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Adobe will no longer develop Flash Player for mobile browsers

According to a report from ZDNet, Adobe has announced that it is ceasing development of Flash Player for mobile devices and will instead focus on HTML5. Although the move isn't exactly unexpected, it’s still a slight shock to the system.
 
Apple, which leads in tablet shipments and has a sizable share of the smartphone market, has been a big proponent of HTML5. Apple has made it a point to completely ignore Flash for mobile devices and it appears that Adobe has finally gotten the hint that open standards are the way of the future.
 
Adobe released the following statement to ZDNet:
 
Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.
 
This means that the numerous Android devices out there that rely on Adobe's Mobile Flash Player plugin will no longer receive feature upgrades. Users can only now expect the occasional security update to fix vulnerabilities.
 
It's no secret that the late Steve Jobs was no fan of Adobe Flash. The tech visionary railed against Flash and said on numerous occasions that it would never, ever appear on any of Apple's iOS-based mobile devices. Jobs complained about security risks, battery life, and the proprietary nature of Flash.
 
In April of last year, Jobs wrote an open letter entitled "Thoughts on Flash" in which he explained:
 
We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.
 
He continued, adding:
 
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
 
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen later responded to Jobs' rage, saying that Jobs was putting up a smokescreen and that Apple was truly the one stifling development on mobile platforms. Narayan also went on to refute the claims that Adobe Flash hampers battery life.
 
In the end, it looks as though Jobs won this battle. It's just unfortunate that it wasn't alive to say, "I told you so" as we know he certainly would have done.

Updated 11/9/2011 @ 10am EST
Adobe has confirmed the move to abandon Flash Player for mobile devices. The statement on the company's Flash Blog includes an expanded version of the snippet released to ZDNet:

Adobe is all about enabling designers and developers to create the most expressive content possible, regardless of platform or technology. For more than a decade, Flash has enabled the richest content to be created and deployed on the web by reaching beyond what browsers could do. It has repeatedly served as a blueprint for standardizing new technologies in HTML.  Over the past two years, we’ve delivered Flash Player for mobile browsers and brought the full expressiveness of the web to many mobile devices.

However, HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively.  This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.

Sources: ZDNet, Adobe Blog



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When will they give up on the desktop market?
By mydogfarted on 11/9/2011 9:18:39 AM , Rating: 1
It is crap on the phones, it is crap on my Windows and Mac machines. Flash needs to go period. It was great for a long time, but you never know if an update is going to work or not.




RE: When will they give up on the desktop market?
By Devenish on 11/9/2011 10:01:13 AM , Rating: 4
Flash was never the true problem, but what the end user suffered from was the result of an easy platform with a low barrier of entry to develop for that attracted knowledge poor developers and bad coding practices.

Don't worry soon enough HTML5 will annoy us all and it will be a plug-in we can't turn off.


By jimbojimbo on 11/9/2011 10:14:12 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I liked Flash with what it could do but when many websites decided that their main page would just be one gigantic Flash object that took forever to load up in the first place it was the biggest pain in the ass.


By erple2 on 11/12/2011 12:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
The real problem is the same crap that everyone had to go through with HTML 3, CSS and whathaveyou. As a developer, I can certainly complain about the sheer volume of time it has taken to get various web browsers to "look right" with our product. Do you honestly think that's going to change with HTML5?

Standards for CSS and HTML have existed since they originally came out. Browsers that don't completely support those standards have been the norm. IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox 3.x, 4.x+, Chrome, Safari, and "other" (Sorry Opera) never quite handle things the same. Even Chrome and Safari can't render the same page the same way all the time, and they're based on the same codebase! You think this is going to change with HTML5? If so, I hear there's a bridge in New York that's for sale.

As much as it pains me to say it, Flash did one thing particularly well - "standards compliance". Yes, the "standards" weren't actually industry standards (they were Adobe's Standards), but in general, I didn't have to worry about a page looking the same on IE vs. Firefox vs. Mac vs. PC. It all more or less worked correctly. At least, in my experience.


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