This week Adobe announced it would cease developing its Flash technology for mobile devices, instead focusing on HTML5. Such a move could impact Internet radio, as many webcasters use Flash to stream and mobile is arguably the future of the medium.
HTML5 is a new, developing technology for web browsers that enables -- among many features -- native audio streaming without plug-ins like Flash. Pandora already uses HTML5 in its new website (RAIN coverage here), as did 35% of the 100 most popular websites in Q3 2011.
Plus, said Adobe VP and General Manager of Interactive Development Danny Winokur, “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices," (whereas Flash was notably not supported on Apple mobile devices).
The promise of HTML5 then, writes the Wall Street Journal (here), is that "developers can use HTML5 to get their creations on a variety of smartphones, tablets and PCs without tailoring apps for specific hardware or the online stores that have become gatekeepers to mobile commerce."
Though currently, most webcasters reach mobile listeners through apps, some argue that the future lies with mobile webpages -- not apps. Firefox-maker Mozilla's VP/Products Jay Sullivan recently argued, "If you want to have a variety of mobile apps, it gets expensive...that’s a lot of apps to build" (read more from VentureBeat here). A mobile HTML5 webpage, on the other hand, could be a single "product" that's accessible from a variety of devices.
In other words, with the demise of mobile Flash, HTML5 may very well be the technology that supports mobile Internet radio in the foreseeable future.