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Adobe Flash 11 and its future


In a few weeks Adobe will be releasing both the Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe Air to the market. Adobe has been advertising the new products as being significantly more powerful than previous versions, even going so far as describing it as a game console for the web. Adobe claims that the increase in graphics is almost 1,000 times faster than the previous version of Flash Player and Adobe Air.

But Adobe, as any tech savvy person knows, is also caught in a fight for its survival. Even though Flash Player and Adobe Air are quite commonly installed in PCs, Apple has removed Flash from the iOS platform and also on Macs. And another sign that does not bode well for Adobe is the recent announcement by Microsoft that the new version of Internet Explorer that will be included with the forthcoming Windows 8 Metro environment will not be supporting browser plugins – the entry point for Flash in a browser.

With slowly shrinking support and the threat being posed by HTML 5, will Adobe’s Flash still have a future especially in a post-PC age?
If Adobe will be asked, the company thinks that Flash still has a bright future for it. It has already called Flash Player 11 and also Air 3 the “next generation for the web”. This is quite a lofty claim.

But Adobe does have a few facts to back up its claims. For example, the company said that almost two-thirds of all web-based games right now all use Flash. Anyone who has been addicted to Farmville, Sims Social or any of those graphics-based games on Facebook use Flash as the backbone of these applications. The sheer number of people playing on the web can easily outnumber the people who bought the Nintendo Wii, currently the most popular console. Developers also currently like developing using Flash content because Flash is “universal” in its deployment. A Flash-created project will look and almost act the same on any browser regardless of the platform used. For all of the hoopla surrounding HTML5 it still cannot make the same claim as Flash. And for any business, this kind of universality is always a game changer because it will cost less money to develop a project that can be deployed to every platform.

But the reality is still staring Adobe right on the face. Flash is ever so slowly losing its traction on the web. More and more developers are looking towards the other platforms because Flash is disappearing from web browsers. It’s an inevitable progression – as browsers move away from Flash, developers will lean more towards other platforms and users won’t really care if they’re using a Flash-enabled content or not just as long as it works. Even Adobe Air is not a viable platform in the long-term. The bottomline is simple – even with Adobe presenting a powerful platform with Flash 11, the dwindling interest in Flash has reached a point where Adobe can’t do anything more about it. The train has left and Adobe has been left behind.

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