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Cybernaut

Steve Jobs's final victory

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The work that Apple founder Steve Jobs has done over the years will live long after him. The iPhone 5, due sometime this year, has been hailed as his best work to date, and the company's path for the next several years has been set for the iMac, iPhone, MacBook, etc.

But what might go down in history as Steve Jobs's biggest win is his posthumous defeat of Adobe Flash, an Internet platform that Jobs hated despite the fact that it is widely used for Internet video, interactive forms, online gaming, etc.

Last week, Adobe announced that it is no longer developing a Flash plug-in for mobile devices and would instead focus on HTML 5 and other open source technologies for delivering rich content. That came after an announcement by Microsoft that they wouldn't be including Flash in Internet Explorer 10.

While Flash will still be available for computers, it's mobile computing that is driving the market these days and Apple currently owns the mobile market. Because web developers don't want to create two websites or applications for both mobile and home computing, it's safe to say that eventually Flash will disappear completely - despite the fact that it's hugely popular.

According to Forbes (www.forbes.com), 98 per cent of enterprises rely on Flash Player, 85 per cent of the most used sites use Flash, 75 per cent of web video is Flash and 70 per cent of web games are made in Flash. And yet, somehow, Jobs won.

While Jobs was accused of being narrow and vindictive - and I've made the same accusations after trying to use my wife's iPhone to browse the web - he had perfectly good reasons to stand up in the face of overwhelming public acceptance of Flash.

His reasons? For one, he saw Flash as a closed system that requires you to own Adobe's software to create Flash applications, and that you have to download a separate plug-in to use it. Comparatively, HTML, CSS, Javascript and the H.264 video format are open standards that are available to everyone, and used together he believed they could be every bit as powerful as Flash. (Although the design process is nowhere near as advanced or user-friendly as it is with Adobe's Flash development software).

Jobs also had issues with Flash security, how unwieldy it was for mobile, the way it taxed batteries and processors, its stability and so on. In a letter explaining why there was no Flash on the iPhone or iPad, Jobs also took a shot at how long it was taking Adobe to develop a streamlined mobile application.

"Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we're glad we didn't hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?"

Jobs was wrong about one thing, Flash for mobile will never ship.

The company will, however, continue to update the Flash Light version that's already around and available on devices like RIM Blackberry and Blackberry Playbook, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Dell Streak, the HTC Desire, and others. Since technologies are only good for a few years and it will take at least three years for Flash to disappear, you can get a list of Flash-compliant devices at www.adobe.com/flashplatform/certified_devices.

While the latest announcement hit Adobe's stock pretty hard, the company can create the software that helps people to develop in HTML and Canvas, Javascript, CSS and other open standards - something they're probably already working on.

CRTC decision in focus

Over the last few weeks the Canadian Radio-Television and Communications Commission has been hearing from both sides of the battle between Canada's big telecoms and secondary carriers that want to be exempt from company policies regarding usage based billing (UBB), throttling, etc. The decision will have a huge impact on what the Internet will look like in Canada over the next few years - and whether it's finally going to be an option to cut cable and get all media over the web.

The phones of 2012?

In the tech world it's a risky thing trying to predict what's going to happen in the next three months, let alone a year into the future.

Nonetheless, PC World (www.pcworld.com) put together a prediction of what smart phones will look like by the end of 2012. If you're in the market for a phone - and if PC World is correct - it might be a good idea to wait. Some of the features on new phones will include quad core processors, standard 720p resolution screens, credit card transactions through your phone and voice control. One thing that everyone wants, better and longer lasting batteries, will not be available just yet although we're likely a few years away from a huge breakthrough in that department.

 

 

 

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