Adobe throws in the towel on mobile Flash, retreats into gaming

Adobe has announced the complete withdrawal of Flash Player for Android, and is advising users who have previously downloaded the plug-in to uninstall it because of “unpredictable behaviour” when used with the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean). Adobe says that it is no longer actively developing Flash Player for Android, BlackBerry or Symbian. And of course, it never did offer it on iPhones or iPads, as a result of Steve Jobs’ famous rejection of Flash in favour of HTML5, or on Windows Mobile.

This means that Flash will no longer work in browsers on any mobile device — the culmination of Adobe’s long retreat in this area.

Adobe says in a recent blog: “HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.” Of course, now that Flash isn’t supported at all on mobile platforms, few developers are going to use it at all — given that mobile devices will shortly outnumber desktop devices, and one of their most popular uses is web browsing.

Putting a brave face on it, Adobe says that it will increase investment in HTML5 and “innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video” — two areas where Flash still has the edge on HTML5, for now.

It remains to be seen whether Adobe can repurpose its Flash/Flex development tools and come up with something that actually adds value for HTML5 developers. Failing that, this looks like the end of Adobe’s long, bold, but ultimately doomed attempt to be a major web player.


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