Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

Summary: Hey, Apple...Android seems to be able to handle security with Flash. Is iOS that delicate that it needs pure HTML?

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Flash is a big deal. I know HTML5 is the best thing since sliced bread and we can all do wonderful things with AJAX and Javascript (and Java, for that matter) and CSS. But when it comes right down to it, if you want to code up a high-impact, media-rich, seriously interactive site, you're probably going to look to Flash.

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.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Android, Apple, Google

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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102 comments
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  • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

    Yup. I agree with the article. Apple still got a lead now because Android isn't so mature yet. As soon as they nail that maturity and better security, I'll switch to Android myself. There is just lots of nonsense going on with Apple. Can't send a file via bluetooth. Always need to synchronize with iTunes to copy anything from the PC to my iPhone or iPad. etc. I'm getting tired of that. And can't use flash. how about letting the users to choose? I know Apple is trying to do it for the best interest of it's customers. but too much of anything is bad. So is too much restrictions. Thumbs up to google and the Android team. They are getting there
    Patcheko80
    • When will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

      The answer is "soon".

      There's more chance of Apple supporting Flash in the next years than Flash dying in the next decade. Why? Because everybody will support it, and users will notice.

      I know fanboys will argue that they don't miss Flash, but this is not the point. When a normal user goes to a Flash games site and see nothing, and then see that their friend's phone/tablet run those games normally, they will think "eeew, i want mine like that".
      BioNerd
      • All you have to do is look to BBC Player

        @BioNerd

        To see the failure that is Flash in the mobile space.

        iOS? 100% support.

        Android? It is a bit moe complicated.
        Bruizer
      • Apple will let Flash on iOS ...

        ... when Flash developers put enough pressure on Adobe to make a player that isn't a complete piece of garbage.<br><br>The big appeal for Flash is not on the user side, it's on the developer side. Developers like Flash because they know Flash and don't want to be bothered doing things in any other way. There is practically no upside to consumers to use Flash. I don't give a s--t about what is easiest for Flash developers.<br><br>99% of Flash web content is an annoyance. Of the remaining 1% that I actually want to see, about 99% of that is available on my iPhone anyway because content providers have created HTML/JavaScript/H.264 alternatives that work just as well as, if not better than, Flash.<br><br>So, at most, I'm missing about .01% of web content on my iPhone. The trade off for better mobile performance is well worth it. If there is a bit of that tiny, tiny amount of Flash-only content that I really want to see, I just watch it on my Mac when I get home. In the last year, that translated to maybe a half-dozen videos that I <i>needed</i> Flash to watch.<br><br>The choice is clear:<br>1.) Create a compelling reason to me the consumer why I absolutely need Flash. Then I might pressure Apple to let Flash on iOS. Right now there is none.<br>2.) Flash developers, who are the only ones with a real vested interest in the issue, must pressure Adobe to make a player that doesn't cause my mobile device to perform worse. Then it can be on my phone and I won't really care one way or the other about it.
        RationalGuy
      • Ignoring the Elephant in the Room?

        @Bruizer

        Failure of flash? Last time I checked BBC player was available for Froyo (2.2) plus support for Honeycomb is planned. How can you call it a failure when it's only been recently that processing power has caught up with Flash?

        I'm no fan of Flash and the bloat that's associated with it but when you have a platform for content that has a 95%+ market penetration that's very hard to ignore, unless you're an egomaniac with a penchant for having absolute control.
        MisterMiester
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @BioNerd I love my iPhone but I am not a fanboy. Have I missed flash in the 3 1/2 years of using iPhones, no. Sure, there have been a couple of times which I was not able access something I wanted to due to flash but they have been very few and far between. I don't go to flash game sites and have never spoken to anybody I know that had an issue with no flash access. I actually find myself browsing the web less and less each year due to having apps that more quickly do what I would have used a browser to do. Are there going to be people that are addicted to this flash game or that one, sure. Is the average consumer (you know the ones buying smart phones/tablets by the millions) really going to care that much about access to flash, depends on the demographic. To use your term "normal user" I suspect they are not all that concerned about flash while a smaller percentage is.
        non-biased
      • @misterMiester

        It is a failure because the BBC player works on ALL iOS devices. If Google had not supported the proprietary Flash player, Android would have 100% support compared to less than 50%.

        That is failure. BTW:

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/26574892@N07/5475257624/

        Pic of the day.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @BioNerd

        On which tablet? The Galaxy Tab, which no one is buying, or the Xoom, which doesn't have Flash yet?

        It's simple: Apple does not wish to be held hostage by Adobe. Adobe's Flash Player for touchscreen devices missed the iPhone launch, the iPhone 3G launch, the G1 launch, the iPhone 3Gs launch, the Motorola Droid launch, the Nexus One launch, the iPad launch, and the Xoom launch. In other words, Adobe is a joke, regardless of how successful Flash has been, and I can appreciate why Apple wouldn't want to rely on them.

        I really think we should actually see a version of Flash running well on a mobile device before any further proclamations are made. For me, "running well" would mean the device runs video at frames-per-second, and not seconds-per-frame, while NOT destroying battery life.
        will.todd@...
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @BioNerd You're missing the alternative:http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/10/adobe-demos-flash-to-html5-conversion-tool.html

        Most customers don't care whether they have Flash or not. They care whether they can see content that is currently being delivered with Flash. If CS6 is announced with HTML5-based development tools, will anyone care whether a Flash plugin is available? (Answer: no)
        wlgdev
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @BioNerd I honestly don't think Apple are going to cave. Why would they?<br><br>- Their devices sell in their droves despite the lack of Flash and their very public stance on it.<br>- Anyone who wants a tablet or phone with Flash won't buy an Apple device.<br>- Site owners desperate to ensure their millions of iOS users out there see their content are already making sure to support h.264 video via the video tag, or creating apps. Three of the biggest anti-iOS arguments I saw from normals were Farmville, Hulu and Netflix... all of which are now in the app store.<br><br>People are going to miss sites that don't move from Flash to either the app store or HTML5/JS/CSS3, I agree, but I don't think it's enough to change Apple's opinion. My mum was bummed to discover her favourite bingo site is Flash only, but the iPad has still massively improved her life.
        FaustsHausUK
    • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

      @Patcheko80 in this case I do not think Apple is trying to do it for the best interest of its customers, it is all about the control of the application and entertainment markets. Flash is not a threat for customers, it is a threat for iTunes and AppStore.

      I wrote an extensive article on the matter, you might find some information interesting:

      http://applesucks.squarespace.com/blog/screw-you-apple-there-will-be-a-quarter-billion-flash-enable.html
      flexengineer
      • Gee

        @flexengineer Was interested in your article til i saw the site name in the url.
        I'm sure it's all very objective with that title, no? No agenda there.
        sportmac
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @flexengineer LOL. Wonderful URL. Couldn't you pack in a bit more prejudice and hatred? I think this URL should be in the Guiness book of records!
        The Star King
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @flexengineer Yeah, I , too was about to click, but really, I am sure I know the outcome based only on your url.
        srs2273
      • Then why...

        @flexengineer

        Does iOS get 100% support from the BBC Player and Android does not? Sounds like not having Flash opens up a world of content to me.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @flexengineer I could agree with a few of your arguments in your article. Maybe it's about control of the ecosystem, which is the actual success of the iPhone, it's not the device alone. But as Apple I would have good reason to deliver the best mobile experience to users. I don't have an Android device, so I can't compare that experience to the one that I get on an iPhone.

        I'm not so sure if Apple in the end would give in to Flash support. IMHO this would only happen if there's enough pressure from the community, and it might mean that Apple strikes a special deal with Adobe. They have a long term relationship.

        As to the name of your blog. Yes, it is a bit pre-emptive, but hey if you can seriously and un-biased point out where Apple sucks, then this is a valid cause. Just don't fall for this Apple sucks-Android rocks scheme.
        invenio
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @sportmac<br>@The Star King<br>@srs2273<br>Apple's conduct sucks, the anti competition behaviors suck, the abuse of consumers sucks... I truly believe Apple sucks in many respects and I believe I document it pretty well so why would I hesitate calling my blog the way I fell about the matter? <br><br>@Bruizer<br>I do not get what you meant with the BBC, <br><br>@invenio<br>Thank you for the feedback and thank you for the objective look on the blog's name, your analysis is pretty sharp.
        flexengineer
      • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

        @flexengineer I didn't follow your link but your comment "<i>I truly believe Apple sucks in many respects and I believe I document it pretty well...</i>" is very telling. You are more than welcome to your opinion and as you stated with "<i>I believe</i>" you point out that it is opinion. Everyone has a right to their opinion but when you title something so blatant you lose credibility of being objective no matter how well you make your case. You simply come across as a hater and are more likely to not change any minds, the haters already agree and the non haters don't listen due to the obvious bias.
        non-biased
      • @ flexengineer

        You should try Google.

        With BBC Player, you get 100% support across all iOS devices. With Android, it is a bit more complicated due to its "reliance" on Flash. Far less than 50% support.

        On Hulu, you get 0% on Android. 100% on all iOS devices.

        On NetFlix, you get 0% on Android. 100% on all iOS devices.

        Flash is a HUGE failure on mobile market and supporting it has hurt Android's user base in their access to media on the web when compared to iOS. But stupid people will still say... "But it has FLASH!!!" without even beginning to understand the ramifications of that.
        Bruizer
    • RE: Adobe says Flash will be huge...when will Apple follow Android's Flash lead?

      @Patcheko80 I'm thrilled NOT to have FLASH. Major reduction of Ads and no more 20 min. web introductions. Yippee. No Flash = Happy iPhone/iPad user!
      rvassar