Adobe Cancels Flash for Mobile Browsers in Favor of HTML5

November 9, 2011, By George Lang

Adobe Corporation has decided to quit the unwinnable fight over browser-based multimedia content production formats for mobile devices. Open-source HTML5 is ubiquitous in the industry while Adobe Flash has been befuddled, as reported in earlier Dev-Mag articles, by security issues, memory utilization issues, and power drain issues.

For Flash developers, this is a huge announcement and ripples are already surging through serious technophiles and software engineers. For example, after a few negative posts like the following, Adobe decided to stop allowing comments on their formal announcement page:

“This is a poor decision by Adobe.  Despite all the negative press about Flash on mobile devices most content distributors are very content to deliver live audio and video in Flash.  In most cases we only fall back on HTML 5 to support iOS devices using HLS streaming.  The current functionality of HTML 5 is simply not on par with Actionscript.

“This announcement is going to scare content creators and force distributors to look for alternatives to Flash streaming.  With such a dominant footprint on PC’s and Android devices why would you quit to become just another provider of app creation software?

“Sites like Techcrunch and CNN are already picking up this post and raking Adobe over the coals.  Stop letting Apple back the bus up over you and fight back.  Do not stop developing Flash for mobile devices!”

Mike Vitale
VP, Operations
TalkPoint Communications

The impact on multimedia educational content could be detrimental as well. Much of the interactive online learning materials are written in Adobe Flash.

For the average mobile consumer who might not understand what Adobe Flash is, imagine you bought an 8-track tape of your favorite Pink Floyd album back in 1974; it’s now 1989 and your only 8-trac player just broke and you will never listen to that tape again! Mobile Flash was compiled in millions of mobile smartphones over the past few years; and, if you have purchased subscriptions to content written in Adobe Flash for mobile devices, you will not be able to ever use them again once that phone dies.

Adobe has assured us that it will continue to honor its prior commitments to its developing partners as well as support iterations up to Flash version 11.1 with security updates and fixes. “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” (Adobe). It will also continue to develop Flash for mobile apps created with Adobe Air. None-the-less, this a major announcement from one of the biggest and most legendary players in computer software history, and it has ramifications that will ring loudly through the halls of technoville!

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