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BIG NEWS: Adobe Stops Developing Flash Player for Mobile Browsers

Adobe will no longer develop Flash Player for the browser on mobile devices.


Following a report by ZDNet last night, Adobe posted an official announcement this morning. Here's the gist, straight from Adobe's post (emphasis added):

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 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 explained their decision, with remarkable honesty:

...HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively.  This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.

The change is slightly softened by their continued support for native apps with Adobe AIR:

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.

But Adobe makes their commitment to HTML5 clear in the second part of the announcement's title ('Adobe to More Aggressively Contribuet to HTML5') and in the penultimate paragraph:

We will continue to leverage our experience with Flash to accelerate our work with the W3C and WebKit to bring similar capabilities to HTML5 as quickly as possible, just as we have done with CSS Shaders.  And, we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged.

I'm particularly intrigued by this last sentence ('will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve'). This sounds like another step in Adobe's journey toward greater involvement with non-proprietary standards -- a move already begun by several Adobe products, most notably Adobe Wallaby, which converts (some) Flash to HTML5, Adobe Edge, which speeds up development of non-Flash animated web content (in HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript), and even Adobe Muse, a sophisticated visual web authoring tool that just went into Beta 4.

Big news indeed -- as far as I can tell, good news all around. 

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