So sure of himself, Steve Jobs always knew this day would come. Adobe has announced that it’s to stop development on Flash Player for phones, deciding instead to change its focus and work more on HTML5 video and wider app development for all platforms, including iOS.
Bloated, awkward and never a joy to use, Flash on smartphones was always going to go the way of the dodo as soon as Jobs revealed that the iPhone would not be using the tech and then spent the rest of his days doing it down at every opportunity.
When the iPhone was unveiled sans Flash there was uproar among the tech community. But Jobs was really onto something.
He knew that Flash videos would be cripplingly slow on his handset, and so decided to ditch them altogether and hang the consequences.
BlackBerry and Google have since espoused the joys of Flash on their phones, but with little joy.
The original BlackBerry Storm was marketed on the back of its support for ‘the full web’ but was one of the most disappointing of an array of below par ‘iPhone killers’.
Apple and Jobs saw the writing on the wall for Flash years ago. In fact, the turtle-necked one predicted that Adobe would make the same move as today in his ‘Thoughts on Flash’ open letter, released in April 2010.
When he said that “new open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices,” he wasn’t just offering bluster. Adobe’s Flash was never going to succeed without Apple’s backing.
So, what did for it? Apart from its sluggish performance, there were the security niggles highlighted in Jobs’ letter, as well as its failure to materialise in decent form on devices until earlier this year.
As Jobs said: “We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.”
As soon as the iPhone came out and slated Flash, a proper mobile version should have been primed and ready to prove Jobs and Apple wrong.
Instead, the dilly-dallying simply proved Jobs’ point that it was not for purpose. You’ll struggle to find anyone who actually enjoys using Flash for mobile, because it’s such a pain to get to grips with.
Yes, Apple’s belligerence was annoying when it came to Flash. But it’s hard to argue against the fact that it’s right in this regard.
Android phones using it are poorer for the experience and BlackBerry’s insistence on its inclusion has hardly covered it in glory. The passing of Flash for phones will not be mourned by many.