The tide looks like it may be turning on Flash. With Apple’s continued resistance to adding support for the Adobe system to their smartphone, PMP and upcoming tablet line-up, website developers seem to be scaling back their use of the technology so as to maintain accessibility across as many devices as possible. Virgin America are the latest big-name company to bypass Flash and choose basic HTML for their new site, telling The Register that the older standard was “good enough” for their requirements.
Virgin American then plan to move to HTML5 once the standard has been ratified, expected to happen in 2011. They still use Flash in their airport check-in machines, though that’s because they can control the hardware environment:
“Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled…If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn’t [controlled] then Flash is questionable” Ravi Simhambhatla, CTO, Virgin America
That looks to be the most important point: the ability to control the user experience. Interestingly, we’ve recently updated our own video system, SlashGear.TV, to a more iPhone/iPad/smartphone friendly format. While you can still use Flash on a full desktop platform, there’s also a mobile version of the video which uses the smartphone-compatible MP4 format; that way not only Apple’s devices but other cellphones can view the content. With what devices users are accessing mobile and regular sites on out of their hands, web developers are having to choose the most likely winner in the ongoing Flash battle.