Adobe on Mobile Flash: "No Mas"
It was a valiant fight, but the outcome was inevitable. Sometimes, you just have to put the gloves down and admit defeat.
This week, Adobe officially announced that it was going to cease the development of Flash for mobile browsers. This move definitively sends the future of mobile development and the creation and deployment of mobile content towards HTML5.
Of course, most people saw this coming. The bulky Flash Player system, which at its creation was designed for desktop computers, has struggled (to say the least) in its transition to mobile. Major mobile developers noted this and almost unanimously supported HTML5 development.
Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple were all rooting for HTML5, especially Apple. In fact, the late Steve Jobs refused to support Flash for the iOS version of Apple's Safari browser, saying that "Flash was designed for PCs using mice."
"HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively," says Danny Winokur, Adobe's Vice President and General Manager. "This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms."
He adds, "We are excited about this, and will continue to 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."
Following the upcoming update of mobile Flash with Flash Player 11.1, the software company will discontinue the development of the product.
Flash will always have a place, though. It will remain, indefinitely, a major part of the Web for PC users; in fact, the company is already working on Flash Player 12.
"These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have the most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video," says Winokur.
Maybe it sounds a little bit (a lot) like a concession speech, but Adobe can still hang its head high-ish. The mobile Web is the next big transition for the Internet, and it is unavoidable that there will be some casualties. There is an important lesson to be learned here, both by Adobe and future mobile Web developers. By doubling down on PC development, Flash can maintain its widespread presence on the PC-based Web, which is still where the majority of users remain (for now).