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RIM plans to go it alone on Flash for BlackBerry PlayBook

updated 11:40 pm EST, Wed November 9, 2011

RIM reacts to being abandoned by Adobe on Flash

RIM will keep working on Flash on the BlackBerry PlayBook despite Adobe's exit from mobile Flash, the company said in a statement. It vowed to AllThingsD that, as a licensee of Adobe's source code, it would work on its own variant on Flash. Despite Adobe itself saying HTML5 was a superior choice for mobile devices, RIM was still echoing Adobe's previous attitude, saying that a complete browser needed both Flash and HTML5 to work.

"We will continue to work on and release our own implementations," it said. "RIM remains committed to delivering an uncompromised Web browsing experience to our customers, including native support for Adobe Flash Player on our BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (similar to a desktop PC browser), as well as HTML5 support on both our BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook browsers."

RIM also spun the switch to HTML5, claiming that it gave more "opportunities" to developers.

The comments, while helpful for those continuing to support the PlayBook, still show the consequences of RIM putting all its trust in Adobe as the foundation of most of its tablet apps. RIM now has to take on the responsibility itself. It will also have to tone down its marketing since it, like most Android makers, has spent a disproportionate amount of time marketing Flash but won't get Adobe's direct help.

BBX, its next-generation smartphone interface using the PlayBook's foundations, may not get further cooperation from Adobe.

Other companies have similarly tried to use Flash as a make-or-break feature without any success. Toshiba attacked iOS users visiting the Thrive tablet's teaser page in January, but the tablet didn't ship for another six months and received poor reviews. Motorola used flash as the cornerstone of the Xoom's pre-launch campaign; ultimately, it had to delay it until spring and has so far seen sales level off early and quickly decline.

RIM itself shipped a modest 500,000 PlayBooks in the spring but is believed to have made the bad assumption that it could sell many more, leading it to cut its summer shipments to just 200,000 units and allow steep discounts of $200 or more. The decrease points to few buyers caring about Flash as a feature enough to buy the PlayBook over the iPad or a few Android tablets.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999



    All dressed up and got nowhere to go.

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007


    RIM is also...

    porting DOS to the Blackberry and adding a USB abacus.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Wow! There seems to be a

    general shift of mobile devices to HTML5 and RIM wants to stick with Flash. It's true it will take some time for all websites to convert to HTML5, but for RIM to just waste resources on something short-term doesn't make much sense. It's not selling that many PlayBooks so unless RIM thinks it will get diehard Flash-heads to buy PlayBooks, it really seems a waste of time and effort.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008



    The way RIM has been executing lately, I'm not surprised by this decision. At least they are consistent with their thinking.

  1. CreepDogg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Jun 2001


    Par for the Course

    Typical corpo-think. More concerned about the next quarter's earnings statement than building sustained value.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Short RIMM at current price

    And cover at 50ยข in Q2, 2012.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Great for p***

    RIM wants you to experience the "hole internet."

    Or something like that.

  1. ASathin8R

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010


    They were already...

    flogging one dead horse in the PlayBook, so why not flog two? Two dead horses for the price of one isn't it, or something like that?

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005


    AOL CD included

    They will also include an AOL CD with each purchase and the next playbook will have an optional dial-up modem.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    AOL CD? Forget it. AOL floppy

    Rubber coupler!

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