Brightcove LogoAdobe Flash has been the standard for online video, games, and interactive media on the Web for a number of years. But maybe not for much longer, as HTML5 is waiting in the wings, ready to pounce.

Adobe Flash

The Web is now full of Flash content, with Adobe having managed to push its proprietary software on to the Internet since its introduction (as Macromedia Flash) in 1996.

The range of content which utilizes Flash is now so widespread that most Web sites will have at least one element powered by Flash. Video is an obvious one of these, with .exe Flash movies, and .flv Flash video files.

Apple iPad

Apple has never been a fan of Flash, publicly stating that this is due to the security risk it carries with it. I’d guess it also has something to do with Flash being a proprietary software now owned by Apple.

Flash is not supported on the iPhone or iPod Touch, and Apple has continued that trend with the iPad. The tablet device was unveiled in January and is due to be released this coming Saturday (April 3).

The lack of Flash support was one of the many disappointments people felt when the iPad was unveiled. For a device designed to surf the Web, Flash would seem to be essential.

But no. In actual fact, it looks as though Apple may get its way in forcing the Web to abandon Flash and move over to the HTML5 open standard.

Brightcove Steps In

Brightcove has stepped into the breach, offering up its partners video content in HTML5 when an iPad is detected. As Brightcove’s partners include The New York Times, Time, The Discovery Channel, Sony Music, and Warner Music, this is a big deal indeed.

Initially, Brightcove videos will play in a very limited and basic HTML5 player, but the company is going to keep pushing throughout 2010, with full parity with Flash expected this time next year.

Conclusions

What was expected to be one of the elements holding the iPad back may now prove to be its savior. Or at the very least not a big problem.

If the iPad manages to usher in the HTML5 era then everyone wins, but most of all Apple.

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