November 09, 2011

Adobe Stops Mobile Browser Flash Development, New Focus Related to HTML5

Adobe (News - Alert) is not going to be focusing on developing Flash for mobile browsers but instead is concentrating on HTML5, according to news reports.

In a recent blog post, Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager, Interactive Development at Adobe, said the company “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 (News - Alert) and BlackBerry PlayBook.” 

“Over the past two years, we’ve delivered Flash Player for mobile browsers and brought the full expressiveness of the web to many mobile devices,” Winokur added in the blog post. “However, 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.”

He says that Adobe will keep working with Google, Apple (News - Alert), Microsoft and Research In Motion on HTML5 mobile browsers. Adobe will also provide fixes for bugs and offer security updates.

ZDNet was the first to break the story. ZDNet also reported that Adobe will focus “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.”

The news led to some opposition from some users. For example, Mike Vitale, vice president, Operations, TalkPoint Communications, called it “a poor decision by Adobe.”

“Despite all the negative press about Flash on mobile devices most content distributors are very content to deliver live audio and video in Flash,” Vitale said on the Adobe comments blog. “In most cases we only fall back on html 5 to support iOS devices using HLS streaming. The current functionality of html 5 is simply not on par with Actionscript. This announcement is going to scare content creators and force distributors to look for alternatives to Flash streaming. With such a dominant footprint on PC’s and Android devices why would you quit to become just another provider of app creation software? Sites like Techcrunch and CNN are already picking up this post and raking Adobe over the coals. Stop letting Apple back the bus up over you and fight back. Do not stop developing Flash for mobile devices!”

In its comments on the latest news, The Business Insider said, “this would be a sort of moral victory for Apple which has famously refused to support Flash in its mobile version of Safari. … Tests … showed that Flash was slow, unreliable, and drained battery life.”

“Using Flash on other mobile browsers, particularly Android, has never been a great experience,” The Business Insider adds. “Apple also tried to block iOS developers from using Flash as a development platform to create native iOS apps, but eventually backed down. It's exactly that scenario that Adobe is now focusing on.”

It was also reported that Adobe is planning to lay off 750 employees, according to The Business Insider.

In other company news, TMCnet reported that SourceTec Software is offering an online service that lets Flash files play in HTML5 compatible browsers.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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