A little history – the Flash epoch
I have never been a fan of Flash but I acknowledge that many very innovative and functional apps were created using Flash. Flash made it easy to develop cross platform apps which would run here there and everywhere. As I have not really developed in Flash I can only share my thoughts about why it “suddenly” turned into something not fancy.
Apple did not let Flash into its IOS for mobile devices must have been one of the major reasons. I guess that Apple did not like that powerful applications could be build on there app store based devices. Apple is receiving a lot of money through the percentage they get when people sell apps through the app store. If developers could develop apps which were as powerful as native IOS apps it would be a thread towards their business model for IOS, I guess… Also they would have no control over how apps were distributed (sold).
Another angle is that the only way to develop apps in Flash would be using the tool from one company: Adobe. It would be a closed system controlled by one company – not good.
Today we are seeing a lot of native apps which are coded to run on a specific OS. You can develop them using many development tools and also cross compile them so that they run on more than one OS, but often it is a relative low level language like C++ or JAVA. You will have to register and pay to gain access to get your app distributed for each OS. I think that it is okay that people have to pay for the handling and distribution of apps, as it involves some work doing that. Of cause you can discuss if the percent the distributer (Apple, Google and Microsoft) are charging could pay for this work, but I think that it is okay.
When you buy an app
Talking about smaller apps like those you can run on a mobile device like at phone or a tablet you normally can only use the bought app on that device. Like when I bought an iPad – I bought some apps which I really liked. At a later state I bought an Apple Mac Mini computer and discovered that the apps for the small mobile iPad were not available for my much stronger OSX based device! Why? Because the apps were written in a low level language for the mobile iOS! What? Can it be true?
They are easy distributed, easy updated and with open source browser engines like webkit (which is implemented to run even in your TV) they run on so many devices.
For now I have “invested” in a developer license for the Windows 8 market. Cause they accept HTML based apps! The apps will run on any device which runs Windows 8. That is actually also something I hope that the other players, Google and Apple will go for: Cross device thinking – no more: Just iPad or just OSX! Please!