We reported earlier in the month how Adobe was pulling the plug on Flash development on Mobile devices. For anyone who is now used to using Flash on their Android devices, the news that Google’s latest update to Android would not support it out of the box came as a bit of a shock. While Flash may not be perfect, it has come a long way of late and was actually starting to perform quiet well on the newer Android phones.
Google of course distanced themselves from this and said it was up to Adobe to make it Ice Cream Sandwich compatible. Fears began to grow then that the little blue lego brick iOS, BlackBerry and Windows phone users have become accustomed to, might end up being a part of ICS life also!
Thankfully Adobe have stated today that they will work on making Flash compatible with ICS and release it by the end of the year, before they finally close down it’s development for good.
While for many Android users, including myself this is great news, this truly will be the final Swan Song for official Flash mobile development.
What worries me though is this. Apple decided to not support Flash on any of their iOS devices several years ago. This is obviously the straw that broke the camel’s back for Flash. In the following years I have seen very little software developed that will offer a replacement for Flash. Still to this day iOS users have no way of viewing sites that are based on Flash. Within a few years there will be no mobile device that can. It’s not because there isn’t a market there for it. Apple has sold millions and millions of iOS devices.
The reasons, in my opinion, are as follows. As bad as Flash is/was no one has come up with a better solution that everyone is willing to run with. Apple have put forward their ideas, so have Google and many others but their suggestions best serve themselves so there has been no major uptake in any of them and many of have become marginalised. If you had a website that was flash based why would you go to the trouble of rewriting it? If all your media content was in a Flash format why would you bother converting it?
These are all issues for Flash as a whole rather than Flash for Mobile. While we wait even longer to see what will be adopted as the replacement for Flash in general maybe this is where the mobile world can have it’s biggest influence.
As we all now use Applications on our phones the need for Flash is being negated. Developers who write Apps for iOS have had to create them sans Flash. Very few Android Apps rely on Flash. Most games we download for our phones don’t need Flash. As the Smartphone sector continues to boom, developers, websites, media providers are all creating their content so it is compatible with the Smartphones we use. Smartphones are becoming the new standards for content to conform to. If you are creating an App now that you want to publish across all the platforms, you will create your content in such a manner that it requires the least amount of work possible to port to them all.
Maybe we still don’t have a replacement for Flash yet but we are gravitating towards a middle ground where content will be easily changed to suit whatever OS is consuming it. Hopefully this becomes a reality now as developers realise they have no choice but to adopt a different system.
Let us know your thoughts below