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Adobe, mobile devices, and the iPhone/iPod touch

As I’ve mentioned before (in April, June, and July), Macromedia and now Adobe have been strongly emphasizing the importance of developing for mobile devices for years—since at least the 2003 MAX conference that I remember. But I’ve been hearing some discouraging words regarding Flash—i.e., the lack of it—on the iPhone and iPod touch.

From Roughly Drafted: though there’s a few out-of-date and/or questionable interpretations here, he makes some points to consider:

Excluding Flash is a huge slap in the face of Adobe, which is pushing Flash as the basis of its AIR and Flex web application strategies. Adobe likes to advertise that nearly every PC has a Flash plugin installed. Suddenly, nearly every mobile that has access to the real Internet won’t have Flash, making it far less attractive across the board.
Of course, even Steve Jobs’ own prediction/goal for the iPhone market share isn’t anywhere close to “nearly every mobile”; it’s 1% of all handhelds (10 million by the end of 2008). But at $300 for an iPod touch, I don’t see how “nearly every” person wanting to surf on a mobile device wouldn’t get one—with or without Flash.
In any case, the iPhone is Apple’s best shot at killing Flash, and Apple appears happy to be using it as such. The company just recently removed all remains of Flash from its corporate website, implementing everything that had been Flash-based using standards-based Ajax techniques instead.
I haven’t tried to check this, but the “standards-based” rationale is interesting. Here’s a comment from another Flash-disparaging article:
… today we ponder one of the most interesting questions about the future of Flash, iPhone and web standards. Despite assurances by Uncle Walt [Walt Mossberg] that Apple and Adobe are hard at work on a Flash Player for iPhone, plenty of naysayers, skeptics, and player-haters have voiced strong speculations that Flash will never appear on the iPhone for strategic, practical and technical reasons. A quick scan of comments on various iPhone related entries across the web reveals an almost universal plea amongst everyday users indicating that the only missing feature from Mobile Safari is the presence of a mainstream multimedia plugin. In fact, the world’s most popular piece of software, in history is well known to be absent from iPhone.

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