Adobe confirmed what reports were saying all morning: It’s done with the Flash Mobile Player and has now thrown its lot in with the HTML5 crowd — for mobile at least.
“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,” wrote Danny Winokur, Adobe VP and general manager for interactive development in a blog entry this morning.
The company that built Flash and famously fought with Apple CEO Steve Jobs on the necessity for its support on all mobile devices now contends that HTML5 is the right path for mobile devices and its developer partners. “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,” wrote Winokur.
Flash is not dead. Adobe knows there are millions of Flash developers out there right now who want to port their products to mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad — which famously do not support Flash. For them, Adobe will work with developers to package their products with Adobe Air, a runtime that lets them deploy standalone applications on a variety of platforms without the need for a Flash player.
Flash Player support for mobile browsers will end after version Flash Player 11.1 (which has yet to be released) and then Adobe will focus on bug and security updates for “existing device configurations.”
While Adobe is not walking away from Flash, the post makes it clear the future of the software is married to HTML5. The upcoming Flash Player 12 will offer new features “for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged.”
The post then adds, “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.”
Over the last six months, Adobe has added more robust cross-platform mobile development features to Flash Professional and added native iOS streaming to Flash Media Server. This aligns with our past conversations with Adobe, which included a strong commitment to Flash as a development platform separate from a technology stack.
Overall, it’s a belated victory of sorts for the late Steve Jobs who railed against the use of what he saw as a buggy, security hole-ridden platform on mobile devices. What’s unclear, though, is what Flash’s exit from the mobile arena means for Flash’s long-term, overall survival.
What do you think? Is Adobe giving up too soon on the Flash Mobile Player, or has it made the right decision? Tell us in the comments.
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