SINGAPORE--With the HTML5 Web standard gaining traction among browser developers, an Adobe Systems executive has come out to say that the market will likely experience another round of browser fragmentation due to different implementations of the technology.
Anup Murarka, Adobe's global director for technology strategy and partner development for the company's Flash platform, said during a media briefing on Tuesday that similar to the desktop browser fragmentation the industry experienced a few years back, the market can expect to see various browser iterations appearing, utilizing different elements of the Web markup standard.
The issue of browser fragmentation runs deeper, though, as developers not only have to observe HTML5 standards but also a slew of other considerations. German developer, Johannes Fieres, told ZDNet Asia in an earlier interview that developers now have to contend with "a jungle" of different device specifications, from screen resolutions to hardware flavors such as connectivity and input options.
Murarka also took the opportunity to reiterate Adobe's commitment to embracing HTML5, which is an alternative to its Flash technology. He noted that Flash is a "complement" to HTML and that both systems have "co-existed for the last 10 years".
"As Adobe introduces new innovations, capabilities and features in Flash, these will usually find their way to becoming Web standards over time," Murarka noted.
Flash to appear on more mobile devices
With regard to Flash's future relevance to the industry, the Adobe executive said that Flash is not simply a Web runtime application in the form of Adobe's Flash Player and AIR, but that it is a "platform" representing a "complete system for Web innovation". Adobe's Flash "system" comprises its Creative Suite software, Flash Platform Services and Flash Media Server Family application, Murarka pointed out.
He went on highlight Flash's role in the growing mobile devices sector. Citing its partnership with mobile operating system (OS) makers such as Google, Microsoft, Research in Motion (RIM) and Nokia, Murarka predicted that the majority of smartphones will be Flash-enabled by 2012.
"Right now, only nine percent of all smartphones in the market runs Flash, but we believe that this will ramp up very quickly and we expect to see 53 percent of the world's smartphones running Flash in a couple of years," he said.
The 2012 projection does not factor in the iPhone--Apple's CEO Steve Jobs has stated his anti-Flash stance. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 devices are also excluded from the count because there won't be many devices shipped yet, noted Murarka.
Also, while the latest iteration of Flash Player--version 10.1--will initially only be supported by Google's Android OS version 2.2, dubbed Froyo, the Adobe executive expects the company's partnerships with other phone makers, particularly with Nokia and its market dominant Symbian OS, to drive the growth of Flash-enabled smartphones.
Froyo is the minimum Android OS requirement for Flash Player 10.1 support, but release of Froyo devices are dependent on the implementation and production roadmaps of the various phone makers, said Murarka.
He added that Flash Player 10.1, which is currently in beta and available for download, is "on track" and will be available for Android devices, desktops and netbooks later in the month.