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Highlights of web technology surveys, December 2010: Usage of Flash is starting to decline
Posted by Matthias Gelbmann on 1 December 2010 in News, Client-side Languages, Flash
Our client-side programming language survey shows a usage of 28.6% for Flash, while it has been 0.2% higher in October. 0.2% is not much, but it means that 2,000 of the most popular 1 million sites (this is what our surveys cover) have turned away from Flash.
Is this a statistical fluctuation, or the beginning of a trend? If we combine this measurement with other figures, it is likely to be more than random.
As you all know, the discussion around Flash has intensified enormously in the last one or two years with the persistence of Apple to support it on their mobile devices. While other mobile platforms don't suffer from Flash-blindness, iOS has a web surfer market share that is hard to ignore. Android may be on the rise, but iOS is not going to disappear any time soon. The mobile web already has 4% share of the overall web traffic and is certain to increase to much higher levels.
It seems natural, that web masters start to be reluctant to use Flash. These market share trends, however, are not a proof that there is indeed an connection between the mobile web and Flash. We have a figure in our surveys that shows a more direct dependency.
When we analyze the technologies used by websites, we normally don't know which is the target user group of these sites. For the mobile web, however, we have a little hint: XHTML Mobile Profile. This is a version of XHTML which is specifically designed to support mobile handsets. It is not used very much, because most mobile handsets can deal with the more common versions of (X)HTML quite well. But if a website decides to use the Mobile Profile version, it is a clear sign that it is meant to be consumed by mobile users.
Regarding Flash, the interesting survey is our corresponding segmentation report. This report shows the usage of Flash by all the sites that use XHTML Mobile Profile. And this figure is as low as 6.7%.
Combining all the statistical evidence, I expect that the usage of Flash will continue to decline. The decline will be slow and Flash will still be around for a very long time, but I think these little 0.2% are the beginning of a trend.
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