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Adobe officially pulls the plug on Flash for mobile

Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash), multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages is well known to computer users. Android devices have been supporting Flash for a long time now, in fact it has been one of the features that sets it apart from Apple’s iOS platform, which hasn’t supported Flash since its launch.

Google had highlighted Flash support with its Honeycomb release for tablet and Samsung, which included Honeycomb on its Galaxy Tab tablets, made Adobe Flash a stand-out feature for its Galaxy Tab 10.1 campaign, but it’s all slated to end. In June, Adobe had made it public that they would be limiting access to Flash on August 15th, and the day is here.

After a long battle with Apple to include Flash player in its mobile operating system so that iOS users can view Flash ads and interactive websites and content created using Flash technology, the Cupertino based technology giant rejected the offer citing various performance and security issues which surround Flash, and decided to stick with HTML5. Adobe, the maker of popular software like Photoshop, found its home in Android and RIM’s BlackBerry Tablet OS with the PlayBook. Despite what seemed like a victory, Adobe’s stand was short lived and it decided to abandon development of Flash on mobile. The company decided to evolve itself with a new strategy, a new plan, and a new direction.

“Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.” – said Adobe in an announcement previously

Adobe has reportedly changed its focus from software to research and marketing investments in digital strategy.

“Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th.” – Said Adobe

Starting tomorrow, Adobe Flash for Android will no longer be available for users via Google Play Store. It is worth noting how Adobe ended its support for Flash in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in June.

“We have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options. There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1.” – Said Adobe

All it means is that the devices running latest version of Android, the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean won’t be capable of streaming Flash videos and like Apple devices, these Android devices will have to rely on HTML 5 in order to load interactive content.

Now that Adobe is also stopping development of Flash on older Android versions as well, the users of such devices won’t be able to install the software on 15th onwards. Should you wish to use this platform on your Android device running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or below, you can download the application now from here (the app is available at the time for writing) before it goes down. Though the application will be taken off the list, users will continue to receive critical bug and security fixes.
With Flash off the development list, the company will direct its focus on new avenues such as gaming, HTML5, and premium video content. It is important to know that development of Flash has been halted only for mobile devices and development effort for Flash on PCs will continue to take place.

All this isn’t surprising as the battle between HTML5 and Flash had made it apparent that the end for Flash is near. While Android supported Flash, Steve Jobs and Apple decided to go ahead with much newer open standard, the HTML5, leaving iPhone and iPad owners without access to lots of interactive content that has been created using Flash. After Adobe’s announcement about change in their business strategy, when Google launched Chrome for Android arrived, it didn’t support Flash and Microsoft has already announced that Windows Phone 8 will have limited Flash support. Flash on mobile era has come to an end and the future will be left in the hands of HTML5.

Non availability of Flash on mobile platforms shouldn’t impact much as many websites have already switched to HTML 5, and all the new smart devices have browsers that support HTML 5. For those web services which haven’t switched to the open web standard, they will do soon or risk losing valuable visitors from mobile devices. What are your thoughts on Adobe’s move? Share your words using the comment form below.

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