Adobe Flash on Android Enters Its Final Days As It Drops Jelly Bean Support

Adobe Flash on Android Enters Its Final Days As It Drops Jelly Bean Support

Jul 2, 2012

We can finally say that mobile Flash is dead, as Adobe says that Jelly Bean will officially not support Flash. Now, we’ve known that Adobe had designs on killing mobile Flash for a while now, with limited support for Ice Cream Sandwich, but it is pretty much dead for real now. Of course, Flash on mobile was basically killed by the fact that it was basically forced into obsolescence by Apple not including it in iOS. If iOS was unsuccessful, then Flash on mobile would be a bigger issue.

But, gaming as native apps took off in a huge way. And those who deliver mobile video essentially had to hop on to HTML5 playback for mobile – which Android could latch on to thanks to a similar WebKit foundation and because MPEG-4 has taken hold as a standardized set of codecs. So, mobile Flash wasn’t exactly filling many needs, and the gap was steadily shrinking over time. It got pushed into obsolescence on mobile. With the rise of mobile, and the spread on to bigger screens, this may not bode well for Flash as a whole – if they’re not relevant on mobile, then will they be relevant in the long-term? Adobe has talked about shifting their product feature set to a series of HTML5 tools over time, and it may be the key to Adobe’s survival, if not Flash.

Of course, gaming may yet be the life-support system that Flash runs on. It’s still multi-platform, and many of the web-based free-to-play games rely on it. But where it was once ubiquitious, the day where it becomes a niche piece of software is sooner than ever before. Adobe Air is helping to power some mobile ports of games as well.

Does this have an impact on the influence of Android? After all, if Android couldn’t keep Flash alive, then what does it say about the platform as a whole? Well, I think that it was killed as much by the fact that it became a moot point instead of that Android couldn’t support it, though the fact that it was supported on Froyo and higher, when Android update rates are slow enough as it is, may have harmed its adoption. But political and favorable technological circumstances were the biggest dictator of HTML5 winning out, more so than anything Google and Android could have necessarily done.

Adobe Ends Development on Mobile Flash

Adobe Ends Development on Mobile Flash

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.