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The Final Demise of Flash

June 30th, 2012 No comments

Late Thursday, an extraordinary thing happened: Adobe announced in a blog post that it would not provide Flash Player support for devices running Android 4.1, and that it would pull the plugin from the Google Play store on August 15. The retreat comes five years after the introduction of the iPhone, the device which thwarted Flash’s mobile ambitions, almost even before they began.

That Adobe would make such an announcement nearly five years to the day that the first iPhone was sold is kind of funny. I’d like to think that the Flash team has a sense of humor and was well aware of the timing when it posted the blog entry, but I could also see the entry as unintentionally ironic. Either way, it caps off a five-year battle to win the mobile landscape — a war which for Adobe ended in defeat.

At the time the iPhone was announced, lack of support for Adobe Flash seemed like a glaring omission, for a platform that was so hell-bent on being a portable computing device. But it wasn’t until the iPad came out, two-and-a-half years later, that the battle between Apple and Adobe, Flash vs. HTML5, and “open” vs. “proprietary” reached a fever pitch.

The iPad Effect

The iPad was announced in January at WWDC, but wasn’t available until March. And when it did finally become available, people began to notice that the lack of Flash, which then was the de facto standard for video playback and interactivity on the web, was missing. For the iPhone, not having Flash was a minor annoyance — after all, few other smartphones had very good Flash support at the time… But for the iPad, which in many cases was being used as a laptop replacement, at least for consumption of media, that was a big deal.

It wasn’t long before Google latched onto this and began promising an alternative to the “broken” Apple devices which wouldn’t give users access to the full web, as publishers intended them to view it. It’s tough to believe now, but at one point, Flash on mobile devices was actually considered a feature. There was Google’s Andy Rubin in April 2010, announcing that Android would have full Flash support in Froyo, the next version of the operating system to be released.

The Impact Of “Thoughts On Flash”

Battle lines were drawn, and just a few days later, Steve Jobs issued his epic missive “Thoughts on Flash,” which sought to explain, once and for all, why Apple didn’t — and wouldn’t ever — integrate Flash into its mobile and tablet devices. There were numerous reasons, and Jobs debunked the trope of Flash being “open,” as well as its ability to access the full web. He also brought up security, reliability, performance, and battery life issues that plagued devices using the plugin.

Most importantly, though, Apple didn’t want Adobe developers to create cross-platform apps which didn’t take advantage of the most latest features, development libraries and tools. Jobs wrote:

“Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.”

It turns out Jobs was right. When Flash finally did ship on Android devices, it didn’t provide users with the full web, as was promised. Android users who wished to watch videos on Hulu through the Flash browser, for instance, were met with a message saying that the content wasn’t available on the mobile web. Same thing for users who tried to access most premium video sites on Google TV, which also supported Flash. More importantly, even when those videos or interactive Flash elements did appear on Android devices, they were often wonky or didn’t perform well, even on high-powered phones.

The end result was that users stopped seeing Flash on mobile devices as a good thing, and developers quit trying to support the framework on those devices.

The Flash Issue Isn’t Just About Mobile

But the impact of that battle goes beyond just how people view content on mobile phones. While pretty much all developers have settled on building native apps or coding for the mobile web when trying to reach those users, the battle has also had an impact on the way that developers think about multi platform web development. Even when not building for 4-inch screen, they’re increasingly turning to HTML5 to build new user experiences or render interactive applications, rather than writing to be seen in the Flash player.

Video might be the last industry where the Adobe Flash Player continues to have a hold on how content is displayed, but even then, a growing number of sites are moving to HTML5-based video players for delivery. YouTube and Vimeo are leading that charge, displaying their videos in a HTML5 player first, when available, and only falling back to Flash when the player isn’t supported. And many others are following that lead.

Frankly, Flash had never been a huge business for Adobe, even when development for interactive websites using the plugin were in high demand. As time goes on, it will become an even less important part, as its development tools — where Adobe makes the bulk of its revenue — focus on catering to a developer base that is increasingly interested in building HTML5-based web applications. As more can be accomplished in-browser without a plugin, that’s good news for users and developers alike.

Categories: Apple Tags:

Facebook Exodus

June 16th, 2012 No comments

Facebook’s chief technology officer, Bret Taylor, is departing to start his own company, in the first exit of a high-profile executive since the social networking company’s IPO on May 18.

In an announcement on his Facebook page verified by a company spokesman, Taylor said he will be starting up a new company with Kevin Gibbs, a senior Google engineer, according to his Facebook profile.

The news was first reported by AllThingsD.

“While a transition like this is never easy, I’m extremely confident in the teams and leadership we have in place,” Taylor said on his page. “I’m very proud of our recent accomplishments in our platform and mobile products, from Open Graph and App Center to Facebook Camera and our iOS integration. I’m even more excited for the world to see all the amazing things these teams have coming.”

Some investors had speculated that Facebook would have trouble holding onto key talent following its IPO, which created many millionaires among its ranks.

Facebook executive Mike Vernal will take over the platform division, one of Taylor’s key jobs. Cory Ondrejka will take over mobile, a source familiar with the situation confirmed.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Bret and getting to know him as a friend and teammate,” said Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.

“I’m grateful for all he has done for Facebook and I’m proud of what he and his teams have built. I’m also proud that we have a culture where great entrepreneurs like Bret join us and have such a big impact.”

Many high-profile Facebook executives have left the company since its founding in 2004, including Taylor’s predecessor as CTO, Dustin Moskovitz. He left Facebook in 2008 with his colleague Jason Rosenstein to form a social-networking company for business called Asana.

Moskovitz, a onetime Harvard roommate of Zuckerberg, had been with the company since its earliest days.

Another former roommate of Zuckerberg’s, Chris Hughes, also left a few years ago and coordinated online organising for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Now, he is publisher of the New Republic magazine.

Dave Morin, who joined Facebook in 2008, left in 2010 to found another social network, Path. Facebook alumni Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever left in 2009 to start Quora, their question-and-answer company.

Matt Cohler, who joined Facebook from LinkedIn early in 2005, joined venture capital firm Benchmark Capital in 2008. His investments there include Asana and Quora.

Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, left in 2010 to run unsuccessfully for attorney general of California.

Reuters

This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/is-this-the-start-of-the-facebook-brain-drain-20120616-20gu4.html

Categories: Facebook Tags:

Vizio adds line of stunning laptops and desktops

June 15th, 2012 No comments

Summary: If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on the first PCs from TV maker Vizio, your wait is finally over.

If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on the first PCs from TV maker Vizio, your wait is finally over. The company has officially launched the new systems, which consist of one desktop model and two different laptop flavors, all of which are priced from $899.99.

The All-in-One PC, joining a crowded field, will be available in 24-inch and 27-inch screen sizes. With either size, you get an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, though with the base models you only get a Core i3 with integrated graphics, whereas opting for a Core i5 or i7 also brings Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE graphics. Depending on the configuration, you either get 4GB or 8GB of RAM, a 500GB or 1TB hard drive, and a 32GB solid state drive. All versions feature full 1080p HD resolution, 2.1-channel sound with a subwoofer, wireless keyboard, trackpad, and remote, and built-in 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi. The top-of-the-line 27-inch All-in-One will set you back $1,349.99.

The Vizio Notebook is a 15.6-inch mainstream laptop that weighs 5.25 pounds and is 0.86 inches thick. You can choose from a Core i3-3110M, Core i5-3210M or Core i7-3610QM processor, but all versions come with GeForce GT 640M LE graphics. As with the All-in-One PC, you can either choose 4GB or 8GB of RAM, 500GB or 1TB hard drive, and 32GB SSD. The Notebook is notable for an IPS screen and full HD resolution.

The Vizio Thin and Light is an Ultrabook that is available with either a 14-inch or 15.6-inch screen. The smaller model weighs just 3.39 pounds and is 0.67 inches thick, while the bigger one tips the scales at 3.96 pounds and is 0.68 inches thick. With either size, you again get a choice of Ivy Bridge processor, though no option for Nvidia discrete graphics. Likewise, all configs come with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive. While the base 14-inch Thin and Light costs $899.99, the 15.6-inch Ultrabook starts at $949.99. [UPDATE: See our sister site CNET's hands-on take on the Thin and Light here.]

Thankfully, all the Vizio PCs come with Windows 7 Signature Edition, which removes bloatware from your system so you don’t need to uninstall useless software as soon as you boot up for the first time. In addition to being available through Vizio’s Website, certain models will be sold at Walmart or through Amazon.com.

Original article published on ZDNET by Sean Portnoy

Categories: PC, Vizio Tags:

Digitas: Pharma is missing mobile opportunity

June 15th, 2012 No comments

Marty DeAngelo, vice president and director of interaction design at Digitas Health, believes that pharmaceutical companies are failing to capitalize on the rise of the mobile channel as a way to reach consumers and healthcare professionals. In a column over at MediaPost, DeAngelo claims that of the top 25 drug brands in 2010, only three had mobile websites as of December 2011.

“Plavix has a brand site for consumers, Lipitor Savings provides information to consumers about their savings program, and only Nexium has a mobile site specifically aimed at HCPs,” DeAngelo wrote. “In fact, based on recent research I’ve conducted, there are only a handful of mobile websites in all of the pharma space – 15 at my last count.”

DeAngelo chalks up pharma’s inaction to three major reasons: a lack of understanding of mobile use cases, a misunderstanding of how to convey information in a mobile context, and regulatory discomfort.

According to DeAngelo, healthcare providers look to the mobile channel to confirm what they think they already know and consumers are often looking for information about a drug brand that their physician has already prescribed them. In other words, mobile is not an acquisition channel.

While DeAngelo may be right about the lack of mobile specific websites for drug brands, there are a number of other ways that pharma companies can leverage mobile beyond mobile specific websites.

Last year, Physicians Interactive Holdings and Remedy Systems launched a mobile advertising network that serves ads specifically targeted to healthcare providers. The network is also testing health-related ads targeting consumers. The network places ads in smartphone medical apps and it launched with some 54 different apps already onboard. Pharma companies are also creating smartphone apps — we highlighted 10 such apps in a roundup we put together last January.

Original article published MobileHealth news by Brian Dolan

Categories: Pharmaceutical Tags:

Enterprises Get Serious About Mobile App Testing

June 5th, 2012 No comments

With mobility now a necessity, the software testing space is now making accommodations to ensure enterprises can extend their applications to run on devices, according to an analyst report being released on Tuesday.

enterprise apps storel

The Enterprise App Store: 10 Must-Have Features

Voke’s Market Mover Array Report on software testing platforms says an explosion of mobile testing companies focusing on enterprise applications is a “clear indicator of the enterprise’s need to deliver quality software to a plethora of mobile devices.” Mobile testing vendors, the report states, will ultimately be acquired by traditional testing vendors. But for now, innovation “must be allowed to flourish.” Keynote Systems’ acquisition of DeviceAnywhere last fall represents this shift in the market; meanwhile, innovation in mobile testing also is occurring from companies including Experitest, Parasoft, Perfecto Mobile, and Soasta, according to the report.

[ Keynote recently was lauded at the Software & Information Industry Association Codie Awards. | To get more analysis of the software development space, subscribe to InfoWorld's Developer World newsletter. ]

“What we’re seeing [with mobile applications] is every organization now has to have some sort of mobile strategy, and that mobile strategy has to already fit in with what they’re doing with their existing apps,” said analyst Theresa Lanowitz, a co-author of the report and founder of Voke. “There’s very little tolerance for a mobile application that does not work from a functional perspective as well as from a performance perspective.” Software testers, she said, really need to look for commercially available tools to manage “that complex grid of what they’re going to test.”

Mobile application testing is becoming more commonplace and has been moving to the cloud, she said. Keynote DeviceAnywhere’s Test Center Developer, for example, provides online access to any mobile device, network, and operating system worldwide. Perfecto Mobile has a similar SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform with its MobileCloud platform.

Overall, software testing has to be done earlier in the application development lifecycle, to make sure defects do not leave the development phase, Lanowitz said. Companies like Electric Cloud and Microsoft are offering capabilities to apprise developers of what exactly is going on with their software builds.

Voke’s report found the software testing market “currently in a renaissance,” in terms of testing professionals and vendor innovation. Market leaders could face challenges from innovators tackling emerging technology like the cloud, mobile, device software, and infrastructure as well from innovations delivering simple solutions to classic and age-old problems by leveraging virtualization. Vendors solving problems of entrenched testing tools also could pose a challenge.

This article, “Enterprises get serious about mobile app testing,” was originally published atInfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Read more about application development in InfoWorld’s Application Development Channel.

Categories: mobile, mobile applications Tags:

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