Adobe announced via a press release today that it would cease development of the Flash Player for smartphones and tablets, and would shift its focus to HTML5 support for those devices. This decision is due at least in part to Apple's refusal to allow Flash on iOS, making HTML5 the de-facto standard for developers wishing to target the highest number of platforms possible with the least amount of development effort.

Adobe says that it will now focus on enabling Flash apps on mobile devices through its Adobe AIR software, rather than developing plug-ins for specific platforms. The final version of the Flash Player plugin for mobile devices will be 11.1, which will come to Android and the BlackBerry PlayBook soon - following its release, updates will fix bugs and security problems rather than add new features.

Though Flash will likely live on in Adobe's portfolio for the forseeable future (Adobe's announcement confirms that Flash Player 12 is already in development), this change of course marks the beginning of a slow fade from relevance on the desktop as HTML5 becomes more feature-rich and browsers' implementations of it improve. Adobe itself will speed this transition along when it releases the final version of Adobe Edge, its forthcoming HTML5 development software.

Source: Adobe

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • DarkShift - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    As compared to what? If you think about multimedia and games for web, there's really no better alternative than Flash.

    HTML5 in its current state is a big joke compared to what Flash allows. For animation, HTML5 can basically do few fancy jquery effects and thats it. Rendering of multiple graphics objects sucks in speed compared to Flash. Javascript animations consumes much more cpu resources than Flash Player so what was the point?

    How about live Web casting, or advanced graphics effects that Flash can do in real time with Stage3D or Pixel Bender? Sound effects?

    The biggest problem if that there's no proper tools for designers to do multimedia content for HTML5. When Adobe releases HTML5 exporter for Flash IDE that may change.

    From the past experience I suggest that "cross browser" and "cross platform" will be another weak point for HTML5. There'll will be tricky times ahead for web developers trying to cope with different browser versions with different set of features. Its too diverse platform and limited in features.
  • solipsism - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Don't forget about Silverlight. As Andrew notes "competitive pressure" directly from MS (I assume he meant Silverlight) was a huge boost to setting a fire under Adobe to better Flash. The problem is it was a too little too late.

    I think Flash will eventually fall completely out of favour with Adobe as the most common use seems to be for video, which seems to be better served by HTML5 video tags. I predict Flash will eventually become an open source project.

    Testing to see how the mark up works:
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    For gaming, there are also things like the Unity Web Player to consider:

    For everything else, you're mostly correct in that Flash is best equipped for doing many of these things right now on PCs, but HTML5 is only gaining momentum - I'm sure that many of these things will be implemented in some fashion going forward, as long as there's demand for them. Plug-ins are on their way out.
  • DarkShift - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Yes I know, but its not very popular. You might have heard that Unity is in fact developing Flash Player 11 support because of that:

    I bet the day HTML will get same feature set as Flash today will likely be 5-10 years away. And do you mean creating another set plugins for doing stuff that allready can be done with Flash that's found on 99% of desktop computers? OMG how practical.

    Silverlight is mostly forgotten for serious multimedia stuff. It too lacks content creation tools and features.

    Adobe says its focusing on Adobe AIR for mobile devices. That essentially means that Flash content will be released as RIA apps on mobile. You might actually be using an app that was created with Flash IDE or Builder.
  • wolrah - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    I think the differences in perspective on this one tend to come down to Flash user vs. Flash developer. You have to admit that the vast majority of uses of Flash on the internet could easily be replaced by HTML5, and this is where those of us who are annoyed by it run in to it most. If it's not a game or something using 3D it probably doesn't need to be in Flash these days. Those parts are being worked on heavily as well, all major browsers have some form of 2D acceleration and most are working on support for WebGL 3D (though that has significant security implications at the moment).

    I look at Flash and plugins in general more as a last resort. If you can't do it in the browser then sure, go that route. If you can however, just do it that way. Now that mobile browsers are actually significant to many sites, that's even more true, as the limited RAM and to some extent CPU combined with scaling the page to fit the screen means plugin performance is generally horrible.
  • melgross - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    It's about time. The video was viewed on the wall, so to speak.

    Apple has been successful in banning this, and as always, where Apple goes, Microsoft follows. Between the two of them, Adobe had no choice..

    Interesting that in all the layoffs announced by Adobe, there were a lot from the enterprise development unit. I wonder what that means?

    And of course, Microsoft is banning Silverlight from WP7 and Metro witheir their Apple-like plugin ban. Apparently, no more development after the just finished version 5.
  • ananduser - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    /offtopic Are you by any chance melgross the moderator of AppleInsider ?
  • 3DoubleD - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    I'm so glad they gave up. I actually uninstalled the Adobe Flash plugin on my Motorola Droid. It was consuming 12 MB of space (~5% of my app storage) and all it did was bring web page rendering to a screeching halt whenever there were flash items on it. I don't recall ever intentionally interacting with any flash item on a web page. Maybe once or twice I was able to view a webpage that an iOS device couldn't view.

    Steve Jobs was right that Flash on phones led to a generally poorer user experience. Still, I'm glad we had the choice to have the plug-in installed on Android. Maybe the experience was better on more powerful phones (the Droid's SoC is weaksauce, even OC'd to 900 MHz and running GB 2.3.7)
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Adobe doesn't make money off the Flash runtime. Not the desktop runtime, anyhow. They make money off the tools. They charge $800 for "Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP Premium Edition", and the cheapest of their tools is still in the hundreds of dollars.

    From Adobe's perspective, it shouldn't matter what the runtime is.
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    They don't make money off of the runtime, but if you make the runtime and then get it on enough computers, it increases your reach, which increases the platform's appeal to developers, which sells the tools that actually DO make money. If you control both the runtime and the dev tools, you can guarantee that your dev tools are better positioned to take advantage of the runtime's new features, which can keep developers from spending their dollars elsewhere.

    Adobe will likely continue to make money if they can put good HTML5 development tools out there, but it's hard to see this as anything but a loss for them.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now