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CEO Avi Muchnick on Why Aviary Distanced Itself from Flash and Pivoted Towards Mobile

avi CEO Avi Muchnick on Why Aviary Distanced Itself from Flash and Pivoted Towards Mobile

Mr. Muchnick, right, with some unidentified broad.

Aviary, the  Made in NYC startup behind a robust suite of editing software,  announced the release of an iPad SDK today. It’s been just a few weeks since Aviary launched its mobile SDK. But as AllThingsD reports, the iPad SDK as well as several new API extensions represents a big pivot away from Flash.

In fact, although Aviary started out by bringing Adobe-esque multimedia editing to Web browsers via Flash, CEO Avi Muchnick says Aviary will no longer be adding to that tool set and will instead focusing on mobile. “It wasn’t part of the road map for the company,”Mr. Muchnick told Betabeat. After watching mobile  grow to 50 percent of overall Aviary usage in just a few weeks, it appears the company is onto something big.

“There was  definitely a shift where more creativity was happening on mobile devices, it just meant that we had to pay more attention to what you could do on mobile apps. Obviously Flash wasn’t working on iOS and iOS was making up a huge percentage of the amount of creativity happening,” explained Mr. Muchnick. “I’m not gonna say that Apple forced the decision for us because it’s not entirely true, but I think regardless it would have made sense if we’re developing apps for iOS to develop them on Apple’s native code. We did the same for Android.”

However, Mr. Muchnick noted, the shift isn’t entirely towards mobile, pointing to the HTML 5 editor Aviary offers on the web. But going forward, he said, “Everything we do is either platform-specific or completely agnostic. There’s no proprietary owner of any of the platforms we develop for.”

The decision to stop developing for Flash also had to do with performance. “Let’s say Apple allowed for Flash to be deployed on iOS devices, we probably still would have built our apps in Objective C, which is Apple’s native code, just because it would have performed better,” said Mr. Muchnick. “Whenever you’re using Flash, you’re basically running it in a virtual machine on your computer. It means there’s a hit in terms of performance because you’re creating a virtual operating system that then runs the Flash software.  So it’s better to just run the software directly on the processor.”

For now, the pivot towards mobile also means prioritizing partnerships. “The way Aviary works now is instead of being a destination site that users go to, we partner with other existing apps that have existing user bases,” he said. “So we don’t have an Aviary standalone app yet, but right now we’re really focused on helping out our partners.”

Where Aviary had 30 launch partners for its iPhone app, the iPad SDK is launching with only two. But Mr. Muchnick said that had to do with the device being less-associated with photo sharing, “You do have a camera built into the iPad 2, but people don’t really use it for that.” Nonetheless, he expects those same iPhone partners to update their offerings using Aviary’s API, so that if users access the partners’ apps on an iPad, they’ll get an iPad specific version.  Sounding optimistic, he added,”I’m curious to see how it will perform. I’d expect more of the same.”

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