> How Flash Could Kill The iPhone….

How Flash Could Kill The iPhone….

Posted on Saturday, February 20, 2010 | No Comments

Every now and again I like to consider the possibilities of certain moves within the Tech Industry and how things could so very quickly change.

Over the past few months I’ve been reading articles closely on the rift that is developing between Apple and Google, the two partners who worked together very closely in the success of the iPhone. Since that time, relations appear to have gone south, Google CEO Erik Schmit was forced to leave the Apple Board due to FCC Investigations into the blocking of Google Voice running on the Apple iPhone.

Google of course then created the “Open Handset Alliance”, which spearheaded the open source community and the development of Android, Google’s own mobile phone operating system platform to rival Apple’s dominance – a move that seemed very logical and thought out, especially as many of the core applications on the iPhone were powered by Google owned services; maps, YouTube, search.

It seems the rift between the two companies has now turned up to notch, after Job’s threw down the gauntlet that Google were “insignificant” in the mobile market place and Apple still lead the way with their ‘X’ millions of applications. Job’s has also been talking down the insignificants of Adobe Flash too and that’s why it has yet to be integrated into either the iPhone or more recently the iPad tablet. Complaints about “battery life killer”, “difficult to work with” and “incompatibilities” all directed as the reasons why Adobe Flash will never make it to an Apple branded device.

Apple of course are betting on better and direct H.264 video codec integration in HTML5 as the cure to all of these Flash problems, but this could be a mistake especially as Flash is a proven technology and H.264 is still a closed and buggy codec that would cause just as many problems.

But back to Google for a moment, last week they bought a company called “reMail” and speculation grew that the reason for doing so was that where on the verge of releasing an iPhone application that allowed users to search through their email directly from their phone. A tactical purchase if you will and potential evidence that Google are now playing to win within the mobile market.

Right now the key to popularity on the mobile market is ‘applications’ and Apple lead the way because they were first to develop an App Store and encourage developers to code for them. Since that time things have changed a little bit, Apple has managed to upset the developers with their approval process and stringent rules to limit functionality.

Meanwhile Google has embraced the development community with their open sourced code and the mobile phone manufacturers who are onboard with the “Open Handset Alliance” are keen to strike back against Apple also after being made fools of in their own back garden. If Google were smart (and they are), it would be entirely feasible for them to consider bringing Flash to the Android platform.

Bringing Flash to the platform allows Google to work with their other partners to start allowing developers to write applications that work not only on Android phones, but any other manufacturer that also runs Flash. Its a code-once (based on Flash), and transfer to any platform solution that would allow multiple manufacturers to be equalised on the app store market, allowing them also to focus purely on the ‘core features’ of their phone’s hardware and ‘core applications’ – something Google already does very well remember!

In my mind, its a smart play and something that would not necessarily benefit Google directly, but would place Google at the centre of the mobile and application network, elevating Flash in the process which Google are already happily using on their YouTube video network.

Another article that caught my eye in the Google vs Apple battle was the potential for Microsoft to position Bing as the default search and mapping tool directly on the iPhone replacing Google. Not only would Microsoft position itself right on their rivals handsets (something they would never be able to do on the Android platform), but it would also compete directly with Google’s services that are already embedded on the iPhone.

If Microsoft were able to pull this off and gain primetime on the Apple iPhone and iPad, it would be a massive blow to Google who have enjoyed dominance of mobile search and mobile mapping for so long, effectively meaning Google would need to fight back some how – a bold move such as integrating Flash and bringing manufacturers together could be that answer.

The only drawback to my Google/Flash love-in however is that Google are also keen supporters of the HTML5 movement and would like a video codec standard built directly into the browser too to prevent third party add-ons.

Microsoft on the opposite hand are keen to push their own Flash alternative – Silverlight – which many of their mapping tools and applications are built on top of. Would Apple be keen to install Silverlight onto their devices too? Would other handset manufacturers?

Many thought the mobile phone market place was already won by Apple and the popular iPhone. In my opinion the mobile phone market space is only just starting to gain some traction and there is a long way to go yet……

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