By Harry McCracken | Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm
Hey, whatever happened to smartbooks?
They were put on hold in 2008 pending Adobe creating a FlashPlayer for them, which still hasn’t happened. The CEO of ARM lamented this recently. PC makers wouldn’t build them if no FlashPlayer. So Adobe’s monopoly on Web video playback strengthened Intel’s monopoly on PC CPU’s and Microsoft’s monopoly on PC operating systems and PC users are still lugging around devices that are 2x the size and half the battery life of a smartbook.
It’s a perfect example of why it’s important that the Web be a vendor-neutral open standard, which is why we have HTML5 to replace the IE6/Flash era of the Web. Smartbook prototypes were able to run open HTML5 in 2008, but even today in 2010 they can’t run Flash.
Now, iPad has forced Web publishers to make the Web HTML5 ready but ironically has turned smartbook interest into tablet interest and it’s like strike 2 for smartbooks. However, ultimately it is good news for ARM devices because Adobe’s monopoly has been broken and the HTML5 Web is a killer app that anyone can run. It gives even a small tablet maker a competitive chance.
I’m sorry, HTML5 is the future, not the present. Flash is still a critical piece of the internet.
What good is Flash if Adobe cannot make it work properly everywhere? Adobe has promised lots of things in the past related to their products and have not delivered on time or at all. As a private company of course, they have complete control over flash and dictate what it works with and what it does not.