The term “rich Internet applications” is an old one, coined when Adobe Systems released its Flash technology as a way to define applications that are highly interactive and connected.

Today, there is little doubt the industry has embraced HTML5 as the best solution for cross-browser, cross-device rich application development and delivery. Witness the demise of Flex, the repositioning of Flash, and Microsoft’s announcement that Silverlight 5 would be the last version for the browser.

And now that HTML5 has risen to mainstream acceptance, the industry is seeing what Telerik’s Todd Anglin called “an unusual alignment of technology heavyweights around a common platform,” citing the contributions of Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, among others, toward the common platform.

“This is unprecedented in our industry,” he said. “Each has wanted to build and own the platform, but with the explosion of devices on the market, now they want to own the tooling services.”

_Can this all be traced to Apple’s decision to not allow runtimes in applications on its iPhone? Partly. But it’s also due to the number of new devices coming on to the market, each with different operating systems. “Plug-ins simply can’t keep up with the rapid explosion of all these devices,” Anglin said. “Even if they were allowed to, they couldn’t keep up.”

Jacobs cited a study that declared that 2.1 billion mobile phones with browsers will be in circulation two years from now, and those browsers all claim to support HTML5 development.

About David Rubinstein

David Rubinstein is editor-in-chief of SD Times.