Adobe has used this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to highlight the continuing trend towards the use of Flash, particularly on mobile platforms, despite Apple's unwillingness to budge on support for Flash in iOS. According to ReadWriteWeb,
Thanks in no small part to the rise of Android devices, Flash adoption has topped Adobe's earlier forecasts. At the Adobe MAX Developer Conference earlier last year, Adobe had forecasted 9% of mobile phones would support Flash in 2010, but as of year-end, the actual number was 12%.
And it isn't just Android. Android certainly wasn't even the first platform to support Flash (that honor actually goes to Windows Mobile), although it leads the market by a significant share at the moment. Windows Phone 7, RIM's BlackBerry OS, and HP's WebOS all currently or will shortly support Flash on their mobile phones, ensuring that everything from YouTube to the latest hardware-accelerated web-based games are supported on every major mobile platform. Except, of course, iOS.
There's no Flash on your iPad, your iPhone, or your iPod Touch. Plenty of rich and wonderful apps, but a whole lot of empty boxes on a whole lot of websites. Sure, plenty of those empty boxes just wanted you to spank a monkey and download some malware anyway, but Flash remains a dominant force on the interactive Web. Apple maintains that Flash in inherently insecure, although its desktop and laptop products have supported it for years.
Again, as Adobe representatives put it,
Video in particular is driving demand for the plugin, as people browsing the Web on their mobile phones "want to have access to the sort of content they're used to being able to access," says Adobe's Anup Murarka, Director of Product Marketing
So when will Apple finally jump on the train? If Flash isn't a universal standard, it's about as close as you can get for web multimedia. The sorts of ongoing development using Flash Media Server, whether targeting mobile or desktop devices, are quite compelling. Real-time video and audio collaboration? Check. High-performance web gaming? Check. 3D visualization and modeling? Check. Further death knells for the desktop computer? Check.
I give Apple a year until they cave. Android tablets will just be too cool and too useful for both entertainment and enterprise applications if they don't.