Adobe Kills Mobile Flash Development, Plans To Focus On HTML5

It hasn't even been 12 months since multiple manufacturers were positioning Adobe Flash support as a centerpiece of their tablet strategies. Flash, we were told, was required for a "full Internet experience," and vital to the presentation of rich content. Today, Adobe dropped a bombshell. From this point forward, "We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry
PlayBook." Adobe will continue to provide bug fixes and security updates for all versions of Flash across all products; Flash licensees are free to continue working on their own implementations as well.

Adobe's justification for the move is that 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." Various pundits have trotted out technical explanations for why Flash is a terrible solution that deserves to be shot at dawn and buried—possibly next to all those ET cartridges Atari dumped in the desert. The real reason Adobe has pulled out from the market, however, has less to do with emotional reactions and more to do with market realities.

The iPad has defined the nascent tablet market, and the iPad doesn't have Flash. That's it. Flash's current mobile flavors have problems, but you don't quit and walk away from an entire market because your early products have issues. A year ago, Adobe and its partners were aggressively arguing that website developers who wanted to provide rich media to tablet users should rely on Flash to do so, just as they'd done in order to reach the desktop/laptop segments. The only way that strategy would work long-term is if Flash-equipped tablets actually gained traction. They didn't. Worse, they failed so completely, Adobe can't even justify its own participation as a second string or alternative option.

That whole "Web Without Limits" idea didn't exactly catch on -- and it's not just the PlayBook's fault.

If Flash had begun to catch in tablets, Adobe could've argued that it provided various improvements and capabilities that HTML5 couldn't match. Instead, the focus is now on developing content that can be viewed across an entire spectrum of devices without the need for bifurcated delivery systems or custom content. Killing Mobile Flash is essentially the same as killing it period—it'll just take longer. If Flash can't go everywhere, why should it go anywhere?

Thus far, Adobe is claiming that the desktop/notebook version of Flash will continue to see use as a delivery platform for high-end games and premium video. The company has already hinted that these features may eventually be absorbed by the new standard, however, writing: "we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged. We are super excited about the next generations of HTML5 and Flash.  Together they offer developers and content publishers great options for delivering compelling web and application experiences across PCs and devices."
Via:  Adobe
JDiaz 3 years ago

Interesting theory but it's more likely to be due to the fact MS isn't going to natively support Flash for Windows 8 Metro.

It doesn't matter if something is better if your main customer is switching away from it too!

Though this doesn't mean they won't still try something like merge Flash into HTML5. The Adobe server 4.5 for example can already auto stream Flash video to a iOS compatible format. Along with what they can do with Adobe Air, which Adobe already offers for iOS.

AKwyn 3 years ago

Surpsising... Seeing as how there are still a tons of stuff using Flash and tons of websites that still haven't adopted HTML5... Maybe it's for the best, I mean HTML5 has potential and the only thing that exploited that potential was the iPad because it was using it exclusively. Maybe with Adobe behind it, HTML5 will finally gain traction. Not only in the mobile market, but in the desktop market as well... (When have you seen a major site adopt HTML5 in a major fashion?)

jonation 3 years ago

most sites stick with flash due to its DRM capabilities. HTML5 is pretty open to copyright infringement in that regard

LLeCompte 3 years ago

This doesn't really bother me because I can still use flash on my android phone, and im sure ics will support both. I'm glad adobe finally read the writing on the wall

omegadraco 3 years ago

So Flash is officially dead. As an IT person I feel like this is great. Extra plugins especially ones like Flash that are full of security holes just cause problems.

AKwyn 3 years ago

[quote user="omegadraco"]So Flash is officially dead. As an IT person I feel like this is great. Extra plugins especially ones like Flash that are full of security holes just cause problems.[/quote]

Flash is not dead; repeat, flash is not dead. They're only killing it for the mobile front due to obvious reasons...

Plus when all of these people are complaining about Flash crashing, I used the beta versions for a long time and I have to say, it isn't that bad. It seems like I am the only user who has not had a bad experience with Flash... Seriously.

Doesn't invalidate my comment though, I mean HTML5 needs a major desktop push; a major one.

RSmith 2 years ago

I've never had any issues with Flash Player either, not from Adobe's end anyway.  usually it's a particular website's developers that were supposed to update their site and didn't.  As for issues with display drivers, that's a conflict that AMD and Nvidia take on themselves.  It's not a conflict with Adobe's software, it's the drivers.  Both companies have been dealing with this for a few years now, off and on.  heck, i love Nvidia, but the last 10 sets of drivers have been hit-n-miss as to whether they crash from that or not.  Sometimes they do it out of nowhere at all, same goes for some of the recent AMD drivers.  It's how the drivers are coded to work in conjunction with flash, not flash with the drivers.

Inspector 3 years ago

one more thing to push html5 to everyone :), making things better!

Super Dave 3 years ago

Apple actually did us a favor (YIKES!) by not supporting Flash. You will agree if you've ever experienced one of the dreaded 'Display driver stopped responding'' error messages and discovered, after many wasted hours of troubleshooting, that it was Flash-related. Flash works most of the time, but when it doesn't work you can burn a lot of time trying-out different drivers - to no avail! 

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

"I Agree. Good riddance to flash.  Steve Jobs is sticking his tongue out from above."

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