Analyst Watch: Adobe beyond Flash
February 14, 2012 —
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Related Search Term(s): Adobe, Flash, Worklight
Adobe's announcement at the close of 2011 that it would cease putting the Flash browser plug-in on mobile devices may have been painful to its designer and developer community, but Adobe had by then shown a dual strategy of supporting Flash and HTML5. The move may well have been prompted by Microsoft's decision to ban browser plug-ins in its forthcoming Windows 8 mobile interfaces, but it has been the long tussle between Apple and Adobe over these issues for some time, as well as the rise of HTML5, that has seen Adobe plan for a different future, one based on AIR and HTML5, with desktop Flash plug-ins remaining a lower priority.
Adobe is supporting HTML5 Web design and development by providing an HTML5-compatible creative suite. Adobe also secured the independence of the popular HTML5 app development platform, PhoneGap, by acquiring it in October 2011 and maintaining its open-source status. Though HTML5 is sufficiently converged on mobile devices (thanks to WebKit), on desktop browsers it is still fragmented, with audio and video streaming currently weak areas. The W3C sees its members improving the standard at a fast pace, and by 2014 we may well see significant catch-up.
Adobe has stated it will continue to invest in Flash as its state-of-the-art showcase as it will remain the core technology within AIR, as well as specialized applications such as video streaming. For now, the market will continue to develop on Flash and Microsoft Silverlight for those niche applications where HTML5 currently lacks features, standardizations and browser support.
Adobe recently gave a press conference to outline its next-decade vision for business in its digital media division, which it said grew 10% in 2011. Adobe said typical consumers download 10 mobile apps per month, and spend over an hour a day browsing the Web or using apps. The company is aware that traditional media companies (print and TV) need to monetize their activity, as the move to the Web has so far reduced their revenues. Thus Adobe aims to abstract away the complexity of Web and mobile device fragmentation, and it sees HTML5 as the catalyst to achieve that over the long term.