Flash support in Chromebooks

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If you’ve ever experienced issues when trying to render Flash content – videos, games, interactive content produced in Flash, you may want to explore different options to fix the problem. While these problems are more common to ARM Chromebook laptops, there are reasons for x86 Chromebook users to install the list of plugins we detail in the article.

FlashBut first, let’s take a look at the issues and reasons why Flash won’t always play natively on your Chromebook machine:

Chrome OS and most Chrome OS machines support Flash content natively, from the get go. However, if you’re using an ARM based machine (desktop or laptop), you might find that your original Adobe Flash plugin won’t work. That means that instead of your YouTube videos playing, or your Flash games playing, you’ll get an error message instead. So, the following options will aid you in making flash content run on your ARM processor Chromebook laptop.

Here’s why your ARM processor won’t play flash natively, however, if you’d rather explore the potential fixes, skip the next paragraph.

Most Chromebook laptops run on Intel’s x86 processor architecture. While the deeper layers of the OS kernel are Linux based, the architectural infrastructure is proprietary, different than classic Linux distros; Even more so, the ARM based systems have a different kernel altogether, one more similar to the Android OS, hence the need for a workaround for enabling flash support). Therefore, in order to support flash content on your ARM Chromebook device a couple of fixes/workarounds must be employed.

So here are the best plugins to use when native flash support is not enabled or when it doesn’t run properly:

Chromium

The Chromium browser was at the core of Chrome OS; Chrome OS used its source code, and with ARM support as well. It also allowed Linux based machines to use/play flash. Thus, your Chrome machine will have the ability to play flash content, and most machines come with an embedded Flash Player. However, if for some reason you are not satisfied with the result, the following suites will address flash playing as well, some with the result of less power drawn from your machine, others by being more straightforward and using less memory:

Lightspark

Open source and lightweight, Lightspark was built with efficiency in mind. It uses rather a lighter source code and might not work with all your Adobe Flash content just as god, but it’s definitely better for battery consumption.

Swfdec

This is another Flash suite that is intended for lightweight users and it works as a decoder and renderer for flash animations only. Thus, if you want to play Flash games, these won’t be playable. However, what you lose in functionality, you gain in immediateness and power saving.

Shumway

This is an HTML5 tech in development that tries to incorporate the render and decoder of Flash in the core HTML code, allowing a plug-in free render of the type of content. Try it, but expect some crashes and some general instability. However, we’d advise you wait until a more refined version becomes available.

Anyway, if you’ve had experience running a different plugin/decoder for Flash, or any of the ones we’re listing, we would like to hear your stories, positive or less so! So drop us a comment below.

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