By now you know the news: Samsung lost. Big. The company will have to pay Apple at least $1.05 Billion in royalties for infringing on iPhone patents, boosting Apple’s bank account by about 1%. But some other companies got caught in the crossfire, notably Google, maker of the Android operating system. Samsung is the largest maker of smartphones running the Android OS.
The Samsung devices affected are mostly older models like the Galaxy S II and Epic 4G. This pulls the rug out from under your smug friends who ran out to get those cool Android phones, because they were really just iPhones. Ha ha.
But beyond Google and Samsung, there’s another company that has suffered a setback – Adobe, maker of the Flash multimedia platform. Steve Jobs famously refused to support Flash in the iPhone OS, while the makers of Android made a point of it. Flash is believed to have its problems, notably its playback instability, its version compatibility issues, its vulnerability to attack, and its slow behavior on mobile devices.
In fact, Android has now given up on Flash. This is the light at the end of the tunnel for those designers sick of supporting Flash on websites, and web users sick of linking to content we couldn’t view. Steve Jobs was right, and he’s also a part of the outcome.
A Perfect Content Storm
So what does the Apple v. Samsung verdict mean for mobile interface designers and content producers?
- In the short run, very little. If you’re making Flash content, Android devices will continue to allow users to view them for awhile, and you’ll still have to worry about supporting iPhone and iPad users, just more so. Flash remains a very powerful and useful content and application-authoring tool for the desktop.
- In the long run, we are all dead… but Flash is going first. Adobe stopped developing Flash for mobile devices last year, and has now pulled its Flash player from Android’s app store, Google Play. Mobile app and game developers will get by without Flash by using Adobe AIR, which works with the iPhone.
How much longer will game developers use Flash for the desktop? Flash may still prove useful for licensed webcasting and video streaming applications, but that doesn’t affect content producers as much as it does entertainment webmasters.
What other changes will we be likely to see, that don’t involve Flash?
- For one, the Samsung verdict means Apple will have a billion more to play around with, so look for more innovations that may cause us all to change the way we think of marketing on the web in both B2C and B2B environments.
- Because of the Samsung verdict, Steve Jobs’ decision, and Adobe’s pulling of Flash for mobile devices, mobile content will be more alike and manageable across mobile platforms. This overall compatibility will create a ‘common platform’ effect that drives more product innovation, not less.
- It also means Google will continue to mess around with its search algorithms in ways that optimize for mobile, video and desktop searches as more people use mobile devices first, and desktop and notebooks second.
- The verdict could elevate the profile of Microsoft, where some people are already giddy with excitement about the prospects for Windows Phone. Nokia, the primary maker of Windows Phones, is also seeing a surge because of the verdict.
- Google could be the next to face Apple’s wrath, but it’s also possible that the verdict will lead to a licensing deal, further cementing a common user experience across mobile devices and making it easier to create multi-platform content and apps.
Bottom line: This is bad for Samsung, really bad. The Google Android platform may lose a little credibility as well, but both will survive. The rest of us are going to start having an easier time supporting mobile devices with content and applications, and as mobile starts to become a major force in social behavior, entertainment, shopping, and business applications such as content marketing, the stars are aligning in our favor.
Originally posted on the KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas Blog.