The Road To The Pocket (or: Vive Flash Lite!)

Been thinking about posts last week from Dan Rayburn and Matt Voerman. I saw parts of that history too, and don’t agree with all of the views expressed (particularly those from anonymous accounts 😉 but the blogposts made me think.

Big takeaway: A road may not always be straight and linear, but it does tend to bring you to the destination.

Lots of bright minds at lots of firms have been working toward personal connected interactivity for well over a decade. The path has not been straight, but what matters now is that we have nearly arrived — a world full of new economical devices, with a common presentation layer, and with a new set of tooling for today’s design/development tasks. Most importantly, we have already seen strong consumer receptivity to such new devices.

Tinder and kindling, awaiting a spark… the dawn of a new design.

Adobe Creative Suite 5, the Flex 4 ecology, and the cross-device Adobe Flash Player 10.1 will all help many more designers and developers reach these new devices more easily… sort of like when railroads first united frontier towns. But I believe the domain knowledge acquired over the past few years by the pioneers — Flash Lite developers — will give them a unique edge in this upcoming surge of growth.

Flash Lite developers know about smaller interfaces and more constrained devices viscerally, first-hand… they have experiential knowledge which Device Central alone cannot convey. Flash Lite developers are also experienced in figuring out how to create a business serving device owners — the hustle and scuffle of making things work in novel arrangement. They’ve also watched more, learned more from the experiments of others. For these new devices, Flash Lite developers will have more knowledge, richer context.

And, of course, atop those skills applied to newer smartphones and tablets, there’s also the entire population of existing devices, and new non-smartphone sales… those existing code skills will remain valuable for a good while to come. In a world where selling 50,000,000 of a particular device is considered revolutionary, an audience of 1,200,000,000 isn’t really inconsequential either.

Here’s my point: Creative Suite 5 and Player 10.1 make it easier for more people to reach this new generation of devices. I think it will really open the floodgates. But the early innovators who have grown Flash Lite skills over the decade — they have an intangible edge. They have great domain knowledge, they know how to make things work.

Doesn’t matter how we got here, how you’d do things differently with hindsight. What matters now is that humankind is finally at the point of being able to carry around a connected, interactive screen through daily life.

And you will be the person to design, develop, deliver that screen.

This is where we’re at right now. Doesn’t matter how we got here. What really matters is the road ahead.

I think it’ll be fun, fun, fun. 🙂

[Comments: Software wars elsewhere, and please “own your words”, thanks.]

2 Responses to The Road To The Pocket (or: Vive Flash Lite!)

  1. Richard Gaskin says:

    Greetings, Mr. Dowdell. Been a long time.
    Reading your post about CS5 in light of Apple’s recent actions has me wondering: What would it take to port CS5 to Ubuntu?
    That may sound out of left field, but walk with me here:
    A lot of the Android work will get the team at least somewhat oriented to Linux. Ubuntu is a great experience, and Canonical seems unusually receptive to partnerships with commercial app vendors. And Linux, while small today, is the standard in many corners of the world – the governments of India, Berlin, Brazil, even the US Army have standardized on it. However slowly, Linux is growing. Few things could speed that up more than having tools from Adobe available for it.
    And perhaps most useful to Adobe, Linux is the Unix-based OS that doesn’t require that you buy your computer from one vendor. 😉 Even if it were a loss-leader for the first couple years, the strategic value and long-term prospects may make it worthwhile. Ubuntu is definitely going places.
    Maybe crazy. Maybe forward-thinking. But seemed worth suggesting, a way to add a whole new dimension to the value of being a provider of multi-platform tools. Think really different.
    [ Howdy Richard! I know that each cycle Linux is re-analyzed… I’m not privy to that research though. Runtimes are easiest, then AIR-based apps…. some of CS has hardware dependencies (Mercury engine, eg). Canonical’s Gerry Carr expressed a similar sentiment recently. –jd ]

  2. Matt Voerman says:

    Hey JD,
    I 100% agree that the road forward is going to be fun, and that, in most regards, it doesn’t matter which path/road we took to get here.
    One of my main concerns was the ongoing support of the mobile platform by Adobe.
    Granted they’ve swung their weight behind the iPhone, and now Android, but when the next new shiny mobile platform comes along, whats to say Adobe won’t abandon all the iPhone/Android app developers, as they did the FlashLite ones?
    I absolutely appreciate that Adobe needs to make business decisions based on the lay of the (current (and strategic) land. But when developers base their livelihoods on platforms (and support) offered by companies such as Adobe (or Apple for that matter). It will prove increasingly difficult to believe the hype, when you’ve been burnt once before — MattVoerman
    [ Still trying to get word on just who has been hurt, and how. –jd ]