The future for flash — no more drama

Ever since Apple Inc. announced that the iPad would use HTML 5 instead of Adobe Flash, Adobe Systems Inc. has been circumventing unnecessary drama. Now, with the release of the mobile advertising platform iAd, Adobe is ready to strike back—shutting down “death of Flash” rumors and releasing new technology for marketing firms and media agencies.

Adobe is now a part of something called the Open Screen Project, where 19 of the 20 top handset manufacturers have united to make the Flash Player universally available across mobile devices, mobile browsers and other portable hardware such as netbooks. Guess which 20th company is missing out? Apple.

Mike Potter, senior developer marketing manager for Adobe, told me that the project has developed as a response to Apple’s decision to shut them out.  The release of Adobe Professional CS5 on April 20 will not only update desktop versions of the software, but will allow customers, many of them marketing firms and media development agencies, to publish iPhone or iPad applications to be sold through Apple’s app store.

Potter explained, too, that a lot of the tech talk about consumers having to choose either Flash or HTML 5 is not really the case.

“A lot of what’s been written has been Flash Player or HTML 5, and it’s going to be sort of a one-or-the-other type of decision,” he said. “Really, the reality is that we’ve seen Flash and HTML work closely in the Web ever since Flash was invented and some of the best Web sites out there use Flash and HTML together on the same page.”

Nevertheless, Adobe has been using its private pre-release program to test the newest version of its media player, Flash Player 10.1, among select media developers and other agencies. The player, to be released in the first half of 2010, is the result of a teaming up of at least 70 industry partners and will run on mobile devices from these partner companies.

Dan LaCivita, president of Firstborn, a digital agency of 55 people headquartered in New York, is a part of this pre-release program. LaCivita also sees the dramatic tug-of-war talk about Flash versus HTML 5, Adobe versus Apple, as overly complicated.

“It’s one of those things where I feel like because the iPad right now doesn’t support Flash, does that mean Flash is going to die? Of course not. It’s like saying that no one is ever going to build a stone house or a brick house or a wood house. You know what I mean? They’re different materials, different tools for different jobs,” he explained.

LaCivita’s development team is broken down into different segments. He told me that he has a Java guy to work on projects for Google Inc.’s Android operating system, and in the same way, has specific people to work on iPhone and iPad projects.

So, if Flash were to die (not that that is likely), wouldn’t some other technology simply take its place? This would be as revolutionary as my buying a digital camera and then the next month, another version of that camera being released that makes my shiny new toy suddenly dated.

The world of technology is constantly evolving, constantly one-upping itself. In that spirit, this “fight” over HTML and Flash will be over soon enough.

As LaCivita says: “You just learn to adapt to the tools that you have at your disposal and kind of go from there.”

It’s that simple.

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