Much has been made about Apple’s lack of Flash support on their portable devices. A few articles here have already discussed it and the likely repercussions. News out of the tech world today seems to indicate the pressure and promise of the iPad is forcing some major web sites to rethink their strategy and make their content available to non-Flash devices.
A story first reported yesterday by TechCrunch says online content provider Hulu is working on an iPad version of their site. As we’ve reported previously, this likely means a move to HTML 5 as the user interface of the site. Hulu already streams video in the H.264 format, the other side of the equation for creating a non-Flash, iPad-viewable web site. The question remains then if Hulu is making a complete move to HTML5 and H.264 or just a narrowed-down mobile site. Either way, it’s a good first move away from Flash from one of its most well-known users.
Those that remember back to the original iPhone launch in 2007 will recognize this as a bit of past-as-prologue. One of much bemoaned missing elements from that launch was the inability to access YouTube. YouTube was as big a Flash consumer in 2007 as Hulu is today. Of course Apple got around that by producing a dedicated YouTube client. I’m not suggesting that Hulu is creating a dedicated iPad app, it’s just too easy to make a full featured web app in HTML 5 these days. I’m just saying that much of the wailing and moaning going on in tech circles has happened before, will happen again, and then will be resolved. Hulu doesn’t want to miss out on what is potentially the biggest game changer since the commercially available personal computer.
Is Hulu’s rumored abandonment of Flash a further indictment of the development platform? Will the ironic outcome of the iPad launch be that in pushing one closed platform in the iPad, Steve destroys another? Is Hulu only the first domino to fall? Drop us a comment and let us know.
By: Erin Peterson