Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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6/14/2010
05:18 PM
Jim Rapoza
Jim Rapoza
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Adobe Can Win The 250 Million Flash Bet

So Adobe says that Flash will be running on 250 million smart phones in two years? Given the amount of help Adobe will likely get from smartphone makers, it could easily happen.

So Adobe says that Flash will be running on 250 million smart phones in two years? Given the amount of help Adobe will likely get from smartphone makers, it could easily happen.Why would smartphone makers want to help Adobe get Flash on their devices? Well, there are many reasons but the biggest has to be the Apple iPhone.

Steve Jobs has come out again and again against allowing Flash on the iPhone or the iPad. Depending on where you stand his reasons are either legitimate (Flash is a buggy, unstable application platform) or bogus (Apple just wants to maintain an iron grip on the applications they allow on their devices and Flash threatens that) but either way we are unlikely to see Flash on an Apple device any time soon (or ever for that matter).

But Flash powers many of the coolest and most popular sites and services on the web today, from addicting micro-games to the movies on Hulu.com. And more than a few iPhone and iPad users I know get frustrated when they run across content on the Web that they can't access.

Which makes Flash an attractive option for iPhone and iPad competitors. You know makers of Android and Blackberry and other phones that support Flash will be happily showing off the many Flash applications that can run on their devices and making the point that these applications won't work on an iPhone or iPad. Flash could become a powerful comparative option for these vendors and the carriers that sell their phones.

Of course some say that Flash doesn't matter that much anymore because HTML 5 will provide an open way to deliver the same capabilities. However, HTML 5 is still years away from being a full standard. And while it has many cool capabilities, it won't do everything that Flash can and will do.

The biggest problem that Adobe faces is the quality of the Flash platform that they put out there. If Flash on smartphones does prove to be buggy and unstable, they will basically be proving Apple right and will lessen the attractiveness of Flash as an option on competing smartphone systems.

But if Flash is stable and works well on most smartphones, then yeah, I think we could see 250 million smartphones running Flash.

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