Recently, Adobe announced that it is no longer going to be actively developing the Flash Player for mobile devices.
Adobe has seen that Flash is not going to be the way forward in the mobile device market. With this in mind, Adobe made the aforementioned announcement to say that it was now going to correctly address its position in the mobile market. This part of the announcement was quite clear.
However, Adobe neglected to clearly state that its strategy involving Flash for non-mobile devices was not going to change. With the Flash player installed on a staggering 99% of Internet-enabled computers, Adobe may have assumed that it was clear that they had no need to change the existing strategy in this space.
Furthermore, the statements that Adobe did make regarding the non-mobile Flash player – statements at which we shall look in a moment – were drowned out by the (incorrect) sound bite upon which everyone focused, i.e. that Adobe was abandoning Flash. It is this lack of clarity that has led to fear, uncertainty and doubt within the industry about the future of the Flash player for desktops.
Let me state here and now that the future of the Flash player for enterprise desktop applications, such as one2edit, is in no danger.
In this blog post, I will first allay your fears with Adobe’s own words on this matter, followed by explaining why Adobe would decide to follow this strategy.
In the original announcement by Adobe, Danny Winokur, the Vice President and General Manager of Interactive Development at Adobe, states that Adobe “will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations”.
This statement is specifically about mobile devices because, in the following paragraphs, Danny states that “These changes will allow us to…innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry”, followed by “We are already working on Flash Player 12” and “We are super excited about the next generations of HTML5 and Flash”.
Admittedly, the wording that surrounds these statements is somewhat confusing, so Adobe was forced to clarify on a number of these issues.
We shall now look at a blog post by Mike Chambers, the principal product manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform at Adobe. This blog post, entitled “Clarifications on Flash Player for Mobile Browsers, the Flash Platform, and the Future of Flash”, sheds more light on the situation.
In the section entitled “Flash Player for Desktop Browsers”, Mike states:
“We feel that Flash continues to play a vital role of enabling features and functionality on the web that are not otherwise possible. As such, we have a long-term commitment to the Flash Player on desktops, and are actively working on the next Flash Player version.”
“Adobe will continue to support applications built with Flex, as well as all future versions of the SDK running in PC browsers with Adobe Flash Player”
Once again, this is reinforcing the fact that the desktop version of the Adobe Flash player will continue to be developed by Adobe for the foreseeable future.
So, the message is now clear – the future of the Adobe Flash player for desktops is guaranteed by Adobe.
When you’re showing off your new smartphone, you don’t open the web browser. No, you open an app. Sure, a browser might allow you to check your web email, but a dedicated email app is far more useful and user friendly.
What I’m saying is that, for more complex operations, apps are what users want on their mobile devices, not a browser-based solution. Adobe Flex and Adobe Air give developers a method of building one application for multiple platforms.
However, for simpler operations, such as streaming a video from a web page, users do not want to switch from browser to app and back again. In this case, the two options for browser developers were:
1. Use the mobile device Flash player
2. Support HTML5, a future standard that will run inside the browser
Add to this the fact that the mobile device Flash player is rather clunky and slow, and we have a clear winner in the “simple operations within a mobile browser” category.
Adobe has decided to focus on the future of simple operations within a mobile browser, HTML5, in lieu of a mobile Flash player.
The word “simple” is key here. Desktop enterprise applications are far more complex than even mobile device apps. For example, one2edit is not a simple program aimed at the mobile device market. It is a complex cross-platform desktop application, the needs of which HTML5 cannot meet. In fact, there are a very large number of companies using Flash for enterprise applications. For this reason alone, there is still a need for the Flash player on the desktop, and Adobe has said that it will cater to this need.
“…just to be clear, this announcement pertains to the browser plug-in on mobile devices only. The Flash browser plug-in on the desktop remains important and viable and even critical for many use cases, and we’ve publicly committed to adding value and features and functionality to better address just these use cases”
This means that, for the foreseeable future, there will be a platform on which one2edit can run. Flash, and therefore one2edit, is not dead.