Flash support has been one of the key advantages that aspiring iPad competitors have used to tout their devices.
On the phone side, Android makers can brag about the ability to run on faster networks, larger screen sizes, keyboards and all manner of other differences from Apple’s lone iPhone model.
With tablets, though, Flash compatibility (poor performance notwithstanding) had been a key selling point for those looking to take on the iPad. It was a major component in ads from Toshiba, Research In Motion, Motorola and others looking to grab a piece of the tablet market.
Flash support isn’t immediately going away for devices that already have it, but it clearly has lost its luster as a selling point.
So where does that leave the iPad rivals? Both Android and RIM’s PlayBook still have a weak story when it comes to apps. And, sure, tablets can come in various screen sizes, something Samsung has proven by offering the Galaxy Tab in 7-, 8.9- and 10-inch varieties. But that clearly isn’t enough alone to stand out from the iPad, as evidenced by the fact that Apple’s tablet continues to dominate the category.
A Google representative could not immediately be reached for comment. RIM, for its part, says it has licensed Adobe’s source code and plans to continue supporting Flash on the PlayBook.
“As an Adobe source code licensee, we will continue to work on and release our own implementations. RIM remains committed to delivering an uncompromised Web browsing experience to our customers, including native support for Adobe Flash Player on our BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (similar to a desktop PC browser), as well as HTML5 support on both our BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook browsers,” RIM said in a statement to AllThingsD. “In fact, we are pleased that Adobe will focus more efforts on the opportunities that HTML5 presents for our developers, and shares our commitment to HTML5 as we discussed together at DevCon Americas.”
Those are strong words of support, but if Adobe stops its efforts to develop and optimize Flash for mobile devices, RIM may find it has to do a lot of work to follow through on such a promise.
As for the Android camp, it means getting more apps more quickly — something already top of mind for Google, which has been running a series of developer camps aimed specifically at spurring tablet app development.