Application Development: Google, Apple, Amazon Push HTML5 to the Fore as Adobe Flash Falls

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-12-30
 
 
 

Adobe Acquires Nitobi

The prelude to Adobe playing down Flash for HTML5 came at Adobe Max in October, when the company acquired Nitobi Software. Nitobi makes the popular PhoneGap, an open-source platform for building fast, cross-platform mobile applications with HTML5 and JavaScript.

Adobe Acquires Nitobi

Adobe Capitulates

More than one month later, Adobe drops the bombshell that it is pushing aside mobile Flash for HTML5. "HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms," said Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager of Interactive Development at Adobe, in November. He would later tell the Wall Street Journal: "If you want to be delivering a Web experience around multiple devices, you have to be doing it in HTML5." Adobe in December launched its last Flash mobile plug-in with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich support.

Adobe Capitulates

Google Responds

While Google applauded Adobe's Flash support for handsets and tablets based on its Android mobile platform, Google has been a major HTML5 proponent for the last two years. Google did away with Google Gears to focus on building offline capabilities for Docs, Gmail and Calendar with HTML5. Google is also experimenting with some of the prettier, eye-candy elements of HTML5 for its Chrome Web browser. Chrome Experiments is a showcase for creative Web app design, most of which are built with the HTML5, Canvas, SVG and Web. "The Wilderness Downtown" is an interactive interpretation of Arcade Fire's song "We Used to Wait" and was built with HTML5 video, audio and canvas. "3 Dreams of Black" is an interactive film that showcases WebGL, a component of the HTML5 canvas element that enables hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in the Web browser without a plug-in. And who can forget Google's Sept. 5 doodle, pictured here, celebrating the Google Instant launch. The tool uses JavaScript and the Canvas element to create an animation effect when users mouse over it.

Google Responds

HTML5 and Ice Cream Sandwich

Google's HTML5 strengths aren't limited to Chrome and other desktop apps. HTML5 framework provider Sencha benchmarked Google's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus and found that it has a solid browser for normal page browsing and adds major new features that support most of the HTML5 specification. "It also has taken a big step forward in correctness of rendering, which is a welcome change for people who want to push their mobile browsers to the limit," Sencha said.

HTML5 and Ice Cream Sandwich

Apple

As Sencha noted, Apple's iOS 5 is great at rendering HTML5. Apple has long backed and incorporated the standard Web language.

Apple

Strategy Analytics Prediction

Apple iOS' and Google Android's successes running HTML5 have spurred some research analysts to predict big things for HTML5 on mobile phones in the future. Strategy Analytics believes HTML5 phone sales will surge from 336 million units in 2011 to 1 billion units in 2013.

Strategy Analytics Prediction

Amazons Kindle Cloud Reader

Adobe, Google and Apple aren't the only players interested in using HTML5. Amazon used HTML5 to build its Kindle Cloud Reader, which skirted around Apple's App Store's rules for in-app purchases and subscriptions.

Amazons Kindle Cloud Reader

Adobe Acquires Nitobi - Page 8

b>Microsoft Internet Explorer 9Just as Google did with Chrome, Microsoft bet big on HTML5 for Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 and the next-generation IE 10 browsers. Microsoft also created this HTML5 Labs site where the company provides prototypes of early specifications from standards bodies, such as the W3C.

Adobe Acquires Nitobi - Page 8

Opera Browser

Browser maker Opera of course spearheaded the HTML5 movement early on and included a new HTML5-compliant parser in its Opera 11.60 beta build in November.

Opera Browser

Facebook

Facebook, which lured HTML5 engineer Charles Jolley from Apple, is using HTML5 on several fronts, including its latest platform for Web developers. Facebook for iOS allows users to launch HTML5-based apps.

Facebook

Rovio Mobile

Rovio Mobile created an HTML5-based version of its smash-hit "Angry Birds" title that lets users play the game in HTML5-enabled Web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or IE9. Indeed, games with all of their interactive elements lend themselves well to HTML5.

Rovio Mobile

Rocket Fuel