8bitrocket.com
16Feb/110

Flash Is So 2011, HTML5 Is So 2014

Here's a secret: Flash is far from dead, in fact it's being adopted at a higher-rate than ever on multiple mobile platforms.  In recent ZDnet article Christopher Dawson wrote:

"And it isn’t just Android. Windows Phone 7, RIM’s BlackBerry OS, and HP’s WebOS all currently or will shortly support Flash on their mobile phones, ensuring that everything from YouTube to the latest hardware-accelerated web-based games are supported on every major mobile platform. Except, of course, iOS."

So it appears, far from killing Flash by excluding it from iOS devices, Apple has instead, given their mobile competition a solid point of differentiation.

At the same time, HTML5, the technology Apple is banking on to replace Flash,  is still not finished. In fact, the target for a finished HTML5 is 2014.  In recent Web Monkey article on Wired.com  Scott Gilberton wrote:

"The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has extended the charter of the HTML Working Group (HTMLWG) — the group charged with creating HTML5 — and announced that HTML5 will move to last call status later this year. After a couple of years of rigorous testing, the spec should be finalized by the second quarter of 2014."

Wow.  While you can start using HTML5 now (we in fact, have a book on the HTML5 Canvas coming out this year ), the target finish date of the second quarter of  2014 is still three years away.  A lot can happen in three years.  In fact, here some facts about what the tech world was like just three years ago in 2008:

  • Flash CS3 was released was the current version of Flash, and the world was just getting used-to ActionScript 3.
  • People were excited about the prospect of the Silverlight 2 beta and there was talk of Silverlight being a Flash killer.
  • Sun's JavaFX was poised to be the next big thing, and there was talk of it being a Flash killer.
  • The iPhone was not yet a year old
  • Facebook would not turn cash-positive for another 18 months.
  • The Wii was still sold out in most stores.
  • Netflix On Demand had just gone unlimited.
  • 3D TV was still 2D TV

So what will happen by 2014?   Can HTML5 survive a 3 year beta-test and adoption period while other technologies continue to move forward?  Might it have been a bad idea to put a date on the finalization of HTML5?  Up until now, most people have thought that HTML5 was just around the corner.  Now they can see that it is still a long way away.

Some people might see this as simply a three-year lease on life for Flash,  but that may only be true if Flash stays in a static mode the entire time, which Adobe certainly will not let happen.   In fact, three years is a long time,  long enough for Flash to invade game consoles, 3D TV, set-top boxes, and, gasp, maybe even iOS devices.   In fact at the rate Flash and browser-less App Stores are evolving and growing, it just might be HTML5 that has something to worry about.

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