Mobile War

So as I’ve been watching the progress of the iPhone, iPad, and all the new Android phones that are coming out, I feel somewhat obligated to share my opinion on the “mobile war” that has quickly grown from a skirmish to a full-blown battle. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been watching this area of the tech market because I am a loyal Verizon customer, and I have been waiting for the iPhone to come out with a CDMA model for the Verizon network. That being said, several things have caught my attention and have not only piqued my interest about Google’s new Nexus One handset, but they have turned me into a full-on boycott-er of all Apple’s mobile devices, despite having been an avid Mac user for years.

The most glaring of these is Apple’s refusal to consider supporting Flash, and their expressed opinion that HTML5 will actually “take over” the online space and squeeze Flash and Flex out of the market. Meanwhile, Google is taking a completely opposite route, working hand-in-hand with Adobe to optimize the Flash Player for use on mobile devices, a process which has led to a Flash capable web browser in Android 2.1.

I have two things to say about the above statement:

  1. The only reason Apple is refusing to support Flash is because Flash is capable of serving up “Apps” through a web browser context, effectively bypassing the App Store, therefore Apple loses their 30% take on both App sales and In-App purchases.
  2. There is absolutely no way that HTML5 will “do away with” Flash. Yes, it can do some great things with video, and the h.264 codec is natively supported in HTML5, however, people forget that Flash is not only used to create video players and banner ads. Companies build entire sites and RIAs in Flash and Flex…sites that have the capability to do things that HTML5 (despite the fact that it is a vast improvement over the current HTML markup, and does have some really cool capabilities) will not be able to do. Suffice to say that if you want to give your user base a smooth and seamless experience while navigating your site, Flash and Flex will still be the way to do it. Add to that Asual’s new version of SWFAddress for deep-linking and their new method of integrating this with Apache mod_rewrite and PHP (see my post from yesterday), and you now have S.E.O. for Flash as well.

So on the one hand, we have the over-confident Apple, who is saying “people will buy our phones anyway, whether we support Flash or not” and on the other hand we have Google (who, by the way has every reason to be over-confident as well) who are basically showing us all that if the option is out there, they are willing to work to give us that option. And that, my friends, is what the internet is all about: the availability of information, mis-information, good technology, bad technology…and I could go on. In other words, while the iPhone is a super cool phone, and the iPad is a really good idea for a product (and I say “idea” because I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints in the last few days about it’s performance), I have to say that I will be staying away from both until Apple decides to open their eyes and allow for the free flow of information (Flash and otherwise) via a web browser.

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