Wired and mobile webs take a step closer

By October 5, 2009 6 Comments

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According to paidContent Adobe will today announce that full Flash will shortly be available on just about every phone except the iPhone.

The underlying story here is that phones are now running more powerful processors and can now cope with full Flash, instead of the Flash Lite we have mostly been running to date.  The result is that more websites and apps will work well on mobile without having to be re-purposed.

Here is some detail from the paidContent announcement:

The new Adobe Flash Player 10.1 software will be one piece of software that work across PCs, smartphones, netbooks and other devices, which is the vision of the company’s Open Screen Project. As part of the announcements, RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) and Google has joined the initiative. Adrian Ludwig, Adobe’s group product marketing manager for the Flash Platform, told mocoNews: “This is bringing the full Flash capabilities to these devices, it hasn’t been available before.”Ludwig said: “There will be a lot of content that just works on the devices, and then some will have to be tailored. Fundamentally, right now if you are a web developer, or a mobile developer no one goes back and forth between the two. Now, if you have a great mobile idea, go ahead and build it and put it on a mobile device.”

This brings us a step closer to having one web where we run the same apps across the desktop and mobile platforms.  This is a clue to how I see the future panning out in general – i.e. I’m not sure there will be many pure play mobile apps (gaming aside).

If I’m right here app discovery on mobile will become more tightly coupled with wired web discovery, lessening the importance of app stores.

The fact that Flash runs in the browser has the same implication – i.e. it will make mobile more like the wired web oriented where discovery of apps and services comes from traditional search rather than app store environments.

I’m going to finish with a thought on what this means for the iPhone.  As we all know the iPhone is dominating the mobile app and mobile web worlds to an extent that parallels Google’s dominance of search (although the iPhone’s position is by far the more vulnerable of the two), and this announcement doesn’t change that.  What it does do is provide hope for those who would challenge Apple’s position in this market in two ways.  Firstly, as noted above, it threatens the native app and app store paradigms, and secondly until Flash is available on the iPhone it will make other platforms relatively more attractive to developers.