NYTimes has chosen Adobe Air for its delivery vehicle for both the NYTimes and Boston Globe digital newspaper editions. The following shows a copy of the Boston Globe digital edition:

This is a big win for Adobe because Microsoft Silverlight and JavaScript with HTML5 are nipping at Adobe heels in the race for RIA predominance. For example, key portions of HTML5 have been implemented in browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera’s Opera, and Apple’s Safari. This means vector and bitmap drawing capabilities, local storage on the client, offline operation, and basic animation are some of the capabilities that will be coming to your PC and mobile phone browsers.

What Adobe Air brings is these HTML5 capabilities already fully implemented plus drag and drop operation with multi-touch and gestures; a full Webkit browser support running HTML+javaScript within the Air Window; operating on all PC clients including Windows 7 , Windows Vista and Windows XP all versions, plus Mac and Linux desktop support. On mobile phones Air runs on Palm’s webOS, and in 2010 will be available for Google’s Android plus Blackberry’s OS.

For developers this is one stop development for delivery running on any PC plus most of the hottest mobile platform less the iPhone. But Steve has to watch out because iPhone developers are disgruntled with the proprietary nature of Objective C which, unlike Adobe Air, runs only on Mac platform. So with the NYTimes digial newspaper, Adobe Air achieves a significant win because the digital paper takes advantage of many of the features still unique to Air [but rapidly diminishing as HTML5 gets fuly implemented]. Being first major mover should allow Adobe to refine Air ahead of the RIA pack – no small advantage. Now the task will be to make Air development more approachable because the ActionScript and FLash/Flex/Air APIs are certainly not trivial.

With this announcement, RIA/RAIA technology now has Air/Flash/Flex as a clear leader; but anyone who suggests the game is over has only to look at the hotly contested smartphone marketplace to see that rapid change is the essence of the game in software and technology.