The Future of Mobile Flash

The Future of Mobile Flash


The Future of Mobile Flash

22.11.2011


 

Adobe, the creators behind Flash technology, recently created an online media outburst as they announced that they would no longer be developing the Flash concept for mobile devices.

This decision comes at a critical time: the world is dominated by the mobile phone: we use them for text messaging, telephone calls, weather updates, news feeds, gaming, and more importantly, we can now use our mobiles to browse the web. It was known earlier this year that as many as twenty million mobile devices had Flash in their browsers. So why should Adobe wish to pull the plug at such a crucial time in their own industry?

Adobe, in public battles with Apple about the advantages and disadvantages of Flash, and with slow performance reported on Android devices that use Flash, decided that they need to seek a better alternative. The iPhone and iPad were in fact launched by Apple with no Flash capabilities. Steve Jobs himself proclaimed in a recent public letter on Flash that “…the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards –- all areas where Flash falls short.”

Indeed, HTML5 has many advantages over Flash when it comes to mobile devices. The HTML5 web standard is firstly supported on desktop systems as well as mobile devices, and can be implemented across different platforms. While flash makes web browsing a dynamic and user friendly experience on a desktop system, on a mobile device Flash is known to drain the processors and battery life of the devices, and has also been exploited to uncover some underlying security issues. There is also an issue of the touch-based devices being cumbersome on Flash websites, which using a mouse, allow rollovers and other effects which cannot be utilised. This would mean some re-writing to support these touch devices.HTML5 will ensure that even iPhone users will be able to view more websites with these new capabilities.

It is not to decide who will win between Flash and HTML5: Adobe will continue to develop Flash for desktop systems, and will continue to perform security checks and bug fixes to its existing Flash mobile systems. However it was the constant pressure from Apple, and there unwavering refusal to implement Flash into their operating systems, that probably sealed Adobe’s decision.

It is for now unsure if there is to be a sudden shift in the evolution of the internet: website developers and designers may face the tough challenge of creating Flash for computers, and HTML5 for mobile. Steve Jobs believed that “Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”

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