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Is Flash a threatened technology?

by Dan
February 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Adobe CTO Kevin Linch argues against rumors around the dark perspectives that arise for the future of Flash technology.

The first major threat for Flash technology that still forbids to operate like it does in the current HTML age is Apple refusal to support it on mobile touchscreen devices.

Steve Jobs calls it buggy and crash-prone and dismisses Adobe as being lazy. Adobe fights back and points out that it would be easy to convert Flash applications into iPod/iPhone/iPad application with a single touch of a button.

Using the much announced Adobe Flash CS5 (still to be launched), designers and developers will have the ability to create ActionScript 3 projects for the Apple iPhone.

“After looking at the software terms, agreements, and allowable content that Apple permits in the store, we decided that our best option was to provide our developer community with a compiler to help package SWF content into a native iPhone application. (Of course, we made sure we did this in a way that aligned with Apple’s legal terms.)” says Aditya Bansod on CS5.org

Take a look at Adobe Opening iPhone to Flash Developers

On Apple, Lynch says Adobe is ready and able to put Flash on the iPhone, the iPad or anything else Apple can throw its way. But, as has been the case for more than a year, the ball is in Apple’s court:

“We are ready to enable Flash in the browser on these devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.”

Lynch points out that the next version of Flash for smartphones, 10.1, is about to become available and that practically all other smartphones will support it, including Android, Blackberry, Nokia, and Palm Pre. If they can handle it, why can’t an iPhone?

The second major threat for Flash technology is the HTML 5 with its video rendering capabilities.

Lynch says that 75% of video on the Web currently is shown in a Flash player:

“Adobe supports HTML and its evolution and we look forward to adding more capabilities to our software around HTML as it evolves. If HTML could reliably do everything Flash does that would certainly save us a lot of effort, but that does not appear to be coming to pass. Even in the case of video, where Flash is enabling over 75% of video on the Web today, the coming HTML video implementations cannot agree on a common format across browsers, so users and content creators would be thrown back to the dark ages of video on the Web with incompatibility issues.”

Adobe market share is still on its feet in terms of developers who buy its Creative Suite software to make Flash applications for video and animation on the Web. But with upcoming HTML 5 with video rendering and the Apple refuse to allow Flash technology on its mobile touchscreen devices, Adobe competitive position will be weakened.

What do you think? What is your gossip?

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