Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Ding Dong Flash Is (Finally!) Dying

Adobe made a couple of interesting announcements today:
  1. They are killing off future development of Mobile Flash in favor of HTML5

  2. Their acquisition of Nitobi (the guys that made the open source PhoneGap) closed today
Ummmmm... what?

Yeah, well, as it turns out - it seems that Adobe has finally figured out that it's bloatware, 1990's, proprietary, resource-hogging, memory-leaking, browser-crashing plug-in has finally run its course.

It's finally "seen the light" of open standards (read: HTML5) - and actually bought one of the most awesome (and open source) frameworks around: PhoneGap. Never heard of PhoneGap? Basically, it's a framework that allows developers to create native applications for all the major applications (iOS, Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, etc.):

Now, the public line from Adobe is that developers will use PhoneGap and Air to create desktop application... yeah, right! But they had to say something - or Google and RIM would be really pissed off because one of the huge selling points of Android and the RIM tablet were that they could run Flash.


Of course Adobe is saying it will still develop Flash for desktop/notebooks - for now. My guess is - that within a couple of years they'll stop doing even that. The issue at hand is that people are increasing their use of mobile devices and decreasing their use of desktop devices.

Plus, as tablets become a more and more dominant computing/entertainment platform - Adobe simply can't afford to ignore where the future is going (as Steve Jobs told them back in 2008 - and then VERY publicly in his open letter called "Thoughts On Flash" and spoke at length with Walt Mossberg at the D8 conference in 2010 about why Flash sucks and why Apple chose to not support it).

Flash itself is too widely installed to just "go away" overnight. It has an installed base of about 96% of all browsers - and there are thousands of developers who create a wide variety of content that we consume everyday. Not to mention that the Flash codec for video has been the defacto standard for many years, and it will take time before all those videos get converted to a non-Flash codec.

However - it WILL happen - and most (if not all) new content that's being generated won't be generated in Flash, it will be generated in HTML5-ish technologies. With the acquisition of PhoneGap and their work on their Edge product (the one that converts Flash to run in HTML5) - Adobe is clearly signalling that the way forward for them is (eventually) going to be Flash-free.

Looks like Steve Jobs was right... again.

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