain batteries too fast. Engadget reports that Adobe’s Flash evangelist Mark Doherty has posted some facts regarding the affect that Flash has on battery life. Doherty says that Adobe’s testing shows that video can be played for well over 3 hours over Wi-Fi, from YouTube in H.264. Included in Doherty’s blog post is a video of a movie playing in Flash on a Google Nexus One for 17 minutes, and the resulting screen shots of battery use of the browser shows that it only consumed 6% of battery life.
Three hours of playback does not seem to be a long amount of time, and certainly that is well short of a cross country flight. It sounds to me like playing a 30 minute TV show in Hulu, which is closer to that 17 minutes of run time, would have minimal affect on the phone, but playing a full 1 hour show (about 45 minutes of run time) would consume a good chunk of battery life. The testing that Doherty shows is not using 3G, which I think would be more realistic for how I might watch video, say during lunch at work. When I am near a Wi-Fi connection, I am usually at home, where I can watch video on a PC or a TV.