Yahoo has released a revamped mobile web version of its popular mail service YahooMail, this time completely rewritten in HTML5. I am not a big YahooMail fan – yet, since I still have one account with them (a ’90s relic) I went and tested the darn thing. In short: ITS SLICK!
To access the service just fire up your iPad Safari and hit yahoomail.com – the service recognizes your OS and reroutes you to the updated web version rewritten for iPad in HTML5. As a matter of fact, the webpage transforms so much that you get a feeling that you are running an app, not a web page. This time Yahoo has gotten closer to its rivals Google and Apple (both already sport fancy mail apps/webmail clients)…
Given Adobe Flash’s ubiquity, the lack of Flash support is certainly one of the biggest turn-offs for potential iPad buyers. On the other hand, some of leading publishers are sidestepping the issue by providing alternative video streaming methods.
For example both Brightcove platform which enables them to detect the visitor’s operating system and to route the appropriate video stream accordingly.
So, let’s say, if an iPad user hits the publisher’s page, Brightcove will detect Apple iPhone OS on the visitor’s system and will stream H.264-encoded video renditions optimized for iPad screen resolution via html5. Problem solved.
Here is Brightcove’s sales pitch to publishers:
Ready for Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Reduce the cost and complexity of delivering and monetizing video on current and future generations of Apple devices that support the HTML5 standard. Deliver the best possible video experience to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users.
Automatic Device Detection Brightcove automatic device detection dynamically switches between Flash and HTML5 player templates to suit the viewer’s device capabilities.
Native HTML5 Player Templates New HTML5 templates provide multi-title playlists, analytics tracking, social sharing controls, advertising insertion, and other capabilities to provide a customizable video experience built on open standards.
Gorgeous H.264 transcoding Brightcove’s cloud transcoding engine converts virtually any source file into H.264-encoded video renditions optimized for multiple encoding profiles, bit rates, and screen sizes.
Pricing and Availability The Brightcove Experience for HTML5 is provided at no charge to customers with subscriptions to Brightcove Professional, Enterprise, and Express $499 editions. An early version of the automatic device detection and HTML5 player template are available in the Brightcove Developer Center. Additional capabilities will be provided in future versions released throughout 2010.
There is a lot of noise (and bad vibes) in the media regarding Apple’s decision to not enable Adobe Flash on the iPad. Reports range from claims that Steve Jobs called Adobe (and Google) lazy to assertion that Apple is still negotiating with Adobe. To sum it up, Apple sees Flash as a memory hogging and buggy piece of junk and, to protect the user and user experience, the decision was made to not include support for it.
Case closed, Apple will join a slew of other companies in support of HTML5, a standard that will bring us online video without the need to run an embedded or standalone media player… The decision ticked off many and th developers leveraging Adobe’s tools (Design Suite, Flash, Air, etc.) are certainly among the loudest.
My take on this is a bit different – while I hate when Flash hogs my CPU and RAM – I still see Flash as a pretty solid application (with quite a bit of room for improvement). I believe that Apple’s decision is almost solely based on the company’s strategy to protect the iTunes app revenue channel. At this point, aside from the jailbreaking circus, Adobe Flash is the only serious danger to the App Store. Imagine being able to run flash and all freebie flash games and apps that are floating in the cyberspace – that’d be sweet but it would certainly cut into the iTunes Apps sales.
Let’s finish on a brighter note: here is an interview with Kevin Lynch, Adobe CTO – it touches on several points I wrote about above. Lynch is defensive throughout the interview and he’s trying to play nice – this interview does not help Adobe in convincing both the customer and the Street that all is rosy. Yet, it’s not Lynch’s fault! Whoever is in charge of PR at Adobe should have stopped this and let a strong business person navigate this very rugged landscape.
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