How Smartphones Helped Kill Flash

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It wasn’t too long ago now that Flash, developed by Adobe and originally launched in 1996, was the dominant platform that videos, games and whole websites were built upon. It enabled fast animations, vector graphics and, most importantly, it was browser and platform agnostic.

It enabled a better internet, but it’s reign wouldn’t last forever. Today, HTML5 is the dominant standard, with a majority of new websites, apps and platforms being built on top of it. Indeed, even the web’s biggest players like YouTube have switched from Flash video to HTML5.

The easy explanation of why Flash is dying is that HTML5 is simply the superior technology. However, whilst pleasing in its simplicity, this theory is not necessarily true. HTML5 in 2019 is absolutely superior, but back when the first iPhone launched, that certainly wasn’t the case.

2007 marked the launch of Apple’s revolutionary iPhone – a device which could do many things far better than any mobile device before it. What it couldn’t do, however, was play Flash video.

Apple laid the blame on the proprietary nature of Flash, it’s speed, its unsuitability to touch and its drain of battery life. In their own words, “Flash was created for the PC era”.

What was once a limitation of Apple’s devices soon stopped being so though, as Adobe called time on Mobile Flash in October 2011 – 15 years after it launched. They shifted focus towards HTML5 and so began the end of Flash.

Ultimately, Apple was right about HTML5. The open standard has transformed the mobile web, bringing true richness to smartphones. But what kind of experiences has it enabled? Join us as we take a look at some of the biggest.

Web-Based Gaming

Apple's App Store launched a little over a year after the launch of the iPhone and, in its wake, competing app depositories like the Google Play Store sprung up too. Here were at first dozens, then hundreds, and now millions of incredible gaming experiences from developers both large and small – all a mere download away.

[Source: Pixabay]

However amazing natively built games are though, they’re now being challenged by web-based HTML5 games. Because HTML5 runs effortlessly on modern hardware and supports hardware acceleration, it’s been used to create web-based games which run across every platform.

Mobile casinos, in particular, have capitalised on the rise of HTML5, building entire mobile casinos on the platform which let customers go from smartphone to laptop to tablet seamlessly without the need to download additional software.

Better Video

Smartphones today have bigger, higher resolution screens than ever before. Those screens demand better video, and that’s exactly what HTML5 offers.

YouTube made the switch to HTML5 as default in 2015, citing its smart adaptive bitrate technology as the main reason for the switch. In total, YouTube estimates the switch has reduced buffering worldwide by 80%, and it’s also enabled higher resolution videos with lower bandwidth requirements too.

In an age where streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are dominating the space and YouTube has become an everyday go-to for everything from instructional videos to your evening's entertainment, it’s hard to overstress the importance of HTML5.

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