Apple may have indefinitely barred Flash-based apps from appearing on its mobile devices. But that isn’t stopping a cottage industry of iOS Flash-enabling browsers from emerging.
iSwifter, a Burlingame-based company, says the latest version of its Flash-enabled browser will support social games, enabling casual gamers to go to Facebook and play popular titles that would otherwise not work properly on an iPad. Rajat Gupta, the founder, says iSwifter renders the game and then streams it down in a video format to the device.
For the last four years, Apple has engaged in a very public standoff with Adobe, the maker of the Flash technology, arguing that Flash eats up battery life, doesn’t perform well on mobile devices and is hindering adoption of more modern formats for video like H.264. Since then, the explosion in iOS and Android adoption has in turn lured many developers who would have once built games in flash to instead start developing for these platforms.
iSwifter, created out of Crowdstar co-founder Peter Relan’s gaming incubator YouWeb, has gone through several iterations of the product to get it to the point where it is really optimized for more sophisticated apps like games. Other competitors like Skyfire focus on other types of general Flash-based media content like videos and music. iSwifter’s charging $4.99 for all-you-can-eat social gaming on the iPad.
The app comes at an interesting turning point for social game developers on Facebook. Facebook, itself, has been nudging developers to build their work in HTML5, which would theoretically make titles easier to service and iterate upon for multiple devices and platforms. We suspect there will be some big announcement coming up at the next f8 surrounding support and distribution channels for mobile web apps.