November 10, 2011

RIM PlayBook to Support Flash and HTML5

Adobe's decision to kill off Flash for mobile devices isn't stopping Research in Motion (News - Alert) from embracing the multimedia platform. The Blackberry maker announced late Wednesday that it will continue to develop and release its own implementations of Flash for its slow-selling PlayBook tablet.

The announcement of the inclusion of Flash 11.1 in future iterations of the PlayBook came just hours after Adobe (News - Alert) confirmed that it will no longer invest in its Flash Player for mobile devices, instead focusing more on HTML5 development. Adobe will continue to develop Flash for advanced gaming and premium video on PCs, but acknowledged that it is HTML5 that is now universally supported on major mobile devices.

RIM's announcement doesn't mean that they are betting on a dying horse; the company's tablet will simply support both Flash and HTML5 in an attempt to give users the best of both worlds.

“The PlayBook browser does a great job of supporting both HTML5 and Flash, including industry leading HD video streaming," Danny Winokur, Adobe's head of Interactive Development, noted in a statement. "Adobe and RIM are focused on HTML5 innovation for mobile browsing and believe it is the best solution for developers to deliver rich web experiences on RIM’s BlackBerry (News - Alert) products and other mobile devices."

The general consensus is that RIM didn't really have a choice in the matter. In an attempt to take on Apple (News - Alert) in the tablet space, the company touted the PlayBook as a more secure iPad that actually supports Flash – something Apple's tablet doesn't do. If it were to dump Flash completely, RIM would have to go back on a major aspect of its marketing campaign.

Like many other non-iPad tablets, the Blackberry PlayBook got off to a rough start. Mediocre sales numbers caused the company to lower its expectations in the summer quarter by more than 1 million units.

Click here to read TMC (News - Alert) CTO Tom Keating's thoughts on the death of Flash for mobile browsing. Adobe's move wasn't all that surprising considering the fact that it recently announced plans to restructure its business, in part, to concentrate more on HTML5.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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