Platform adoption, Jan09

Big news out of MAX Japan today… Player 10 at 55% consumer support eight weeks after release… AIR with a hundred million successful installations… 1,000,000+ AIR SDK downloads.

That Player info is great, although dated… Player 10 was released Oct 15, and this consumer testing was done early-to-mid-December, about 8 weeks in. Now we’re in the last week of January, about 15 weeks in. Looks to be on-track to 80% consumer-support in the very near future. Amazing. Use these features now.

(These quarterly consumer audits have been going on for years, consistent methodology, one of the best measures. Your particular audience may differ from overall consumer norms, but the rates-of-change should be similar.)

AIR may be the more significant surprise. People are familiar with updating plugins & browsers. AIR is a different type of thing, a desktop shell for web apps. When people first see it, they have to stop, and think about those strange black dialogs. And yet it had — not only a hundred million downloads — but a hundred million separate experiences when it fully downloaded, then successfully installed, and then said “hello i’m here!” to the Adobe cloud. Some are undoubtedly multiple installations on the same machine — we don’t yet know unique users. But still, a hundred million successful installations, of something bizarrely new, all in its first year… that’s also amazing. (About one hundred million people visit YouTube each month.)

Million SDK downloads? There’s a lot of AJAX developers out there, a lot of Flash developers out there, a lot of other developers who find Flex easy to approach. Makes sense. A lot of people have been exposed to these possibilities; let’s see what each person decides to do.

It’s too early to tell now, but this may be the point to which we look back and say “Adobe did establish the Flash Platform, and those were the early days of AIR.” We don’t yet know the end of the story, but the signs out there seem to be exceptionally positive.

The greater context: We’re at a period of economic contraction. People are looking hard at what works. And meanwhile consumers are responding very, very strongly to richer experiences, consistent across environments. The capabilities are advancing very quickly. It’s a good time to make a bet.

And how did it happen? There’s been some great engineering, but it would not have happened with the wide ecosystem of support. A lot of people make their own best choices, and it works out to the good of everyone. It’s a group effort.

Related: The thing about Player 10, Oct 2008.