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Adobe Unveils Edge: Flash R.I.P.

On Monday, Adobe (ADBE) announced Edge, a new software that makes it easier for web programmers to develop in HTML 5. And its chief competitor? Adobe's own Flash. Adobe is admitting that Flash isn't going to be the standard for much longer, putting it in agreement with its own adversaries.

Writing on the Wall
Mashable got a preview of Adobe Edge recently:

Edge enables users to create animated content using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript - not Flash. It's the first professional-grade HTML5 editing tool on the market and is currently available for free, as the company is looking for feedback from developers.

The product, which relies on strict HTML standards and does not incorporate Flash, is not meant to replace existing web design tools like Dreamweaver or Flash, but to coexist with them, enhancing Adobe's position as a leader in the future of Web infrastructure, especially as HTML5 becomes increasingly important in the world of mobile.

Abobe's own website calls Edge "a new addition to the existing set of Adobe professional web tools" including Flash itself, but the company has been digging Flash's grave for a while now:
It Comes Down To Tablets
Even if Adobe still believed in Flash, the platform would be in trouble because it isn't being supported by the fastest growing computer platform: tablets.

Adobe got off on the wrong foot in 2010 when Apple (APPL) didn't support Flash on its iPad. Some critics argued it was former Apple head Steve Jobs' personal beef, but he said it was because Adobe's Flash platform was an insecure battery hog. Adobe retaliated by releasing Packager, a software that made Flash website usable on the iPad. The company has been relatively quiet about Packager since its Spring 2010 release, which may be indicative of how much support it's getting from Adobe.

It had the brutal battle with Apple, but even its strongest tablet ally, Google (GOOG), is having issues supporting Flash. For instance, with the high-profile HP TouchPad, one of the biggest complaints was unstable Flash.

Furthermore, Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 8 will run completely on HTML 5 and JavaScript with no Flash support in sight. The company said it was formatted specifically for tablets first and home PCs second.

As Nick Clayton of the Wall Street Journal notes, Flash still has some relevance because some software like Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 can't read HTML 5. The question then becomes how long XP, IE6, and other older platforms will be relevant themselves. With the speed of tablet sales and software updates, I suspect it will not be that long.

Photo courtesy of L. Marie

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