Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category
[This is a repost of my guest article at Vision Mobile’s blog]
Ever since Adobe announced that it will stop developing Flash for mobile browsers, the blogosphere has been buzzing with a broad range of sentiments including “I told you so” by critics, disbelief by Flash developers, Monday morning quarterbacking by analysts, and even a petition for Adobe’s CEO to resign. Check out also the Occupy Flash and Occupy HTML manifestos from the opposing camps. Flash is one of those topics that attract very emotional responses from both its passionate developer community and its very vocal detractors. Although I am generally an Adobe supporter, I will put emotion aside and summarize, in hindsight, what went wrong. For full disclosure, I am a former Adobe employee, but this post is based only on publicly available information.
HTML5 did not kill Flash. Steve Jobs did not kill Flash. The death of Flash was caused by a time bomb planted inadvertently by Adobe many years ago.
Although Flash for mobile ultimately died because Adobe did not adapt fast enough to post iPhone changes in the ecosystem, the seeds for Adobe’s failure were planted earlier on. To understand what went wrong, let’s first review what happened before the iPhone and how those events set the stage for what happened later.
As the launch of Windows Phone 7 approaches the question in everyone’s mind is: is it too late for Microsoft to secure a leading position in mobile? We’re now at year 3 “Ai” (After the iPhone). In the last 3 years the landscape has changed dramatically:
- Apple launched 4 successful phones plus the iPad
- Google launched Android and quickly secured a market leading position
- RIM has lost some ground with two under achieving devices (Storm and Torch)
- Palm launched the failed Pre and ran out of cash
- Once almighty Symbian faded
- Nokia and Intel joined forces with Meego
- Samsung launched Bada….
all this… and Microsoft has yet to make its first move.
In a platform battle that is surely to consolidate, in the limit, to likely one big winner plus niche players, it’s not a pretty situation for Microsoft. But if you are in Redmond you can’t afford to lose in mobile. PC shipments are an increasingly small share of device shipments, with mobile devices enjoying all the growth. Losing in mobile would relegate the Windows platform from a virtual monopoly to a minority player in only a few years when looking at all connected devices.
The question is what cards does Redmond have to play (besides a ton of cash)?
[First a quick disclaimer: although I worked for Adobe in the past and I still have many friends there, I have no inside information on this topic. This post represents my personal opinion based on publicly available information.]
Given the launch of the Flash-less iPad and the leaks from Apple’s post launch employee meeting most industry insiders have finally concluded that Adobe Flash is not coming to iPhone OS devices. Over the last two-and-a-half years the conversation has shifted from
- When will the iPhone support Flash? to…
- Will the iPhone ever support Flash? to most recently…
- Why won’t Apple devices ever support Flash?
The question in most people’s mind now is why not? That is the question I want to address with this post.
While most of the debate in the blogosphere centers around technical reasons, the real reason is not technical at all. It is a calculated business decision made by Steve Jobs.
By now I’m sure you’ve seen Verizon’s aggressive “idon’t” campaign to compete against the iPhone with its new Motorola Droid. This is Verizon’s second attack on the iPhone after the first attempt with the Blackberry Storm failed miserably. Despite the Storm, AT&T continued to add new subs on the strength of the iPhone. Just last quarter AT&T added another 3.2 million new iPhones, 40% of whom were new customers to AT&T (a 2 year trend now).
Although Verizon desperately needs to counter the iPhone, I believe this latest attempt will hurt RIM much more than Apple. In other words, it will backfire cannibalizing more Verizon RIM devices than AT&T iphone devices. Here are two reasons why:
I want to write about merchandising apps in the mobile ecosystem, but first let me say that we need a new way to measure time in mobile. The launch of the iPhone changed the ecosystem so dramatically that any discussion of how the mobile ecosystem works must specify Ai or Bi (After or Before the iPhone), in a similar way that historians use BC and AD to date historical events.
As an example, how you merchandise a mobile application today is very different than at any time Bi. And this is what I want to post about.
At CTIA in San Diego I attended and spoke at the #wipjam event and I found the discussion on merchandising apps most interesting. It was led by Mitch Oliver from Qualcomm with many developers sharing their experiences, and I thought it would be good to share some of the learnings with developers looking to go mobile. Some of you not interested in the details may want to skip to the recommendations below.