Nov 9, 2011
It appears as if Adobe is ready to kill the dream of Flash on mobile devices. Reports are surfacing that Adobe has halted development on mobile Flash.
Of course, the relevance of Flash on mobile has been greatly diminished in part by Apple’s decision to not allow it on iOS. Web sites and services have been influenced, then, to create HTML5 solutions and native apps for theIr services to work on iOS. Even Android, which now has Flash support, doesn’t need it because of its WebKit browser supporting HTML5, and because developers often are willing to bring native apps to the Android Market because of Android’s market share. Flash has become irrelevant.
Inspired by this tweet from @Sharl, the question must now be raised as to the relevance of Flash in the technology industry as a whole. Gaming may be Flash’s savior, long-term, as browser-based games can most easily be distributed by developing in Flash. In fact, this is where Adobe appears to be focusing their efforts, in allowing developers to package their Flash apps as native mobile applications. Machinarium was released on iPad 2 as an Adobe AIR-wrapped application. Age of Defenders has been released with cross-platform iPad 2, Android, and web browser play. This could be the long-term future of Adobe’s products; decreasing the gap between traditional computers and mobile devices. While hardware that can run AIR-wrapped applications is not widespread yet (on the Apple side, an A5 device like the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S appears to be necessary), over time this issue will disappear as people upgrade to newer hardware.
Adobe also appears to be trying to transition into supporting more HTML5 development, and this may be key long-term. HTML5 is clearly the future of the web. Steve Jobs called it last year, and while his actions directly influenced it, it’s time for Adobe to start adapting to the future of the web.