Adobe Flash Player

Adobe this morning confirmed a ZDNet report that Flash Player would be going the way of the dinosaurs, marking a fairly major shift in the company's mobile strategy. Instead, Adobe will focus on AIR for cross-platform mobile applications, and to ramp up its contributions to HTML5 -- with which it also had been working all along.

Writes Danny Winokur, VP and GM of interactive development at Adobe:

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.

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 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.  We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations.  We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.

So that's that. Flash Player will live on in the traditional browser space. But for our smartphones, HTML5 and the mobile web will rule.

Source: Adobe

 
There are 63 comments

Jet300 says:

So this means Steve Jobs was right all along? Wow.

xemtra says:

eh sorta. all the dual core phones released this year run flash fine imo. but previous gen did not. i dunno whats wrong w/ having web flash?

dyinman says:

Nothing is wrong with having web flash. Apple's decision was just another one of Steve Jobs' pouty grudges. Apple fanboys just can't admit they were jealous they couldn't access as much of the web as others.

Gee says:

Stop hating, he was right. HTML5 video runs perfectly fine on old ARM7 sub 1GHz phones. Flash video runs choppy and eats right through the battery on those. Quad cores can probably now run HD flash video and very, very smoothly play regular but it's still eats through the battery, and why do we need that much resources when HTML 5 video is lighter regardless of what chip you have? Might as well do it right then just throwing a bunch of CPU cycles at the problem.

Eitherway 99% of flash content is developed for the desktop and thus is a usability nightmare on mobile displays. Newer HTML 5 content is being developed with flexibility or with mobile specifically in mind.

HTML 5 is just better a solution, might as well start going through it's growing pains now so that we get to experience a richer more efficient web 5 years down the road both mobile, tablet and desktop wise.

Shaides says:

flash runs just fine on dual core phones..

it's not about whether it ran fine, it was about the future of the internet. Flash? or HTML5? Well it turns out, HTML5 wins.

Not hard to see why. Apple didn't want it, as HTML5 would be capable of the same things. Apple still has a large percentage of internet browsing users (now 61% mobile views http://www.slashgear.com/apple-ios-owns-mobile-browser-share-at-over-61-...).

Sites lean toward HTML5 because they want to provide the best site for ALL their visitors. Plus, HTML5 is FREE, while Flash is proprietary ($$$$).

psychart says:

The answer is Open-Source my friend.
Flash can be tremendously fast(I'm a flash/client side(js)/server side developer) and you can do many complex games/apps.
But the most appealing technologies are Open-Source technologies. Flash gives you the feeling of being blocked (or controlled).
However I find it the best environment for building things. (flash and air)

CeluGeek says:

Nope. This is just Apple proving they are the new Microsoft, if not worse. "We don't want it, so we won't have it and nobody else needs to have it either." and "We want it so we have to have it, and everybody else will have to 'copy' us so we can sue them."

Honestly though, Flash needs to go away even on the desktop. Flash is still a processor hog and is a battery killer for laptops. They came way too late to the x64 Windows party too. If Adobe wants to kill Flash, they should kill it everywhere, not just for the mobile platforms that didn't want to play by Steve Jobs' rules.

dyinman says:

I agree that if they want to kill part of it, they should kill all of it. As for the part about Flash being a processor hog... so is HTML5. I can't wait 'till we have a bajillion HTML5 ads loading on pages and hear people moan about how much CPU HTML5 takes up.

Animating with Javascript is a terrible idea. It wasn't made for it. They keep speeding it up but my god, just a little scrolling script still tanks my CPU even in the fastest browsers.

Flash as a platform is fine. It's the abuse of it and blaming the platform for poorly written applications that is not fine. HTML5 not only does NOT provide the same kinds of features and capabilities as Flash, but once people start porting everything over to it, you'll see. It's going to be a hog too, unless something major changes. Loading 1 application != loading 20 applications as once.

Suntan says:

So do you suppose they intnetionally waited for him to be gone before announcing this change?

-Suntan

Jet300 says:

That thought ran through my mind as well.

Jobs liked Gretzky's quote about skating to where the puck will be, this is a good example.

Jamaicanbob says:

Agreed. It was a futile attempt and I think Adobe knew it wouldn't work out over the long run but they persisted. I'm interested to see how this is spun by the Android faithful. Like it or not Steve Jobs was a true visionary. The iPhone has proven that mobile devices can get along without Flash just fine.

lazysod says:

FFS I hope google take mobile flash over....

Stang68 says:

At least they’re still releasing Flash 11.1. Isn’t that the one that is supposed to bring"1000x" better performance?

bousozoku says:

Each one has been bringing that.

Unfortunately, they didn't fix the root problem--the runtime performance--that's been a problem since before Macromedia bought Flash.

jonyah says:

As much as I hate flash, I've always hated Apple more. Oddly I was routing for flash in this war just because of that hatred. I'm not sad to see flash go though, but some of my favorite sites better get on the bandwagon soon because it's going to suck trying to do my fantasy football at nfl.com without flash. At least they fixed the navigation this year away from using flash. I can name another dozen sites I use regularly that are still stuck on flash navigation, but hopefully they just get things changed quickly.

I guess firefox on android won't be looking so bad now with it's lack of flash.

TallyHo says:

Calm down there tiger. You still have flash on your phone and Adobe isn't going to come take it away. They are simply not going to put out new releases. All your favorite flash sites (re. porn...errr nfl.com) will be going this route as well in the near future. Jobs was right, flash is slowly dieing out. So, until the web fully adopts HTML5 over flash, enjoy what you have and I'm sure you can continue to install the current flash apk on your phones.

engineer2001 says:

Not all Flash-based web content is pr0n-related. Plenty of sites use Flash for critical functions and don't have a mobile equivalent. Plus, the YouTube app blows and says over half the videos are "not available for mobile." This is a huge blow for Android whether people have realized it yet or not.

TallyHo says:

1. they said they are going to continue to maintenance on current relaeases including security flaws, so that point is moot
2. The ENTIRE web is shifting to HTML5 and away from Flash. Until all sites move to HTML5, you still have your flash player in the market that will continue to get support.....so that point is moot.

This really is not a big deal at all. Big picture people!!!!!! Flash is going on away, not just on mobile. Yes, it will take time for everyone to convert over, but we are covered with the current app until then.

ugh....some people just can't see things at the strategic level....all tactical. (yes military reference lol)

bumpandrun says:

Didn't they say they were going to continue to develop flash for desktops though? won't that mean that when sites build using the new flash that it won't be compatible with a mobile device? The one good thing I see that may come from this is more sites will create apps instead of mobile web site.

TallyHo says:

That's what people are not understanding. The web is shifting to HTML5. Now, that doesn't mean flash content won't still exist, but it will start co-existing in the near future. you will have both for a while, then developers will just move to HTML5.....it's too much more efficient for them not to. Jobs was a smart dude, he saw this coming and refused to allow flash on his devices as it tears through battery life (processor heavy app).

Webiste know they have to cater to mobile devices. iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch) have never had flash and they are a huge market for developers. Android is even bigger world wide. With flash support going away on mobile, developers will have no choice but to start implementing HTML5. It's not like they will ignore the mobile users. Those that have foward thinking tech leadership have already gone this route.

bumpandrun says:

I guess it depends on how fast the web shifts. I hope you are right.

engineer2001 says:

Yeah, I hope he's right too. I don't like mobile sites now - they usually have very little functionality. I hope people completely ditch Flash, even for desktop browsers.

beantown says:

so what does this mean: "Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations"...does it mean third parties can pick up where Adobe leaves off in the Flash for mobile department?

Kaptain75329 says:

Only a matter of time before the desktop follows suit.. really looks like Web Developers are going to wind up embracing HTML5 and its future iterations going forward. No doubt for the time being, Flash will be a stop gap to bring content that cannot otherwise be delivered, but as HTML and other more robust technologies continue to advance, they will likely replace Flash on the desktop in the long run. Web admins are not going to want to maintain two versions of the same site, and we're already seeing that beginning to play out.

Flash is dying on the web, not just on mobile devices.

On the mobile front, Adobe turns to AIR as their strategy. Great idea. AIR apps tend to suck. They lack smoothness, disregard standard UI elements, and are too often laggy with touch response. Load times to even open the app are frustrating. Unless Adobe can address these faults, I don't see many developers flocking to AIR in order to code apps that absolutely must make the best possible impression right from the get go. Adobe AIR, as it stands today, simply doesn't have what it takes to create competing apps that are as robust and livable as native apps. There have been similar grumbles with the desktop equivalents for a few years now.

I think today is the day we can all admit Adobe has some serious problems.

TallyHo says:

By saying they have serious problems, are you suggesting that Adobe's only business line is Flash Player? I seriously doubt this is even a cause for concern for adobe. Yeah, it touches the bottom line, but their application software is much more extensive and profitable.

Kaptain75329 says:

I hope so, because from the outside looking in, the complaints about the desktop side of things are not very encouraging. I could see a day when web devs and other professionals start seriously considering other tools. That said, I'm not remotely making the case that Adobe is going away by any means, but I do think they have some serious issues to work out. Their image and tools are not particularly friendly, and that's just on the outside.

Closer to home, I think Flash has had it's day. Browsers on the desktop don't really need the help (or at least won't soon enough as HTML5 et al matures) and mobile devices will get along fine with HTML5. The missing link on games can be solved with apps; we already do that now.

The time has come for the web to move on to something faster, more secure, and more stable.

engineer2001 says:

Wow, Flash content is a biggie for me.

I use Bank of America's Flash-based ShopSafe app to generate one-time-use credit card numbers (each with a cap and longevity that I specify) for ALL web purchases. It has saved my bacon more than once - with the old cards no longer working when scammers tried to use them or when the original user tried to bill me again without my consent.

Also, the YouTube app BLOWS - over half of the videos I want to watch were just posted, and they always say "not available for mobile" or something if I try to use the app. Plus, there's no DailyMotion app at all that I can find. Nearly all online video content I watch (even here on the Mobile Nations sites) uses Flash-based players.

Bottom line is that if Flash content in the Android browser goes away, I am now in the market for a Windows Phone device (since that whole "oh, but this WP device doesn't have Flash support" factor is now gone). This news just opened up the playing field on my next phone purchase, since even though it technically still works in Android, I can't count on it to work for the entire 2-year contract term. I would look at BlackBerry phones too, but I am not convinced that entire OS/company isn't going to die at this point.

dacp283 says:

Uhmm did you read the entire article? If yiour phone currently supports flash it will continue to Support it... Now if they do away with your above mentioned flash sited because of the change and go to html5 then you still wont have an issue.. complaining for no reason.

engineer2001 says:

Did you read it? It says there will be no more future developments and new devices/chipsets won't be supported.

Plus, you don't think the sites that use Flash are going to continue using it and use newer versions that the stagnant old app in the Market can't support?

I don't care if my current phone supports it - I am not going to sign a new 2-year contract for a device that I chose just to get Flash support when I know it is dying fast. Android is cool and all, but if it can't support Flash in the future, what huge benefit will I see from choosing a new Android phone over a Windows phone (or BlackBerry, if I assume they aren't going to go bankrupt)? Integrated Google Maps with turn-by-turn? The other OSes have their own turn-by-turn navigation. Search? Same thing. Flash was a big, huge, "we have this and no one else does" feature to customers buying a new phone. Pretty much all Google services (maps, shopping, gmail, etc.) can be accessed using other mobile OSes, even if only in the browser.

TallyHo says:

If you choose your phone based on flash support, then um.....I don't know what to tell you. Android is obviously way more than Flash. What made you pick android over RIM? RIM has flash too. i don't see your point and I think you are panicking over nothing.

If flash works on current devices that are getting ICS, then you should have two years of functionality there. By then HTML5 will have taken over anyway.

If not, then I guess you don't get flash at all, as NO PHONES will have it.

Like I said, Android is more than Flash player and has many many advantages over the other platforms in my opinion. If your entire choice of device is based on 3rd party software, then I'm not sure what to tell you. You aren't getting flash mobile for any device not just android.

Have fun on Windows Phone lol.

engineer2001 says:

RIM doesn't have Flash support. Only Android phones (and the Playbook - but not BB phones) support Flash in the mobile space. That made me pick it over RIM.

TallyHo says:

Either way, you are covered man. I promise you won't lose your flash support. It will still be there. Mobile users won't get ignored. This is a change in standards......it's industry wide. Flash is old technology and not efficient. It had to go at some point. Until the conversion, you have your current device (even new one coming out now including GNex, RAZR, Rezound) that will support Flash and will have you covered until everythign is HTML5. That is unless you change phones every 2 months.

I would be willing to bet that processors currently in development, including the Kel Al (sp?) quad cores will still work with current flash versions. Just my thoughts though.

engineer2001 says:

I hope you're right. Oh, and I won't necessarily go with WP7. I had just been ruling it out from lack of Flash, even though I like how it works when I looked at it in the store. This will make me look at it a little harder and not at all rule it out.

threepio says:

What the hell are you buying online that has had you tried to get scammed more than once using a credit card.

engineer2001 says:

It has happened when I purchased gun parts, batteries, computer parts, and more from small online retailers. Bank of America called me each time to confirm that I wasn't an idiot who was trying to use an old card number again. It doesn't necessarily mean the retailers are crooks. Each time you read one of those "card processing center hacked - hundreds of thousands of card numbers possibly compromised" articles, people's card numbers were just scooped up from the processing center the company uses by scammers/crooks. The cards usually sit dormant for a while, then the crooks use your card all at once for online purchases, and they leave you and your credit card company holding the bills.

One example (before I started using ShopSafe): I had a credit card that I only used for Paypal - never used it anywhere else. I only activated it, entered it in Paypal, and locked it in my filing cabinet at home. It was used by crooks to purchase a few small-dollar items online one weekend, then they tried to use it for $2000 at an online retailer. That threw up red flags for the card company, and they called me. They reversed charges on all the purchases, but it taught me that Paypal is NOT secure. So, I use those ShopSafe numbers as funding sources every time I purchase via Paypal.

noszero says:

This is stupid. We spent the last three years waiting for flash on our phones and they get it to work right and then abandon it. Who the hell is driving this bus?

dyinman says:

Everybody calm down. Until people start requiring Flash 12 you won't notice.

TallyHo says:

Which by then HTML5 will be king anyway.

Martian says:

The only reason Flash was ever successful is because it offered features that people wanted beyond what was available through web standards. Now that web standards (HTML5) have caught up (mostly) - flash is no longer very attractive.

Jobs either realized this or got lucky when he choose not to support Flash. Either way it's a win for consumers. When it comes to the web, standards are better than proprietary every time.

In other news HTML5 developers just got really excited about their job prospects.

TallyHo says:

Exactly!!!

Plus it is way easier on processors, hence easier on battery life. Anyone wonder why after watching a few youtube videos in browser their battery is toast? It's flash raping your processor hence raping your battery life.

This is actually a total win for consumers. This will accelerate the HTML5 roll out to a lot of websites as they all have to keep mobile users in mind. Think about it.....even iPads are considered mobile browsers, so this is not a big deal.

Some people just don't understand technology has to change and it is always becoming more efficient.

engineer2001 says:

I agree. If all the sites that use Flash switched to HTML5 (and if it was all supported in the Android browser), that would rock. There wouldn't be even a single bump in the road for me. I know HTML5 is the future, once all the standards get solidified.

I am just worried that the sites won't switch to HTML5 fast enough or at all because Adobe is continuing to develop Flash for desktop browsers. Upgrade path is much easier from one version of Adobe to the next. Adobe says they want developers for desktops to continue using Flash but want those in the mobile space to use HTML5. What have we seen in the past for "mobile site" versions? Anything that can't be done easily with simple HTML/CSS is not included. You get a stripped-down version with only a subset of the features. You have to go to the full site and "pretend to be a desktop browser" to get the current Flash content on most sites now.

I guess the optimal solution would have been if Adobe had killed *all* Flash and forced people to go to HTML5. Maybe this is the first phase?

rexdeaz says:

My next phone won't have Justin.tv or project-free-tv? How is this progress?

desdroid says:

This a major killer app gone from the Android arsenal.
NOTE that Flash continues to develop on the Desktop environment.

Gone also is a major demander of CPU cycles.

I think this means two things:

1. (Less) Need for High power CPUs on Android platform

2. The beginning a two tier web experience. One for Desktops, one for mobile.

Which means we'll be as restricted from a desktop web experience as Apple Mobile products, AND WITHOUT the market sway of APPLE that mitigates and forces some websites to develop specifically for Apple products (ie: APP version of website).

I won't say this is the death of Android as a platform, but it could be a major blow.

Given this I have more reason to buy Windows 8 tablet next instead of Android.

There will always be some websites (ie: Megavideo or anime websites) that only develop for Desktop in mind, they don't care or have the resources to develop a HTML5 / APP for every platform out there.

And EVEN if they were to develop an APP, you know it'll be for Apple platform.

So Android is disadvantaged.

engineer2001 says:

+1 to all of this.

I hope we're wrong and TallyHo (comments seen above) is right.

Maybe Flash will totally die a fiery death and be replaced by HTML5 content that we can all consume - mobile or desktop. I do know that you are right - mobile sites for many websites basically don't exist, and I don't see them being enhanced with content that the main/desktop site doesn't use. If the main sites continue on in the future with (unsupported by mobile browsers - not the one that is currently supported) Flash, Android is getting kicked in the teeth unless Google comes up with some kind of converter that doesn't run in snail-time.

Dperks17 says:

And he said...told ya so

Gee says:

Stop hating, he was right. HTML5 video runs perfectly fine on old ARM7 sub 1GHz phones. Flash video runs choppy and eats right through the battery on those. Quad cores can run probably now run HD flash video and smoothly play regular but it's still eats through the battery, and why do we need that much resources when HTML 5 video is lighter? Might as well do it right, then just throwing a bunch of CPU cycles.

Eitherway 99% of flash content is developed for the desktop and thus is a usability nightmare on mobile displays. Newer HTML 5 content is being developed with flexibility or with mobile specifically in mind.

trenen says:

This should come as no surprise to anyone. Their new Edge program is testament to that.

samab says:

It affects the Android platform more than RIM --- because Adobe does the porting of the Flash player to Android. Now that Adobe stop doing the porting, then the Android platform isn't going to see new versions of Flash.

Adobe continues to develop the desktop version of the Flash player and QNX continues to be a source code licensee. Since QNX already does the porting of the Flash player to the QNX platform themselves --- there is no change to the current working order.

http://blogs.blackberry.com/2011/11/rim’s-commitment-to-support-a-full-web-and-app-experience-today-and-tomorrow/

beantown says:

hummm, makes you wonder if GOOGLE will do the same or not? Well, at least it's good to know that RIM is doing something worth well these days....

engineer2001 says:

Oh wow - just read the linked article (thanks!).

Ok, so BlackBerry PlayBooks and future BB tablets will still have Flash, and only Android phones and tablets are feeling the burn here. I guess Google needs to make their own official Flash port to use in Android like QNX does for BlackBerry, if we're going to get to see the full version of websites that use Flash?

So basically Adobe just said, "we're tired of carrying Android-specific workload and are either leaving it up to Google to take on the cost/burden like BlackBerry does or give up Flash content and bet it all on HTML5 (and potentially lose market share until HTML5 goes mainstream)."

samab says:

The problem is that Android is on a thousand different CPU with a thousand different GPU --- and they all need hardware acceleration.

RIM makes all their cell phones on a single CPU/GPU platform (i.e. Blackberry 7 phones use the same Qualcomm chip) and even if they make all their tablets on a different CPU platform (Playbook has the TI OMAP4 chip) --- that makes porting relatively easy with just 2 CPU to work on.

ReiMei says:

Am I the only one who extracted the apk after this news?

Epic Nerd says:

Hey i found a youtube video that tells you how to make your android battery last longer. If your battery doesn't last that long then watch here at http://www.youtube.com/user/TechSavvyTeenz#p/a/u/0/k7B7Oo-aNcI.

RussBad says:

So the bottom line is, flash will eventually go away for mobile, but it will take websites awhile to adopt HTML5. In the meantime, our Android phones will still be able to view flash content on website AND also be able to see HTML5 websites. Sounds like a win win for us because we are not limited to HTML5 websites only.

projecteddy says:

Actually, this will cripple the Apple ecosystem. If I am not mistaken, HTLM5 will allow developers to develop HTML5 content through browser experience, expand distribution, an perhaps easily replace apps!

trenen says:

HTML5 has always been available and used, and it has had zero effect on the Apple ecosystem - this is a silly statement.

Mathparadice says:

Flash was better when it was macromedia.

pseudoelf says:

This is not predicting the future as it was making it. With a major mobile player rejecting flash out right Jobs set the stage for the demise of flash on mobile devices. Since he was pushing developers to html5,a content that will run on all mobile platforms, he basically incentivized developers to move away from Adobe Flash. So in effect Jobs's rejection of flash as out dated and old tech was a self-fulfilling prediction. If iOS wasn't so successful it would have been meaningless.

Vagish says:

hi all i am very new to all this and my basic questions are
1.does android 2.3.4 plays html5 videos???
2.what if web designers for PC develops a site using latest adobe flash(say 12,13..) are we able to still see it on our android??

blissweb says:

It really annoys me when people say, "Wow, Steve was right", or "Steve was so forward-thinking".

Its neither, its called "self-fulfilling prophecy".

If Steve said the iPhone and iPad is not gonna support HTML5 it would also die.

Basically when he made his Flash hating remarks, Apple dominated the smartphone and tablet market and was on the increase.

And this was coupled with a wimpy, pathetic, baffoon of a CEO over at Adobe who decided to cave instead of fight and become a real software development company.

I'm currently looking for a Flex/Flash replacement which offers half of the speed and maturity and its just a sea of conflicting crappy, low-performance javascript mishmashes.

I like Steve's products. I just wish Adobe had a spine or any kind of techno vision. Instead of just thinking about profit. I hope Adobe goes out of business and that Apple gets back down to 4% market share of everything, where they belong.

Wow... they think that Macs are really doing great in the Desktop market now, increasing sales all the time. But when people stop buying them PURELY to develop App Store apps for the iPhone, they will be back to where they were. Overpriced and on the periphery of the market.

Long live Android and Google. Google, please make a decent OO web language which we can actually USE for the next 10 years or so.
As long as HTML 5 still has the "ML" we're all doomed.

Shaun