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Adobe to Retire Flash for Mobile Browsers

10 November 2011

Adobe will no longer continue to develop the Flash Player browser plugin 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 however committed to providing bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations for the time being. Adobe will also allow licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations, something Research In Motion confirmed it would leverage to continue flash compatibility going forward.

For years, Adobe had been working on a usable version of flash for mobile platforms, the famous exception being Apple's iOS which repeatedly and openly advocated for a move from flash to the HTML5 web standard.

Adobe repeatedly pledged it would provide with a capable build of its mobile plugin, only to see performance lag behind the desktop experience and drain valuable battery power.

Its exclusion form iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) was obviously a blow as web developers avoided Flash because of compatibility concerns, but from a user interface perspective, Flash was always an odd proposition for touch screen devices, since it has a strong legacy of cursor-based navigation (including hover interactions).

By giving up mobile browsers, there is little incentive for developers to keep relying on flash for their upcoming web development. Adobe will be wise to refocus some resources to web authoring tools that help build rich HTML5 websites.

Adobe has already been investing in HTML5. In October 2011 Adobe acquired HTML5 mobile app framework provider Nitobi Software.

Find Out More > IHS Mobile Media Intelligence Service

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