Change: It’s what we expect from technology, from the PC to
the web, through to HD TV. But nothing has been as disruptive
as the change the iPhone and Android phones have brought.
For the first time the power of a computer will fit in your hand,
you are always connected to the Internet, and these devices are
loaded with hardware such as video cameras, microphones, GPS
chips, and accelerometers.
As a designer, the last few years have been both exciting
and frustrating. Adapting to new technologies has come at a
cost. For iOS development you need a Mac and a solid
understanding of Objective-C; Android requires learning Java;
and let’s not even get started with this mobile web thing.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the AT&T store
to pick up an iPhone. Adobe had this teen-crazy idea: let’s put
Flash in your pocket. Unfortunately Apple was not going to
have anything to do with it. No Flash on the iPhone for you! So,
undaunted, Adobe did an end-around on Apple. If you could
not play a Flash movie on the iPhone, why not create an app
(containing a modified version of AIR) and stick the Flash content
in that way?
Crazy idea? Yes. Did it work? You betcha!
The problem was Steve Jobs. He did not like this idea at all. In
what has now become a famous open letter, Steve Jobs publicly
decried Flash as a “yesteryear” technology and banished Flash
apps from the iTunes App Store.
Undaunted by Mr. Jobs’ comments, Adobe changed direction
and brought Adobe Integrated Runtime to the Android,
BlackBerry, and PalmOS operating systems. What must mean a
lot of gnashing teeth over at Apple, Flash content performs very
well on mobile devices. It is not slow, as Apple was making the
world believe. In fact, it is a designer’s dream. Now you can take
the content you develop for the web and desktops and port it to
an ever-increasing number of mobile devices. No need to learn
Java, Objective-C, or any other language. You can just leverage
your knowledge of Flash and ActionScript.
Android is fast catching up with Apple’s early lead. In addition,
other technologies such as Windows Phone 7 are proving to
be compelling alternatives to iOS. The thumbscrews are being