Virgin America Drops Flash, Switches to iPhone-Friendly HTML and Javascript

In the wake of the great Flash controversy of 2010, airline Virgin America appears to be stepping up to support Apple’s portable devices. The company recently dropped Flash from its web site in favor of HTML5 in order to improve performance and increase compatility with devices such as Apple’s iPhone according to The Register.

“I don’t want to cater to one hardware or one software platform one way to another, and Flash eliminates iPhone users,” said Virgin America’s Chief information officer Ravi Simhambhatla.

Although the move is by no means a death knell for Flash, it does seem to represent a growing interest in finding alternatives to the content platform.

Once the HTML5 standard is ratified, Mr. Simhambhatla plans to update the Virgin America Web site again. HTML5 offers multimedia content support without requiring Adobe’s Flash or Microsoft’s competing Silverlight.

Despite its site redesign, Virgin America isn’t completely abandoning Flash. The company plans to implement a Flash-based solution for its airport checkin kiosks.

“Flash provides beautiful interactivity,” Mr. Simhambhatla said. “We wanted to bring a smoother application experience and modularity and be able to build up an interactive experience for the kiosk user. Flash is all these.”

He added “Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled… If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn’t [controlled] then Flash is questionable.”

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