Analysts think Android could strong arm Apple into Flash support

The unseemly row between Adobe and Apple continues. Telecoms analysts at Ovum have said that with the emergence of Flash 10.1 in smartphones, Apple will be under increased pressure to support the technology it hates so much.

Main competitor Android was the first to support Flash 10.1 with its 2.2 update. Other rivals have all marked plans to follow suit, including Blackberry, Windows Phone, Symbian, WebOS, and importantly, MeeGo. MeeGo is an Intel and Linux backed open source platform which promises to make waves with the emergence of embedded devices.

While Apple’s iPhone along with the rest of Jobs’ family may feel confident in edging out Blackberry, Windows Phone and Symbian, support for Android is another story. The popularity of developing using Flash combined with the sheer volume of Android devices already on the market, and more to hit the market, means the walled garden may have to remove at least a few bricks.

Nick Dillon at Ovum reckons: “Users will be accustomed to a similar web browsing experience on both mobile and desktop devices; this will ultimately impact the attractiveness of Apple’s proposition. Flash certainly seems to be gaining ground with device vendors and Apple may need to re-evaluate its position if its dominance is threatened as a result.

“In addition to garnering support for Flash 10, Adobe has launched its own app distribution service for Flash and AIR applications. InMarket will help developers to sell their apps across various devices. This is clearly a big draw for developers and will threaten the dominance of platform vendors in the mobile apps market.”

We think Apple’s playing the long-term game. HTML5, Jobs’ favourite, is impressive stuff when it’s got the hardware and software to back it up. But until what’s under the bonnet completely catches up with the potential HTML5 has to offer, Flash will continue to prove popular.

The data is from Ovum’s Smartphone Capability Analyzer 4Q09-3Q10, which provides a quantitative view of smartphones and the capabilities they carry. 

*EyeSee Picture is Haus of Adobe.