Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm.

The dumbest thing I’ve ever written about Flash

From the they-can’t-all-be-winners department, writing for Silicon Alley Insider on Dec. 13, 2007:

How Palm Can Beat Apple’s iPhone: The Flash Phone

[...] If Palm wants to make a real splash and compete with Apple, it needs to go after the same creative, design-obsessed, early adopter-types that cried foul when Steve Jobs first told them they couldn’t write software for the iPhone — and then spent the next week rebuilding their Web sites for the iPhone’s Web browser anyway. Many of those people already belong to a massive, thriving developer community that hasn’t had a fair chance to crack into mobile: Adobe Flash designers.

Flash is big on the Web: it’s on almost every computer, is powering the Web video boom, and is huge with Web animators, casual game makers, and advertisers. Yet Adobe has done a terrible job so far getting its software on cellphones, especially in the States. Flash is an easy-to-develop, powerful platform with good looks and built-in video support. It probably wouldn’t take much work for people to port their existing Flash apps to the mobile screen — and a Palm Web browser with Flash support would be something that neither Apple, BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, nor Google’s Android has at this point.

By linking with Adobe, Palm would probably alienate its existing community of Palm OS developers, but let’s face it — that’s cutting bait at this point. If Palm and Adobe could work together on a stunning user interface and offer the massive community of Flash developers wide-open access to a solid phone platform on good-looking devices, it could be a huge hit.

Well, okay, it actually made a little sense, at least in an abstract way. (And, remember, this was months before the iPhone App Store was revealed.)

But it was so impractical! Not just the idea of Palm and Adobe banding together — they actually did try to work together on Flash for WebOS devices, and it still failed. But the idea of Flash working well on a mobile/touch device was so far-fetched in 2007, and is still pretty looney today. And that’s a big reason why Adobe is now winding down mobile Flash development. (Though it will continue to try to be a part of the mobile app ecosystem, which is sort of what I was getting at.)

Anyway, I think that was the first time John Gruber linked to me from Daring Fireball. I guess I deserved his sarcasm that day:

Sure, and maybe they can wave the same magic wand and make chips run faster and cooler and have batteries that last for weeks without recharging.

One SAI commenter, “Carniphage,” actually put it pretty well, in hindsight:

Flash is to mobile devices what the porcupine-quill suit is to the balloon folding industry.

It’s too old, too crufty, non-scalable and often mouse driven.
If the web content makers want their content to go mobile, they need to embrace mobile standards.

Remember Flash is two different things.

The wrong solution is to compromise mobile devices by hobbling them to outdated desktop technologies.

Earlier: What the end of Flash means for Adobe