One of the most commonly used content types on the internet is Flash. Flash allows for cross browser/platform compatibility on video and other forms of content like games. Flash isn’t without its issues though with many users complaining about some of its weaknesses and looking forward to an alternative.
Flash is often called a resource hog, especially when working with HD video. Mac users complain that Flash lacks proper support for OS X and some of the most popular Apple products like the iPhone, iPod touch, and the new iPad lack support for Flash.
Some are looking to HTML5 as the technology that will finally eliminate the need for Flash thanks to native video support in HTML5. YouTube, the largest video site on the Internet, already has an experimental HTML5 video player available for users.
The catch with HTML5 right now is that most browsers still don’t support it. Adobe, the company behind Flash, claims that it doesn’t see HTML5 replacing Flash or vice versa. Adobe says that it supports HTML5 and its evolution and is looking forward to building Flash and other software around HTML5 as it evolves.
Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch wrote in a blog post, “Longer term, some point to HTML as eventually supplanting the need for Flash, particularly with the more recent developments coming in HTML with version 5.”
Adobe reports that HTML5 has some serious issues that still need to be addressed, with the major issue being that a common format for HTML video implementations has not yet been agreed on. The next generation of Adobe Flash is nearing completion and the company reports that Flash 10.1 will be offered on all major smartphones, except one. That sole hold out continues to be Apple with its massively popular iPhone.
Lynch goes on to hint that if HTML5 could replace Flash, it might be a good thing for Adobe. He wrote, “If HTML could reliably do everything Flash does that would certainly save us a lot of effort, but that does not appear to be coming to pass.”
Adobe has long maintained that it is ready to implement Flash on Apple products and is reiterating that it simply has not received the cooperation from Apple that it needs to bring Flash to devices like the iPhone. Lynch wrote, “We are ready to enable Flash in the browser on these [Apple] devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.”
After the launch of the iPad, Adobe’s Adrian Ludwig was a bit more critical of Apple decision to not embrace Flash on its popular handheld products. It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers. Unlike many other ebook readers using the ePub file format, consumers will not be able to access ePub content with Apple’s DRM technology on devices made by other manufacturers,” Ludwig explained. “If I want to use the iPad to connect to Disney, Hulu, Miniclip, Farmville, ESPN, Kongregate, or JibJab — not to mention the millions of other sites on the web — I’ll be out of luck.”
Today Flash is still wildly popular and is installed on over 98% of computers online. Adobe also reports that 85% of the top websites use Flash to deliver content including BBC, Hulu, and more.