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Virgin America site drops Flash to court iPhone

updated 12:30 pm EST, Wed March 3, 2010

Virgin says Adobe Flash too limiting

Virgin America late Tuesday said it has dropped Flash altogether from its website. The change, which quietly took effect Monday, instead just uses newer web technologies like CSS. The airline explained the move as a deliberate gesture towards the iPhone and other handhelds, as the previous dependence on Flash kept most mobile hardware from checking into flights and favored certain devices over others.

The company's CIO Ravi Simhambhatla told to The Register that Flash was also too much of a burden even on desktops. Many visitors saw more than 40 percent of their CPU's workload eaten up by the Adobe plugin. The demand has been deemed unnecessary, especially as Virgin has only been using a small fraction of what Flash can do. The IT executive said Flash had a role on the company's kiosks but that a lack of a fixed platform often hurt the experience.

"Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled," Simhambhatla explained. "If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn't [fixed] then Flash is questionable."

Virgin eventually plans to migrate its site to HTML5, where animation, scalable graphics and video can work without needing a plugin and consuming as much overhead.

The switchover is a symbolic blow to Adobe, which has been embroiled in a battle with Apple ever since the latter made it clear the iPad still didn't support Flash. Adobe has cited the ubiquity of Flash for web games and video as necessitating more Flash, but Apple is known to prefer HTML5 as it already works on the iPhone and iPad and doesn't exhibit any of the performance slowdowns or crashes that can sometimes affect Flash on the Mac.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999



    Praise the lord.

  1. appleuzr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006


    comment title

    suck it adobe.

  1. stainless

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Yes, the beginning of the end...

    As a web consultant, I am spreading the news, "HTML5 is in - Flash is out". That most crashes are caused by Flash. That Adobe has no interest in making fast better, just more profitable. That HTML5 is faster, better and search engine optimized. That h.264 video can be played by Quicktime, Window Media, Real Audio, Flash, iPhones and many other mobiles, iPad, DVD players, MP3 players and more! SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: Nov 2006


    HTML5 and Flash

    I don't see how HTML5 will kill Flash? It's just another way to view Flash without the plug-in. It's like now you can view JPEG without installing JPEG plug-in back in the time when browser reads only text.

  1. aardman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2009


    And the Adobe board . . .

    just had a collective in-garment bowel movement.

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007



    It's not only the iPhone that doesn't support flash. It's pretty much EVERY phone. Developers are seeing an explosion in phone users hitting their sites. Developing a flash and non flash version doesn't make sense if they can develop a single standard site that works across all devices.

    Sorry Adobe, your product had its place, but now it's time to move on.

  1. Woode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    Looking forward...

    to hearing more news like this. Was cool to hear Conde Nast was not putting all their eggs in the Flash basket for iPad magazines. Here we go folks, here we go!

  1. threebean

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010


    Maybe you should change your article's title

    Drops flash huh?

  1. facebook_Sean

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2010


    CSS newer than Flash?

    "newer technologies like CSS..." LOL that's the funniest thing I've read all day.

    Good move, though.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    That's right..

    One company changed their web site. Its the beginning of the end. Once everyone hears about Virgin America, they're all going to change their websites. Flash will be gone by April!

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