Adobe stops mobile Flash development, will focus on HTML5

By on November 9, 2011, 12:08 PM

In a rather unexpected move, Adobe has told developers that it no longer plans to develop future versions of its Flash Player for mobile browsers, and will instead focus on HTML5 and other web technologies. ZDNet broke the news earlier today but it has since been confirmed in an official blog post at Adobe's website. The last version of Flash Player for mobile devices will be 11.1, which is due out soon for the BlackBerry PlayBook and Android devices.

The company had long touted the benefits of Flash over HTML5 but not everyone agreed -- most notably Steve Jobs, who maintained that Flash media streaming technology isn't suited for use on low-power mobile devices. Following Apple's decision to leave Flash out of their popular iPhone and iPad devices, web developers quickly started moving away from Flash to HTML5 -- or at least ensuring support for HTML5 alongside Flash.

"Over the past two years, we've delivered Flash Player for mobile browsers and brought the full expressiveness of the web to many mobile devices," said Danny Winokur, Adobe's vice president of interactive development. "However, 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."

Besides increasing their investment in HTML5, Adobe said it will put resources toward giving Flash developers the tools to turn their Flash files into native apps for mobile operating systems with Adobe AIR. The company also reassured users that it would continue development on Flash Player for the desktop, with version 12 already in development.

But the decision still raises a question mark over the future of Flash on desktop PCs. Dropping mobile Flash support could limit the appeal for developers to continue supporting the platform on their desktop sites. Meanwhile, Flash's receding relevance on the web as a result from this might discourage users from installing the plug-in on their machines, especially considering the somewhat frequent security and performance issues it has been known for.

That said, Flash isn't dead yet and Adobe believes it still has a place in gaming with its support of hardware accelerated 3D graphics. On the mobile front, however, Android device makers will have to stop advertising the "full" web as an advantage over iOS. Judging by Apple's iPhone and iPad sales, it seems a lot of consumers never cared much about Flash anyway.

User Comments: 15

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Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Today is not April 1st?

I must say this news makes me absolutely smile, as the saying went after they dropped support for Linux x64 for a while;

"Now they only need to discontinue the Windows, MAC OS and mobile versions and the web will be a better place"

This surely is a step in the right direction!

Oh, and just a little nitpick, "somewhat frequent security and performance issues it has been known for."

That's like saying when it pours the rain drops hit the ground "somewhat frequently"

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Flash made possible a lot of cool technologies and websites in the early Internet, now it's time has come and it should die peacefully

Guest said:

Per Hansson: You really don't have a clue do you? The "Flash Player" is not going away or "dieing" as the other ***** mentioned. Before you stand on that soapbox read up on it. The Flash Player and it's tools are conforming to the desktop adding in 3d gaming and realtime. Deal with it.

Guest said:

The guest above is the very reason anonymous posting should be banned from this great site. Some people just have too much hatred in them to be allowed to speak and combat two perfectly pertinent opinions.

Flash is way past its time indeed. It's slow, it's buggy, exploits thrive on it, updates are slow and usually add more bugs, x64 versions have been ignored for years, on both Linux and Windows.

HTML5 does all that, it's safer and it's universal, not the property of some silly company that installs tons of crap without the user's consent. Their products are awful lately.

Guest said:

oh what a glorious day !!! :D

Guest said:

The problem with html5 is programmers will try to design and animate. They better get some good tools that non-programmers can use. I keep "hearing" and toying with first releases and beta software but they all lack the good solid and proven Adobe toolset. Sure the Flash Player is buggy but their tools are the best, hands down. The guest above has a valid point...the fact Adobe is doing just that, changing Flash's direction. Not sure why you want to just ban someone for a valid opinion no matter how passionate they may be about it. Sounds like a 1980's attitude.

Guest said:

"HTML5 does all that, it's safer and it's universal,"

Oh really? And you speak from a developer's perspective? So the HTML5 spec is finalized and all web browsers conform to the HTML5 standard 100%?

care to backup that claim?

tonylukac said:

Flash streaming without hardware acceleration (I guess) delivers about 5 frames per second in my new htpc. They really expect high end video cards for such a setup; costing as much as the entire setup for the card itself not for gaming--just watching tv? Perhaps I actually have hardware acceleration. It is difficult to determine (before building) what software is used by the streamers and what motherboards have adobe hardware acceleration onboard, if any (too technical). I am somewhat disappointed in my project in that it has to cost more that $1000 when the tvs now cost about $500. This dopiness is entirely due to adobe. Perhaps I should have squelched my building interest and bought a roku or boxee box; altho I wonder if they have the same problems. The final complaint is that on existing (5 year old) computers the video isn't even visible.

Guest said:

There are some amazing Flash and Silverlight built rich web apps out there that truly eclipse anything possible with the current HTML5. Not to mention that the development environments are far better as well and encourage better code.

Any of you foolish enough to think the mish-mash of browser\html5\java script \PHP-C# etc. server side is somehow more secure, better performing, more compatible, more productive, and cleaner coding need to have your heads examined.

Jibberish18 said:

There is some much crap surrounding Flash, I don't know what to think of it. I just know a few things for sure. It runs crappy on Android. Runs super crappy on OSX. Runs great on Windows. Now, does it run crappy on Android because it's not optimized or because it really is a resource and power hog? Does it run crappy on OSX because it does not have proper API's or because its sort of a port over from Windows? Why does Windows run it so well but no one else? The things mentioned are all things I've heard.

I don't know if Adobe is leaving the mobile game because they can't get their act together with Flash Mobile or because the bandwagon is almost entirely on HTML5 now, but if it's the 2nd, then why does it take them so long to get something done for heavens sake?

I'd also like to mention, I've seen some sights done EXTREMELY well with Flash.

Guest said:

I don't know why there are so many haters of Flash.

It brought so many new innovations and enjoyment to the internet. It helped lead the way of a more dynamic internet experience for a long time.

I bet not one here is innocent of procrastinating from playing a flash game online when they should of being doing work instead.

I for one is sad to see Flash go but I am excited to see what they come up with for HTML5. Either way, java script  and actionscript are basically the same so the conversion will be easy. for Flash developers.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Guest said:

I don't know why there are so many haters of Flash.

Maybe this can shed some light on it: [link]

Guest said:

Flash is not going away. Mobile Flash is. Flash on your desktop and in your browser is not. FlashLite and the ability to export iOS and Android native apps is dead. = Facts. Stop trolling and do something productive today.

Guest said:

Mac Os X = 1, Flash Player = 35

Guest said:

Sorry for all. HTML5 has no features like Flash. It will never become a standard. Then, put the Flash back.

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