There has a big fuss lately about Apple bashing Adobe's Flash platform and refusing to enable it on their iPhone, iTouch, iPad and future mobile devices.
Although there are options, everyone is going to feel the effect no matter what the outcome.
If businesses and enterprise are going to build out their mobile web presence, they are going to have to start deciding what technologies to invest in. On one hand, if Flash is supported on most mobile devices AND there is improvements to it's usability on a small touch screen device (ie. mobile phones) then flash might be one option. On the other hand, Apple's mobile devices continue to grow and hold the largest marketshare for mobile web browsing devices (in the USA anyway). If they don't allow Flash on their devices, the largest group of mobile web browsers (Apple's iPhone, iTouch and soon iPad) will have no access to their site or services on their mobiles. Companies that have invested in flash (and their customers) will be affected adversely, business and revenue will be lost.
We think the smart choice for companies is to play it safe and go with HTML 5 based sites for both the web and mobile. It will be much easier to maintain both platforms and they will not be locked out. Yes there are still issues around HTML 5, compatibility and adoption, but with most browsers already supporting and the rest racing to add support, those issues should soon be overcome.
In fact, companies are already starting to take sides. The Register is reporting that Virgin America has chosen HTML 5. On Monday, they launched their new website in HTML and dumped their old flash site. Virgin wanted to ensure that their mobile web customers could have advanced features on their mobile phone. If they had stayed with Flash, a huge group of customers with Apple iPhones and other Apple devices would be excluded from Virgin's services. Smart call Virgin. We expect many more companies to start taking sides and take the no Flash route.
Back to Adobe's side of the story, Mashable was able to interview Aaron Filner, Adobe's product manager for the Flash platform. Here are some highlights from Mashable and the interview video with Adobe below.
- - The “battle” between Flash and HTML 5 is a “misperception.” They have co-existed for a while, Mr. Filner said, and Adobe has invested in helping extend HTML technology.
- - Adobe thinks the mobile web has gone in two directions: the open web via the browser and the application store.â€¨
- - On Apple: It’s Apple’s decision whether or not it wants to support Flash. For now, it is supporting developers creating Flash-based apps for the iPhone app store.â€¨
- - There has been some discussion about the Flash user experience on computers vs. touch screens due to the lack of a mouse, cursor and the “hover effect” that some Flash apps currently use. While Aaron didn’t specifically highlight how Adobe intends to tackle that problem, he did say that the company’s playing around with potential solutions and that Adobe believes most Flash apps and videos will still work just fine on touchscreen devices.â€¨
- - Expect - Flash 10.1 for Android in the first half of 2010