What Adobe can do to get Flash on the iPhone

Tue, Apr 27, 2010


Louis Gerbarg of devwhy nails it:

If Adobe actually wants to persuade Apple to support Flash on iPhone (either as a plugin or compiled to native apps), I know how they can do it. They can get an awesome, high performance, Flash environment working on Android, and get a bunch of great Flash apps running on Android phones. As much as Apple wants to control iPhone, I am willing to bet they want to beat Android more. Currently Adobe is asking Apple to put Adobe in a position where they wield influence over Apple, in exchange for the promise of apps in the future, apps that Apple thinks will be low quality. That is a bad deal. On the other hand, if Adobe proved the apps were high quality by deploying them on competitor’s platform, and was offering a library of existing high quality apps that neutralized another competitor’s advantage, then there is enough value that Apple probably could be influenced…

Every day Adobe does not have a widely deployed mobile Flash, is a day they are not having Flash based mobile apps developed, and is a day the odds of mobile Flash being successful goes down a little bit…. The fact is that there have yet to be any widely deployed Android phones that support Flash. That’s right, Adobe has been making the case for Flash on iPhone for 3 years, but still hasn’t deployed a non-lite version of Flash on any phones, even when Apple is not obstructing them.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Chanson de Roland Says:

    Two problems with this suggestion. First, because Flash is designed to run cross platform, it must be built for the set of API that are common to all platforms rather than exploit what is unique and great in any of them. That means Flash and AIR, as they exist, are least common denominator (LCD) tools that aren’t capable of making the greatest apps. And if you do make Flash so that it fully exploits the features of Android, then it probably won’t work on the iPhone OS and vice versa.

    The second problem is that Apple can easily counter this by making great apps, perhaps the same apps that dazzle on Android, using HTML5, CSS, Javascript, and H.264, as, for example, the ads that Apple demoed a few weeks ago, when it introduced iAds. Moreover, I suspect that Apple is busy developing mature tools based on the foregoing standards that can at least match, if not exceed, Flash’s capabilities.

  2. CapnVan Says:

    Orlando – I don’t think you’re at all wrong.

    I think the point is that endless carping on the part of Adobe and their evangelists isn’t going to change anything. If they’re serious, let them ship *something*.

  3. Chanson de Roland Says:

    I agree that Adobe’s best bet is make great versions of Flash and AIR for the Mac and Apple’s mobile products, but Apple has had to take too much crap from Adobe on the last decade or so, as it hindered development for the Mac, for Apple to ever allow itself to become dependent on Adobe in the markets for mobile devices. There may be a place for Adobe, but dominance is out of the question, if Apple has anything to say about it.

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