Adobe finally giving up on Flash for mobile devices

I couldn’t help but play the Final Fantasy Victory Fanfare in my head when I read this news story. I’ve been pretty opposed to Flash as long as I can remember, going beyond not having it on my iPad or iPhone to actually disabling it on my laptop with some browser add-ons. It basically comes down to the fact that Flash is an incredibly unoptimized way of doing anything and is more or less the online equivalent of using a sledgehammer to fit a square peg in a round hole. HTML5 and other web solutions can do it much better, and without requiring you to rent a supercomputer in the process. That is likely why Apple chose to “ban” Flash from iOS and instead focus on other technologies. At first that was a major inconvenience as alternatives weren’t implemented, but slowly the web adapted.

Now, Adobe has finally given up. In its press release it’s calling HTML5 “the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms” and says that it will focus on allowing Flash developers to package apps for app stores through Adobe AIR in the future, while surrendering the web to HTML5. The current version of the mobile Flash Player will in other words be the last, though it will continue to exist on desktop OSes.

While Adobe is trying to spin this as an exciting new era of their work, you cannot escape the fact that they simply lost the fight. Adobe is rather far from my list of favorite companies and it does please me more than you can imagine to write this post, but I think even the most loyal Adobe fans will have trouble seeing this as an actual choice by the company.

What this means for devices that support Flash is that they will continue to do so as long as the current version plays nice with the current OS of said devices. The lack of Flash support is often seen as a bigger problem than it is by people who don’t use Flash-incapable devices as they’re so used to seeing Flash that they don’t consider the fact that most Flash elements on web pages get automatically replaced with something else when a mobile browser is detected. Now that Adobe has given up, even the stragglers should come around and offer alternatives. Finally, it’s important to remember that the iPhone and iPad have been able to use Flash through third party apps for ages, and I’m sure that similar solutions will pop up for other OSes as the current Flash Player falls out of use. In all likelihood though, you won’t need them.

[Adobe via Androidcentral]

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets and tends to stick with his choice of device for a long time as a result of that. After a five year break from writing, he's back to share this view with the world once again.