Flash is Dead. Adobe switches to HTML5

Posted by Nikoletta Ventseslavova

Read if: you want to know why Adobe decided to embrace HTML 5 further and develop new technology, leaving Flash behind

Today the hottest topic among smart phone users is Flash’s future. The debate over the support of Adobe’s Flash plug-in on mobile gadgets has come to an end. On 9th November 2011 Danny Winokur, VP and GM of Interactive Development at Adobe announced that the company will no longer develop Flash for portable devices, mobile applications and PC browsing. The company will focus their efforts on HTML5 and AIR applications for portable devices.

What caused the failure?

After a good fight bring its Flash Player platform to the mobile market, Adobe finally thrown in the towel. The software brought multiple problems to the mobile internet, draining batteries and consuming excessive memorystorage and processing power. Flash performed well at low resolutions, but it couldn’t cope with high ones, which was a deterrent for those of us who like browsing on the go.
It also had security problems, but despite that Google and RIM widely adopted Flash Player. Its industry support came to an end when Apple refused to adopt Flash. As we live in a world, which requires devices that respond instantly and have enough capacity to work without recharging, Flash’s mobile characteristics have become antiquated. Last year, the late lamented CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs explained Apple’s stance against the usage of Flash in iOS: “The mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short” and incited the world of technology to embrace HTML5. Soon, Facebook launched an HTML5 platform supporting a wide variety of apps and games. Then Google shifted away from Google Gears to HTML5 for Web application development. Recently, Microsoft chose also HTML5 over Flash in the Metro version of IE10 and said that Windows applications will be built on HTML 5 and Javascript.

Adobe’s innovation strategy

After the upcoming release of Flash
Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook, Adobe will no longer develop their Flash Player for mobile browsers. Instead, they will focus their work on enabling “developers to package native applications with Adobe AIR for all the major application stores.

Adobe AIR is a platform for developers and now the focus will be on HTML, not Flash. Users will receive a new class of gaming and premium HD video experiences. In addition, they will rejoice in sophisticated, data-driven applications with back-end systems integration across devices via AIR 3, including iPhones and iPads.

Flash won’t disappear completely from Android just yet. Adobe will focus more on helping developers to package applications with native support for Adobe AIR across all devices and will “continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configuration,” which is good news for those of us who still rely on Flash working properly for various websites and applications.

Flash-only based websites will be still accessable via Google’s tool Swiffy, that converts Flash SWF files to HTML5. The search giant promised to continue working to improve Swiffy, helping to foster the conversion of Flash content to HTML5.  Flash Player is supported on 98 percent of Internet connected PCs and by December 2011, Adobe expects more than 200 million smart phones and tablets, including Apple iOS devices to support Flash based applications via Adobe AIR. The prognosis for the number of devices that will support Adobe AIR is expected to increase to 1 billion by 2015.

HTML 5

Adobe announced, “We will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve” In other words, Flash will be living on the traditional browser, while HTML5 will rule the mobile web. It is fast and efficient, with cross-device support.

Many companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Cloud Reader, Vimeo, Kindle and the Financial Times made the switch to HTML5. Now Adobe is doing the same. Smart phone users will be able to enjoy great content from anywhere, regardless of the operating systems they’re using. This is definitely a positive development in a market already somewhat fragmented with developers who obtrude new content on customers without matter if they use the latest Android smart phone or a shiny new iPad.

In the meantime, if you need to access flash content on your mobile device, for ipad you can use Iswifter, and Flash is directly downloadable from adobe using Android.

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