With mobile Flash on the outs, iPad competitors lose key “selling point”

Thu, Nov 10, 2011


Now that Adobe has officially ended their support for its Flash player across mobile devices, iPhone and iPad competitors have one less selling point at their disposal.

To be fair, it’s not as if Flash support prompted millions of users to purchase non-iOS devices in the first place, but that didn’t stop competitors with second rate devices from disparaging the iPhone and iPad on account of their lack of Flash support.

With Flash on mobile now on the road towards antiquity, tablet makers in particular will struggle mightily to distinguish their device from Apple’s iPad. Compounding matters is that the iPad already has a 90+% marketshare in the tablet space. In other words, an uphill battle for iPad competitors just got a whole lot steeper.

Ina Fried of All Things D observes:

On the phone side, Android makers can brag about the ability to run on faster networks, larger screen sizes, keyboards and all manner of other differences from Apple’s lone iPhone model.

With tablets, though, Flash compatibility (poor performance notwithstanding) had been a key selling point for those looking to take on the iPad. It was a major component in ads from Toshiba, Research In Motion, Motorola and others looking to grab a piece of the tablet market.

Flash support isn’t immediately going away for devices that already have it, but it clearly has lost its luster as a selling point.

So where does that leave devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom? Well, it’s not as if they were flying off the shelves to begin with so perhaps the demise of mobile Flash will have a negligible impact on their already sputtering sales.

RIM, meanwhile… Well, you gotta feel bad for RIM. The once proud company used to own the smartphone market. Today, they’re on the cusp of becoming a full-fledged ‘has been’, having been leapfrogged by Apple and Google in just a few years. Their smartphone sales are tanking and their RIM Playbook hasn’t done much of anything in the tablet market.

Curiously though, RIM announced yesterday that they’ve licensed Adobe’s source code and that they will continue supporting Flash on their Playbook.

“As an Adobe source code licensee, we will continue to work on and release our own implementations. RIM remains committed to delivering an uncompromised Web browsing experience to our customers, including native support for Adobe Flash Player on our BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (similar to a desktop PC browser), as well as HTML5 support on both our BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook browsers,” RIM explained in a statement to AllThingsD.

To be honest, you have to feel bad for RIM. Desperately holding on to Flash in the hopes that the technology Adobe eventually realized was a no-go will somehow, magically, restore them to prominence.



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