iPhone Left Out of the Flash Party: Big Deal

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Today’s big announcement is that Flash is getting an update to 10.1 that will bring support for full Flash functionality to a lot of mobile phones — except, of course, for the iPhone, which remains staunchly Flash-independent.

Google Android, Symbian, and now BlackBerry are all signed on with Flash to work together on the Open Screen Project, which is designed to bring the full-fledged Flash experience to all platforms, including HD video and Adobe Air applications. Apple looks to be missing the boat, but just what kind of seafaring vessel is it really passing up here?

Granted, Flash 10.1 promises to deliver big improvements in the way devices handle YouTube, which is a real, tangible benefit that everyone can appreciate. But what about the rest of it? Adobe Air apps on all platforms? I don’t like Air on the desktop, and I already avoid it at all costs (which basically means I don’t have to use it as long as I don’t have to use Windows). And aside from Air, what has Flash really done for me lately?

There are two instances where I notice the lack of Flash on my iPhone while browsing. The first is when visiting some band and many big-budget movie and game sites. The second is when I run into some instances of online advertising (really, both are promotional tools and could probably fall under the “advertising” blanket category).

With movie/gaming sites, I sometimes make a note to check it out at home if I really care, or I just shrug my shoulders and check out something else. I don’t spend the next 10 minutes swearing softly to myself and cursing Apple for keeping me from my pre-packaged corporate promotional material. Nor do I feel as though I’m now somehow worse off than my friends with Flash Lite-enabled devices.

Add to this the fact that CSS animation and other dynamic HTML effects are making exciting strides, and that these will likely be included in future W3 specifications and eventually bypass the need for things like Flash altogether, and my level of envy would dip even further, were that actually possible.

So am I terribly upset that Apple won’t be taking part in the wonderful new world of Flash 10.1, which should ensure that shooting the duck to win a prize in an annoying animated banner ad will be the same edifying experience on my desktop and on my mobile device? In a word, no. In many words, I’m glad that Apple continues to adhere to its policy of staying away from a tech that may be widespread, but in point of fact offers very little value.

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