Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tablet market already too large to ignore: major Internet players make accommodations for iPad owners

Yesterday Vimeo announced that its embedded player will now be able to detect mobile users and stream HTML5 content instead of Flash. Late yesterday Yahoo! said (literally) "iPad, therefore I am".

Using its Mail Blog for the news, Yahoo! said that it is launching an HTML5 version of its mail service for the convenience of iPad users.
"If you’ve used our recently launched HTML5 mobile Web mail for iPhone you’ll feel right at home. We’ve kept all the things users love about our new mobile Web mail experience, while also optimizing for the gorgeous large screen of the iPad," wrote Lee Parry, product manager for Yahoo! Mail.

I can think of three reasons why Yahoo! and Vimeo would do this: one, while the iPad has only been out for less than five months it is clear that Apple's iPad already has enough traction that it has created a new market -- further, Apple is committed to the iPad and has decided it will be a core product; two, although the other hardware makers are running far behind Apple, and are desperate to play catch-up, they will indeed be launching their own tablets soon -- having an HTML5 option ready to go makes a lot of sense; three, you simply can not stop the move to HTML5 -- sorry Adobe.

Meanwhile, there is still a significant segment of the media industry trying to swim upstream, arguing that supporting Apple's platform is some sort of betrayal of their newly found philosophies. Good luck with that.

HBO plans to expand its HBO Go by making its programming available to subscribers via the iPad and other mobile devices at no additional. In an interview with Bloomberg, HBO Co-President Eric Kessler said this should be available in six months.

Increasingly, the competition for HBO is not just ShowTime, but now Netflix, as the DVD service moves more and more into streaming content to its subscribers.

Television is soon to feel the same pains caused by transformation that print publishers have felt these past few years. This time, however, print publishers -- if smart -- can be the ones dishing it out.