My 2nd prediction for 2010 (the first one being ‘offline is the new online‘): the glory days of Flash are over. The reason for this is twofold; the mobile web and the strong advances “open web” technology is making.
Open web moving in, fast
For starters; video (and audio) on the web doesn’t have to be based on a plugin any more. Firefox, Safari and Chrome have built-in html5 audio- and video-playback capabilities and several video-sites are already experimenting with those native browser multimedia-features. True, there’s still that darn codec-problem, but I bet you that’ll get solved in 2010 (clue; Google is negotiating the acquisition of video codec specialists On2 Technologies).
On the animation-front things are moving at such a fast pace, I even need a bulleted list;
- Safari has great CSS animations, transforms and transitions (and Mobile Safari has even such goodies), many of which are in the process of being added to the CSS3-specs, with support for CSS transitions and transforms being made available in development builds of Firefox 3.7 and Opera 10.5.
- Both Firefox 3.7 (on Windows) and Internet Explorer 9 are expected to ship with Direct2D-- and DirectWrite-based hardware-accelerated web page rendering (with a huge performance boost for e.g. SVG and web fonts, with canvas expected to benefit as well).
Mobile; the Flash-less revolution
There’s no Flash on the iPhone. It wasn’t there at launch, back in 2007 and --despite me thinking it would arrive in 2009-- it’s still not there. This decision is said to be Steve Jobs’, who in 2008 stated that a full-fledged version of Flash “performs too slow to be useful“. And it seems as though the turtlenecked CEO was right all along; on one hand the mobile web boomed thanks to the iPhone browser and on the other hand Adobe is still struggling to provide a decent mobile Flash experience, despite huge efforts in 2009. The fact is there’s no Flash on the booming mobile web, no-one seems to miss it much and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.
Adobe’s answer; mobile banners & deploy to Appstore
So with a Flash-less mobile web and with strong browser-native competition for both multimedia and graphics on the “normal” web, how does Adobe see it’s future? Well, they plan to roll out “iPhone packager for Flash” in CS5, allowing any Flash developer to publish to the AppStore, but there’s still no news about in-browser Flash on the iPhone.
For non-Apple devices, Adobe is boasting a preview version of Flash 10.1 in a mobile browser (the Android 2.0 browser on Google Nexus One in this case) with this promo video;
I don’t know about you, but somehow a sub-par game, web video and banners don’t convince that Flash has a bright future ahead. Not on mobile and maybe even not on the open web as it’s shaping up to be.
But maybe you think Flash will remain in the spotlights despite all of this? Why? Let us know in the comments!