Ever since we first seen the iPhone, one of the big features promoted by Apple is the the browsing experience. It is easily the best of any mobile device, with one huge exception – No Flash!
Adobe’s Flash Player has become so prolific in our web browsing experience on the desktop, that it’s simply required, not an optional plug-in. As the functionality has advanced from version to version, the uses for flash have matured substantially. Not only displaying simply text, images or animations, but now complex dynamic content, video and in the latest release HD video.
Mobile devices however have much less computing power than desktops, so delivering this experience on mobile devices is difficult as the memmory, cpu, and even gpu resources can easily exceed those of a mobile device.
Cue Flash Lite, a stripped down version of the flash player, offering some, but not all the functionality of the desktop version.
So of the 2 versions, the iPhone’s web experience is much like being in front of a desktop, rather than the typical terrible mobile experience which is barely more than text links on the screen. So the natural choice would be to throw the fully fledged desktop version of the Flash Player on the iPhone.
However you can’t escape the hardware restrictions, if your thinking Flash Lite may be the solution, Apple disagrees. We’re approaching a year since the iPhone’s launch and still Apple hasn’t come up with a solution for this problem.
Reports over the past couple of days have explained Adobe’s ambition to use the SDK to deliver flash without directly partnering with Adobe to develop it. Since then follow up stories highlight Adobe have since realised that path is not possible, that if Flash is to make it to the iPhone, they’ll need to get deeper access to the device that the SDK permits.
I suspect what will happen is Adobe will work with Apple to produce a 3rd version of the Flash Player – the Flash iPhone Player. This would land in the middle of the desktop version and mobile version of the Flash Player.
Without Flash on the iPhone, the browsing experience is actually really broken, with so many sites using Flash, it leaves iPhone users missing out on significant content. Please fix this Apple and Adobe, fix it fast.
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