The latest flagship Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, may come packing Ice Cream Sandwich – but Adobe Flash support is still conspicuously absent from the device. This is just a short delay according to Google, but with Adobe recently announcing that they will be halting development of their Mobile Flash Player, does it even matter?
Flash, whilst still popular for laptop/desktop browsing, has never found much success on mobile devices – with its implementations often slow, buggy, and resource intensive, and battery sucking. Steve Jobs set the ball rolling for the abandonment of the software on mobile devices when he made just those points a few years ago – but many, including myself, were not convinced he was right at the time. Flash was the dominant video format on the internet, and is still used by a number of high profile websites for serving video – but with Youtube switching the HTML5 and others following suite (and the BBC offering various streaming options per device), Flash’s days have been numbered.
The ubiquity of the Flash plugin on desktop browsers has given designers and developers the ability to make much more intricate designs for websites and web-based games – but the march towards open standards continues with HTML5 the latest flag bearer. People want to be able to use apps on every web enabled device from laptop, to tablets, to smartphones – something HTML5 was designed for, and Flash was not. Proprietary software, however good, cannot develop quickly enough for the rapid platform changes that are happening at the moment, and the various OSes for them – it was only a matter of time before open standards took over.
Flash you made the early web more interesting, but real progress is open.