updated 03:50 am EST, Wed November 9, 2011
Adobe said to have axed mobile Flash development
Adobe may have dropped Flash for mobile browsers according to ZDNet. A leaked transcript from a company email to Adobe's partners says that it will no longer develop its mobile Flash Player, and that it will switch its emphasis from Flash on mobile devices to its AIR platform. One of the key marketing pitches adopted by Android device vendors is that Android offers an advantage of Apple's iOS as its browser supports Adobe's mobile version of its Flash Player plug-in.
ZDNet's sources offered the following excerpt from the Adobe correspondence:
"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 adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates."
The news follows an announcement from Adobe yesterday that it was shedding 10 percent of its workforce. It said that it was taking the move in order to restructure its workforce around "explosive growth categories" for the company. It is not known if the layoffs are connected in any way to the apparent cessation of development for Adobe Flash for mobile.
Adobe has also recently acquired HTML5 mobile app developers Nitobi and TypeKit signaling an intent to develop for what is increasingly being adopted as the next web standard, which obviates the need for Flash plug-ins for playing web-based video content.
Apple famously made the decision under the late Steve Jobs to drop support for Flash in iOS devices arguing that it was too CPU intensive, thus draining battery performance, while also being vulnerable to security threats as well as generally being unstable. While the move was criticized by many quarters, Apple insisted that HTML5 was where the future of the web lay, and the HTML5 web standards would negate the need for Flash on its mobile devices.
"Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it," Jobs said in an open letter on the issue published in April 2010.
"Flash was created during the PC era - for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards - all areas where Flash falls short."
"New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind," concluded Jobs, it nows seems somewhat prophetically, at the time.