Last week, Adobe released a preview of its HTML5 editor, “EDGE”. Early critics have pointed out the cumbersome UI and adobe lovers have pointed out the familiarity with flash development environment. It remains to be seen if Adobe will go on to dominate HTML5 tools given that for once they don’t control the HTMl5 standard (and may even be lagging behind on few counts) and till they acquired MacroMedia, they were indeed lagging behind even on website development tools (remember the Dreaweaver v/s GoLive no show) ?
However, one thing is certain – the impact of Apple refusing to support flash on its iPhone/iPAD devices has hurt the flash dominance of web rich media content. Apple’s march towards global domination is led by necessities, apple has always been into developing product for its customers that supplies high intelligence at the cost of least power, and hence criticizing flash is a natural reaction. What has not helped is adobe’s lack of aggressive evangelism of flash players on emergent android smart-phone and tablets. Instead, adobe may have tried to push away smart-phone OEMs with a licensing based business model for flash player which has further pushed users into adopting HTML5 as the lingua franca of mobile rich media.
One major concern in the apple camp is that they don’t believe that flash is open standard. In their own words – “just being widely available don’t make it open”. Apple believes that flash products are 100% proprietary and has been pushing for open web standards (w3c) in its products. Adobe counters by pointing out that most web users are missing on rich user experience since 75-90% websites do have flash content.
Non availability of flash on iPAD has neither slowed down its adoption nor created any major frustration for its users. One major pitch for flash has been video streaming. However, with the modern h.264 streaming available via http streaming to iPhone/iPAD devices, usage of video has gone thru the roof even without flash support – just look at the traffic statistics from youtube, videmo, Netflix, facebook, abc, cbs, cnn, msnbc etc. This has further contributed to the growing feeling that flash is also “dispensable”.
So far, adobe has done promise, promise, promise but not deliver, deliver, deliver when it comes to Flash Player for the mobile. With “EDGE” is adobe accepting a graceful “I am beaten” posture? Time will tell…