Flash vs Apple Mobile Devices (And Their Increasing Market Share)

by Tom Mullaly on January 31, 2010

When I watched the introduction of the iPad the other day, the first time my jaw dropped was when I saw ol’ Steve open up the New York Times site, showing an enormous blue box where flash content might otherwise have been. I thought “I can’t believe Steve Jobs is showing me this in 2010″.

My knee-jerk reaction was that this was a shortcoming in the device, but not because I necessarily think that Apple is obliged to make iPhone and iPad play nice with Flash. It’s that it will be perceived as a shortcoming by users who are not tech-savvy and know nothing about Apple’s decision to keep flash off iPhone & iPad OS. They will only know that their cool new iPad is not delivering 100% of the experience they no doubt expect.

A fascinating battle seems to be gaining momentum as mobile devices by Apple that do not run Flash gain a greater share of the browser experience. As undeniable as their popularity has been, it seems unthinkable that Flash alternatives will be explored/used on a large scale by developers as a response to Flash not running on what is still a small percentage of devices. I am not convinced, especially with Adobe’s 10.1 coming up. But John Gruber makes a good argument that Apple will not relent and allow Flash on iPhone & iPad OS, that this situation might instead deal a real blow to flash penetration in the surfing experience of the future. “Developers go where the users are.”

This Scobelizer post opines that Adobe had better have a good story to tell by the time SXSWi rolls around in just six weeks, and is also worth a read.

So what do you think? Will HTML 5 render Flash and Silverlight irrelevant?

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