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Print 58 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Nov 13 at 5:39 PM

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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Best to leave on a high note IMO
By quiksilvr on 11/9/2011 9:46:12 AM , Rating: 3
Flash 11 is essentially the final hurrah. They did everything they wanted to do. Full hardware acceleration across all platforms. 64 bit support. Small footprint. Low CPU and power usage. Ridiculous 3D capabilities.

Obviously they can further improve on the engine if they wish, but transitioning to HTML5 is a sensible move. It needs a lot of work but once perfected, HTML5 will simply work throughout everything without Adobe having to waste time developing and tailoring to every platform.




RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By phatboye on 11/9/2011 10:01:56 AM , Rating: 2
The article states that Adobe will cease development on mobile platforms, it does not say anything about the desktop market. This may not be Flash's final hurrah.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By 91TTZ on 11/9/2011 10:36:43 AM , Rating: 4
Nobody in their right mind is going to make a website that works on desktops but doesn't work on tablets or cell phones, especially when there's an easy way (HTML5) to make a website that works on both.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By ElderTech on 11/9/2011 12:16:21 PM , Rating: 5
Whoopee!!! No more flash cookies and the necessity of special cleaning tools to remove them easily.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By TheRequiem on 11/9/2011 1:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well now that Steve Jobs isn't around to taunt Adobe, they no longer have incentive to oppose html 5. Now, it's a good idea. =)


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By Solandri on 11/9/2011 3:56:46 PM , Rating: 5
Adobe already saw the writing on Flash's wall long before the iPhone came out. HTML5 was already in the works, because it's better to put most of the Flash-like features people were using into a standard rather than a plug-in.

What the spat with Apple was about was how to make the transition. Adobe/Google/Android felt it should be left up to users and developers. They could continue to use Flash or phase it out in favor of HTML5 as quickly or slowly as they wanted.

Jobs felt it was Apple's decision to make. They decided to drop Flash support, and their users/developers would have to go along with it be it willingly, or kicking and screaming.

Apple has a history of being very aggressive about phasing out support for what they deem to be obsolete technologies and standards. They were the first to drop 3.5" floppies even though they introduced them. They started phasing out support for PowerPC binaries just 3 years after they switched to Intel, and completely dropped support 5 years after the switch. They're currently in the process of eliminating optical drives.

That is just Apple's way. They decide what's best for you, and you learn to live with it. That's not to say this is necessarily a bad thing. Intel's continued support for the x86 architecture (who still runs DOS programs?) prevents them from implementing some simple optimizations to their CPU designs. It holds them back, while Apple is not weighed down by having to support something that hasn't been sold for 5 years. It's a trade-off between backwards compatibility and transitioning quickly, with no one right answer. Apple just happens to be far on the side of transitioning quickly.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By TheRequiem on 11/9/2011 6:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yet, they still don't support Blu-ray, which is now an International HD optical format standard (with dvd sales continuing to decline). I understand the whole digital transformation thing and them wanting to push iTunes, however, all my HD films on iTunes are from Blu-Ray bundles... I don't see Digital HD films becoming a reality for a very long time. Also of note, we still don't have a clear standard for HD (lossless) music.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By Da W on 11/10/2011 11:08:31 AM , Rating: 1
Blue Ray is a proprietary format. Apple will never adopt a third party's proprietary format.
And this is the reason why Blue ray will never reach the same wide audiance that DVD has. HD streaming will come sooner than Sony expected.


By TheRequiem on 11/10/2011 11:15:32 AM , Rating: 3
Blasphemy! DVD was a propietary format as well! It was developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic. Btw, it's Blu-ray not Blue Ray. Digital HD is not coming sooner then expected, this was advised by people like you 5 years ago when blu-ray was still competing with HD-DVD. The only thing in my mind that can threaten Blu-ray sales is streaming HD, but when I look at blu-ray sales (which are still growing at a fast rate, btw), I don't feel this is the case. This is a moment when Apple is just actually being stubborn.


By PrezWeezy on 11/9/2011 1:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
You assume every web developer out there is in their right mind.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 11/9/2011 10:05:52 AM , Rating: 2
Flash Player for desktops is continuing, and they are currently developing Flash 12

http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2011/11/flash...


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By CU on 11/9/2011 10:34:26 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see how this will work. I expect and I assume most users expect websites to work and look the same on my phone, tablet, and desktop. But if flash is only on desktops this cannot happen. So, either you don't use flash, or you have to develop two websites. I think killing mobile flash will kill the desktop version eventually. If speed was the problem, the mobile hardware will only get faster, and that problem would have fixed itself in a year or two anyway. I just don't get it.

Plus what happens to Windows 8 on tablets, flash or no flash? Will it be the only tablet with official flash support? Will this help or enable Windows phones to have flash support?


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 11/9/2011 10:36:42 AM , Rating: 3
This whole debacle reminded me to turn on the HTML5 flag for YouTube in Google Chrome. No more Flash for videos.

But I agree... it seems like the beginning of the end. If you want a consistent experience across all devices, Flash is gonna have to go.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By Paj on 11/9/2011 11:23:29 AM , Rating: 3
The problem is that phones do not, and probably never will have, the same capabilities as desktops in terms of physical interaction. A touchscreen is not a mouse + keyboard, and as long as this holds true, there will always be a case for desktop Flash.

HTML5 and CSS3 is still a long way off being able to make rich online games, which is still a massive industry.

The other reason you will still see Flash is AIR, which essentially packages Flash content as a standalone executable. This makes it far, far easier to develop apps without advanced coding skills. Even iOS have allowed AIR apps since 2010, and its user base is growing.


By TakinYourPoints on 11/9/2011 8:40:14 PM , Rating: 1
This has already been happening for years. There is no lack of video content on iOS, even things like live streaming are widely supported. Flash was already well on the way out for website navigation and effects in the late 2000s, so again it is a non-issue.

As for work on the backend, that work is also minimized as the video is all h.264 anyway, the only difference is the video container.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By 91TTZ on 11/9/2011 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
Let's see, I can add content on my website using Flash 12 that will only display on desktops, or I can add content using HTML5 that will display on desktops, tablets, and cell phones.

I wonder which one I should use?


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By Fritzr on 11/9/2011 3:24:10 PM , Rating: 2
If you are using AIR to to create a standalone executable, then Flash remains usable. Advertisers though will likely abandon Flash as their ads will show up as <broken link> on mobile devices without Flash support.

Now that Adobe is dropping mobile Flash the advertisers no longer have the hope that Apple will drop their proprietary non-support of Flash and join the rest of the mobile world in supporting it.


By kleinma on 11/9/2011 1:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
Flash is dead. No mobile device support, no IE metro support...

Adobe sees the writing on the wall, they just can't up and abandon it just yet. As their tools get better to port existing flash projects to HTML5, they will slowly kill flash off totally and focus on HTML5 tools.

Even if you don't like adobe flash, it sort of sucks that Apple can go around killing off whatever products it wants by not supporting it.


RE: Best to leave on a high note IMO
By Taft12 on 11/10/2011 10:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
Brandon, they laid off 750 people including of them core Flash team.

It is officially a dead-end and will be treated as such by the industry starting today (make that yesterday)


By tecknurd on 11/9/2011 5:38:34 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Flash 11 is essentially the final hurrah. They did everything they wanted to do. Full hardware acceleration across all platforms. 64 bit support. Small footprint. Low CPU and power usage. Ridiculous 3D capabilities.

Obviously they can further improve on the engine if they wish, but transitioning to HTML5 is a sensible move. It needs a lot of work but once perfected, HTML5 will simply work throughout everything without Adobe having to waste time developing and tailoring to every platform.

Please tell me this is sarcasm because this is not true at all.

One thing hardware acceleration probably works well on Windows, but besides that it kinda eh. Under Linux, hardware acceleration for Flash has never worked reliable and not stable. Mainly, I have hardware acceleration turned off. Of all the Adobe Flash versions, version 9 works the best for me. When 10 and to the latest, Flash has just gotten worst and worst.

I would not say HTML 5 is best path either. It probably the first version that is including proprietary features that could cause headaches to deliver or share web browsers. If HTML 5 is introduced and proprietary features are not left out, web browsers may have to bought at stores. Everybody can thank Apple, Google, and Microsoft for making HTML 5 cost money to use.

FYI, Adobe is taking away the Flash player plug-in for mobile devices, but Flash is still can be used on mobile devices using Adobe Air. I do not think this is a win of Adobe Flash is being rid of on a computer based device. Until web designers stop using Flash for their sites, unfortunately Flash is here to stay.


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