RIM stands by Flash mobile as it pursues HTML5

Microsoft drops Flash from Windows Phone Mango, which may have influenced Adobe

Research in Motion will continue to use Adobe Flash Player, at least for the BlackBerry Playbook tablet, even after Adobe announced it will discontinue Flash for the mobile Web.

RIM also said in a blog post that it will push ahead with both Flash and HTML5, a Flash alternative, for the PlayBook, just as it did when the PlayBook launched earlier this year.

Google , which launched open-source Android mobile operating system, hasn't commented on the Adobe decision to ditch the Flash Player in future mobile browsers in order to focus on HTML5.

However, many Android developers and partners with Android phone makers have raised concerns with Adobe's decision, some saying they want to continue using Flash and want details on the progression from Flash Player to HTML5.

Microsoft decided not to include Flash in its Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" devices, after saying earlier in the year it planned to work with Adobe to see if Flash software would work with Windows Phone mobile OS.

IDC analyst Al Hilwa said Microsoft's decision not to support Flash in Windows Phone 7.5 or Windows 8 Metro "has to have weighed in" Adobe's decision on Flash. "Deciding how much [Adobe should] invest in Flash is no doubt related to the overall investments that other key vendors are making in HTML5 ...The support for HTML5 is overwhelming from browser makers and platform owners."

IDC predicts that 90% of smartphones and tablets with have HTML5-ready browsers by 2013. On the other hand, IDC said it will take until 2015 for 90% of desktop browsers to support HTML5, which is one reason Adobe has stuck with investing in Flash for desktop browsers .

Apple and CEO Steve Jobs never supported Flash on its various iOS devices because of performance problems when running Flash video that resulted in battery drain.

RIM's blog, penned by Dan Dodge, the CEO of the QNX division at RIM, gave plenty of credence to HTML5, calling it a "powerful, open standards-based development platform."

Dodge didn't say how long RIM plans to work with Flash, however. "As an Adobe source code licensee, we will continue to work on and release our own implementations [with Flash] and are looking forward to including Flash 11.1 for the BlackBerry PlayBook," he wrote.

Notably, Adobe had said it will release Flash Player 11.1 for Android and for the BlackBerry PlayBook, then discontinue development of Flash Player for browsers in new mobile devices.

RIM was "pleased" by Adobe's plan to continue development of Flash-based apps delivered via Adobe Air and through RIM's BlackBerry App World, Dodge added.

RIM's Alec Saunders, vice president of developer relations, added to Dodge's support in a separate blog , saying: "What I would like the developer community to know is that RIM will continue to support developers who have built Adobe Flash-based apps on our platform."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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