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We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power.
HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash).
HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created Web Kit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too.
In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage.
Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer.
We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (You Tube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.
We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.
By making its Web Kit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers. Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash.Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover.Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe.Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system. Though the operating system for the i Phone, i Pod and i Pad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open.In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices.