Adobe dumps mobile Flash, admits Jobs was right

Steve Jobs said it with conviction, and with mobile Flash dumped, is the desktop variant next?
Kerry Butters

November 10, 2011
Steve Jobs

Adobe have abandoned the development of Flash for mobiles in order to focus on PC browsing and mobile apps.

Whilst Flash for desktop browsers will continue to be developed, Adobe say that they are focusing their mobile efforts on working with HTML5, which is already supported on “major mobile devices.”

“This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms,” Adobe said.

Flash will no longer be developed to work with new mobile devices after the release of Flash 11.1 for Android and Blackberry PlayBook. However, critical fixes and security updates will continue to be provided.

The changes will allow Adobe to invest more in HTML5 and “innovate with Flash where it can have the most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video.”

The announcement is good news for iPad and iPhone users, as Flash has never been supported on any of the Apple devices.

Steve Jobs said last year that he believed Flash to be a closed system and he preferred to adopt open standards such as HTML5, CSS and Javascript.

This allows developers to “create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plugins (like Flash)”.

Whilst Adobe have argued that Apple customers are losing out on richer video and gaming experiences by not having Flash available, Jobs countered by pointing out that many of the available apps for the devices mean that users can access plenty of content that doesn’t rely on the Adobe software.

Jobs also went on to slate the security aspects of Flash. The software not only had the worst security record in 2009, but Jobs also pointed out that it had consistently been a primary reason for Macs crashing.

Additionally, the late Apple boss considered Flash to perform badly on mobile devices and quickly eat battery life.

The Adobe turnaround on Flash for mobiles would seem to indicate that they now agree with Jobs.

However, Adobe is continuing to develop the next version of Flash for PC, which they say will bring a “round of exciting features which [they] expect to again advance what is possible for delivering high definition entertainment experiences.”

However, Microsoft have already said that they will not include Flash by default in their upcoming Windows 8 browser, leading many to wonder if the plug-in is on its way out for good.

Although Flash won’t be shipped with W8, users will still be able to install the plug-in manually.


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