Adobe to discontinue Flash for Android and PlayBook

The past few hours have made things look pretty grim for Adobe employees and mobile Flash users alike. On one hand, 750 Adobe employees in North America and Europe will receive the pink slip. For Flash users on Android and RIM's PlayBook devices that support Flash content in web pages, the layoffs are connected to another decision made by Adobe today: development on the Flash plugins will effectively cease, according to a statement made to ZDNet (via The Verge) by sources close to Adobe:

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.

A couple of years ago, it was clear Adobe and Apple were at odds over adapting web content to mobile devices. Apple remained stubborn in their resolve to get HTML5 content pushed as an alternative to Flash. The late Steve Jobs made his thoughts clear on this topic last April in an open letter titled "Thoughts on Flash."

With this latest move, it appears both Adobe and Apple are now on the same page, with Adobe promising more investments in generating HTML5 content for the Web.

For mobile Flash users, it's good to know they'll still get fixes for serious vulnerabilities for at least the near future. For other sites, they would be wise to adapt new technologies offered in the HTML5 specification, which fortunately the major browser vendors are openly embracing.

The only real loser in this scenario may be, well, RIM. After all, they touted Flash support as a major selling point in their television ads earlier this year. Surely they may need to do more with their recent attempt to push sales.

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Then discontinue the entire thing. PC and all. Keep allowing people to develop, they will keep doing it.

HTML 5 needs to be the only design type.

And one of Android's main feature over iOS was that "it supported Flash". I wonder how much this will affect the sales.

This was meant to happen though. It's just that Adobe doesn't abandon easily.

What does this means in terms of the iOS vs Android rivalry?

I was thinking on moving from a BB to a Galaxy S II this month, and I'm still considering my options between an iPad2 and a Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a tablet device.

I've been an owner of an iPod Touch since its realease (1stgen and now 4thgen), I'm very happy with the iOS, but I tend towards Android (very exited about ICS) on the tablet side because of the openness in file formats for video, flash based websites versatibility, and storage options, but I definitely agree that iOS apps availability and design are much better.

nacquatella said,
What does this means in terms of the iOS vs Android rivalry?

I was thinking on moving from a BB to a Galaxy S II this month, and I'm still considering my options between an iPad2 and a Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a tablet device.

I've been an owner of an iPod Touch since its realease (1stgen and now 4thgen), I'm very happy with the iOS, but I tend towards Android (very exited about ICS) on the tablet side because of the openness in file formats for video, flash based websites versatibility, and storage options, but I definitely agree that iOS apps availability and design are much better.

For phone go Android.
For Tablet go iOS.

Don't ask me why, but I think Android looks better on the phone over iOS. And iOS looks better on a tablet than Android.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have both an iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom. Don't get me wrong, I love my Xoom but the average person will prefer a iPad 2.

For my smartphone needs, I use a HTC Thunderbolt which will be upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy Nexus soon.

I wouldn't have a problem with the lack of flash or sliverlight, if all the popular sites I went to stopped using them. It seems to me that they're trying to force people to migrate away from using plugins in their webpages rather than support the plugins until the switch is made.

Darrian said,
I wouldn't have a problem with the lack of flash or sliverlight, if all the popular sites I went to stopped using them. It seems to me that they're trying to force people to migrate away from using plugins in their webpages rather than support the plugins until the switch is made.

Fine by me.

And it begins...

Honestly, I really don't know why you would ever want Flash on a mobile device... I'm kind of hoping this trend continues... Flash as a tool isn't bad, but the runtime is horrible.

ROFL! there goes one of droids biggest *strengths*, if you wanna call it that. I'll stick with my iOS devices that run nice and smooth thank you.

zeroomegazx said,
ROFL! there goes one of droids biggest *strengths*, if you wanna call it that. I'll stick with my iOS devices that run nice and smooth thank you.

And have less than half of the functionality + higher price. Good luck with that.

zeroomegazx said,
ROFL! there goes one of droids biggest *strengths*, if you wanna call it that. I'll stick with my iOS devices that run nice and smooth thank you.

Ah, so you are happy with this move by Adobe? you know what it means? They're pushing bad ad developers towards making their annoying Ads in HTML5. And guess what? you can't set HTML5 ads to "on-demand" on whatever device you have =)

@viadmphoto : I don't know where you're getting this "half of the functionality". Does your Android phone cook you supper? Android and iOS differ by a few tidbits here and there to be honest, but overall Android is just a pale copy of iOS, but more versatile.

bestbuy said,

Ah, so you are happy with this move by Adobe? you know what it means? They're pushing bad ad developers towards making their annoying Ads in HTML5. And guess what? you can't set HTML5 ads to "on-demand" on whatever device you have =)

Honestly, you can do amazing ads with HTML5. Just take a look at iAds in Steve's Keynote.

As it is now I currently have my Flash plugin on Android set to "on demand" so I have to physically click the plugin if I want it to run.

Honestly most sites I visit no longer use Flash and have adopted HTML5, which is good for everyone. However that being said, I do like to have the OPTION of having Flash if I wish to use it.

Lexcyn said,
Honestly most sites I visit no longer use Flash and have adopted HTML5, which is good for everyone.

Indeed, many of them seem to be a bit stupid about it though, several times I've run in to pages where iPad or iPhone plays it just fine, but if I grab my Galaxy Tab 7 and open Firefox (which doesn't support flash) I get served a flash video even though they have non flash video available. It seems many sites are just looking for iPhone or iPad in the useragent to determine if nonflash video should be served...

Steve Jobs won in the end after all. Perhaps now, we'll see a common video format for HTML 5 emerge from this instead of the current situation where we're still deciding which format to use.

Either battery life or ads much have been the reason to convince Adobe. Ugly floating Flash ads that you can't close on mobile devices isn't a very good experience.

I do wonder if they simply ran out of ideas for optimisation. There's only so much you can optimise a runtime - if a Flash developer writes ****ty code, they write ****ty code. A lot of Flash code (especially from advertisers) I've seen has been a terrible, inefficient, CPU-sucking mess, and there's nothing Adobe can do about that.

iKenndac said,
A lot of Flash code (especially from advertisers) I've seen has been a terrible, inefficient, CPU-sucking mess, and there's nothing Adobe can do about that.

There was one ad on this site earlier this year from Dell that had a looping video in the background. Suffice to say it wasn't too kind to any of my browsers on my laptop.

Today you see ugly floating ads and horribly coded swfs using Flash, 5 years down the road i bet you'll see the same horrible stuff made with HTML5. Nothing changes really. The industry switching to HTML5 won't magically kill ads.
One thing though, now at least you can simply turn off flash, or on adroid set flash to on-demand. I don't think you can turn off HTML5 lol.

bestbuy said,
Today you see ugly floating ads and horribly coded swfs using Flash, 5 years down the road i bet you'll see the same horrible stuff made with HTML5. Nothing changes really. The industry switching to HTML5 won't magically kill ads.
One thing though, now at least you can simply turn off flash, or on adroid set flash to on-demand. I don't think you can turn off HTML5 lol.

A Canvas element blocker would be pretty easy to make.

Elliott said,

A Canvas element blocker would be pretty easy to make.

No one's gonna stop me from making an img element flying all over the place. point is ad developers are being pushed to do their stuff in HTML, in open water, endless possibilities. as opposed to a more or less sandboxed flash. Not saying this will happen overnight, but it will sooner or later. This move by Adobe ought to make it sooner. Hopefully those annoying-stuff blockers will come in time...

bestbuy said,

No one's gonna stop me from making an img element flying all over the place. point is ad developers are being pushed to do their stuff in HTML, in open water, endless possibilities. as opposed to a more or less sandboxed flash. Not saying this will happen overnight, but it will sooner or later. This move by Adobe ought to make it sooner. Hopefully those annoying-stuff blockers will come in time...


Ads can do that already with Flash (like the ones that expand out). That doesn't mean they all do.

So it's going in the same direction as Silverlight. Great. More win for the open web platform. But I hope there's some way we can rescue old flash animations and games. Some of them are classics.

A JavaScript-based flash emulator, maybe? If JavaScript can emulate old games consoles, then surely it can emulate Flash.

Whats So Great about HTML 5....


MS is killing silverlight and Adobe is killing Flash......


How we will watch Videos on Youtube..


Can anybody explain me whats so great about HTML5

Genocide121 said,
Whats So Great about HTML 5....


MS is killing silverlight and Adobe is killing Flash......


How we will watch Videos on Youtube..


Can anybody explain me whats so great about HTML5

You can watch YouTube on HTML5. YouTube is porting all Flash videos to HTML5.

Genocide121 said,
Can anybody explain me whats so great about HTML5

Yes. But it's important to consider that when the press say "HTML5", they also mean a groups of related technologies such as CSS3, DOM4, new WebAPIs and WebGL. Web developers are encouraged to refer to it as the Open Web Platform (OWP).

The OWP is completely standardised, and can work on any device that supports it. Because of the way that it's made, it works across multiple devices with multiple types of inputs, such as tablets and TVs. Therefore, HTML5 video can be viewed across most modern computing devices.

But the OWP is open for a reason: you have to download Flash to use it, and Flash is proprietary. The OWP is completely free and anyone with the technical know-how can contribute to the expansion of the platform via the W3C and related standards bodies.

Meph said,

Yes. But it's important to consider that when the press say "HTML5", they also mean a groups of related technologies such as CSS3, DOM4, new WebAPIs and WebGL. Web developers are encouraged to refer to it as the Open Web Platform (OWP).

The OWP is completely standardised, and can work on any device that supports it. Because of the way that it's made, it works across multiple devices with multiple types of inputs, such as tablets and TVs. Therefore, HTML5 video can be viewed across most modern computing devices.

But the OWP is open for a reason: you have to download Flash to use it, and Flash is proprietary. The OWP is completely free and anyone with the technical know-how can contribute to the expansion of the platform via the W3C and related standards bodies.

Open Standard is a close implementation = close source.

However, Webkit is open source, also Firefox and Chrome. But it is not the main problem but how every party interpret the standard and how (painful slow) moves the standard.

For example, not every browser is able to "do a barrel roll"

Genocide121 said,
Whats So Great about HTML 5....
MS is killing silverlight and Adobe is killing Flash......
How we will watch Videos on Youtube..
Can anybody explain me whats so great about HTML5

You can already watch youtube videos with html5 and WebM (Firefox, Opera, Chrome), or h.264 (IE, Safari). Just visit youtube.com/html5 and click "join the trial" link at bottom of the page.

Joey S said,

You can already watch youtube videos with html5 and WebM (Firefox, Opera, Chrome), or h.264 (IE, Safari). Just visit youtube.com/html5 and click "join the trial" link at bottom of the page.

Can always use the the youtube apps build into many phones, you know, in the context of this article.

ILikeTobacco said,

Can always use the the youtube apps build into many phones, you know, in the context of this article.


Don't know about Android but if you visit Youtube in Safari on the iPad or iPhone videos plays just fine without flash there so you don't even need the app.

I think this has more to do with Flash content on the web generally being given away for free but App Stores are hell bent on maxmimising revenues and Adobe needs new revenue models, they're doing this now before HTML5 is finished to try and get a piece of the action before web apps really do become a viable alternative.

Oh yea, the app stores are hell bent on maximizing revenues, that's why we get awesome apps for 99 cents and people consider a 3 dollar app expensive.

I don't think this will hurt the playbook that much since one of the ways for you to develop apps for it is via Adobe Air. It will probably mean no use of flash in the browser.

"We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates."

Disagrees with title "discontinue flash for Android and Playbook".

They won't improve it. Flash will still work for those devices though, well in to the future (even with Android/Playbook updates).

Sacha said,
"We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates."

Disagrees with title "discontinue flash for Android and Playbook".

They won't improve it. Flash will still work for those devices though, well in to the future (even with Android/Playbook updates).


To stop developing the software further, with the goal to eventually remove it from the platform, is well within the definition of "discontinue."

Edited by Lamp Post, Nov 9 2011, 8:40am :

Sacha said,
"We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates."

Disagrees with title "discontinue flash for Android and Playbook".

They won't improve it. Flash will still work for those devices though, well in to the future (even with Android/Playbook updates).

We've had a new version of flash every 15months or there about since Adobe broughtout Flash from Macromedia. The entire web updates to the latest flash within a few months and new flash content is created with the latest version.

Expect Android & Playbooks not to be able to play flash content in the next 18 months. Sounds pretty discontinued to me. Even more so when you consider most contracts will be up ready for renew on a new handset by then.

Cash Money Billionaire said,
Good riddance

Being able to do less is better how? <snipped>

Edited by Laura, Nov 9 2011, 11:14am :

RealFduch said,

Being able to do less is better how? <snipped>

You can do everything flash can do with native apps or HTML 5, so move along

Edited by Laura, Nov 9 2011, 11:45am :

DomZ said,

You can do everything flash can do with native apps or HTML 5, so move along

No, you can't.
Example, Kongregate.

Magallanes said,

No, you can't.
Example Kongregate

There are no games on that site that can't be made into native apps, so DomZ point still stands. Flash is nice to have, but it is in no way special or required for anything.

ILikeTobacco said,

There are no games on that site that can't be made into native apps, so DomZ point still stands. Flash is nice to have, but it is in no way special or required for anything.

No, it is not.
Most games in Kongregate can't be replicated in HTML 5 because HTML 5 is still pretty limited, slow (graphically speaking) and hard to work with it.

DomZ said,

You can do everything flash can do with native apps or HTML 5, so move along

Except watch videos in fullscreen... and a bunch of other things I guess nobody ever does.

Everyone is so down on it, but I absolutely love streaming live sports using the flash plugin on my Android. Unless they actually switch to HTML5 I couldn't imagine buying a device without flash support.

temo said,
Everyone is so down on it, but I absolutely love streaming live sports using the flash plugin on my Android. Unless they actually switch to HTML5 I couldn't imagine buying a device without flash support.

It's definitely a plus at the moment because of flash's ubiquity.

temo said,
Everyone is so down on it, but I absolutely love streaming live sports using the flash plugin on my Android. Unless they actually switch to HTML5 I couldn't imagine buying a device without flash support.

I stream live sports using the Watch ESPN app on my iPhone. No need for Flash.

Plugin free web will be awesome! Stille a few years from that. HTML5 needs to get their act together and finalize it self.

x-byte said,
Plugin free web will be awesome! Stille a few years from that. HTML5 needs to get their act together and finalize it self.

Until they don't add a codec requirement to the HTML5-spec nothing changes really, you're still dependend on stuff that's not part of HTML5…

x-byte said,
Plugin free web will be awesome! Stille a few years from that. HTML5 needs to get their act together and finalize it self.

Painting-free world will be awesome (why do I need Art when I have that compact camera?)
Narrow-mindness galore!

MFH said,

Until they don't add a codec requirement to the HTML5-spec nothing changes really, you're still dependend on stuff that's not part of HTML5…
Exactly ...

RealFduch said,

Painting-free world will be awesome (why do I need Art when I have that compact camera?)
Narrow-mindness galore!
not sure if you are serious.

MFH said,

Until they don't add a codec requirement to the HTML5-spec nothing changes really, you're still dependend on stuff that's not part of HTML5…

That's a good point. You can blame Apple and Microsoft for that though. They wanted a patent encumbered codec (h.264), whereas everyone else wanted a free unencumbered codec (Theora).

Joey S said,

That's a good point. You can blame Apple and Microsoft for that though. They wanted a patent encumbered codec (h.264), whereas everyone else wanted a free unencumbered codec (Theora).

Talk for yourself! I'm not sold to WebM. At least H264 is supported out of the box by about 99% of PCs (+Mac)… WebM on the other hand is yet again a plugin, as it's not supported by any OS out of the box…

MFH said,

Talk for yourself! I'm not sold to WebM. At least H264 is supported out of the box by about 99% of PCs (+Mac)… WebM on the other hand is yet again a plugin, as it's not supported by any OS out of the box…

lolwut, both companies can easily make their OSes support WebM OOTB too.

RealFduch said,

Painting-free world will be awesome (why do I need Art when I have that compact camera?)
Narrow-mindness galore!

LOL, what? More like we don't have to use toxic lead paint to make paintings anymore.

resol612 said,

lolwut, both companies can easily make their OSes support WebM OOTB too.


why? they already support h264 out of the box. no reason to support something else.
besides, h264's performance is so... so much better. if it uses ~1% CPU its muchs. WebM however uses almost the same amount as if i where watching the video in 5 year old flash.

resol612 said,

lolwut, both companies can easily make their OSes support WebM OOTB too.


Why should they? They are both involved in MPEG LA, why would they support a competing product? (Which they even claim infringes their IP…)

rom said,
silverlight rumor and now this? goodbye plugins.

I don't think they'll disappear overnight. However as html5 improves, their prominence will fade.

england_fanboy said,

This is even more bad news for Android and open source.

Actually, it's good news for open source. Might be bad news for that crappy Android browser though.

rom said,
silverlight rumor and now this? goodbye plugins.

HTML 5 is the way to go. But Adobe wants developers to use AIR instead of Flash for apps. So plug-ins are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Also, Flash is not going anywhere in the desktop environment.

UndergroundWire said,
Also, Flash is not going anywhere in the desktop environment.

Windows 8 might change that. The Metro Internet Explorer ships in a no-plugin mode by default, and while a plugin-capable compatibility mode is just a click away its non-default state means Flash-reliant sites will be forced to move to HTML5 to be able to continue serving content to all Windows 8 users.

Arkose said,

Windows 8 might change that. The Metro Internet Explorer ships in a no-plugin mode by default, and while a plugin-capable compatibility mode is just a click away its non-default state means Flash-reliant sites will be forced to move to HTML5 to be able to continue serving content to all Windows 8 users.

Who cares about that Metro UI crap. They are not doing it away with the desktop version of Internet Explorer. And last I checked, the desktop version of Internet Explorer exists in Windows 8. Let's not forget the users who don't bother with Internet Explorer and use Firefox or Chrome.

england_fanboy said,
I'm so very glad Windows Phone never supported this crappy plugin.

I wish Adobe released Flash for WP7. Kongregate has more quality games than the entire WP7 Marketplace (which is full of spam book apps).
Don't be so narrow-minded please.

RealFduch said,

I wish Adobe released Flash for WP7. Kongregate has more quality games than the entire WP7 Marketplace (which is full of spam book apps).
Don't be so narrow-minded please.

+1
The number of fart apps in the Windows Phone market place seems to be increasing exponentially.

Joey S said,

+1
The number of fart apps in the Windows Phone market place seems to be increasing exponentially.

99.999999999% apps on the Android marketplace are totally useless.

RealFduch said,

I wish Adobe released Flash for WP7. Kongregate has more quality games than the entire WP7 Marketplace (which is full of spam book apps).
Don't be so narrow-minded please.

Flash is GARBAGE. I avoid sites that rely on Flash. I refuse to waste my time with games that use Flash. BTW, how stupid is that, to bring up books apps in the Marketplace in a conversation about the Flash plugin? Keep to the topic.

Joey S said,

+1
The number of fart apps in the Windows Phone market place seems to be increasing exponentially.

Unlike the multitudes of crap on the App Store and Android Marketplace, right? And let's not forget that the Android marketplace has malware on it.

england_fanboy said,
I'm so very glad Windows Phone never supported this crappy plugin.

Woah, Windows Mobile didn't support Flash? +1 for them, then!

Xenomorph said,

Woah, Windows Mobile didn't support Flash? +1 for them, then!

Windows Mobile did, Windows Phone doesn't.

alexalex said,
Great news.

For you, probably because there is a random big image on top saying "WE <3 APPLE"

alexalex said,
Great news.

Indeed, now all that needs to be done is for webpages to start detecting Android and serve it html5 tagged video by default instead of flash and we are go. Many sites already do this for iOS and assuming Android has built in support to play video it will work a lot better.

Coi said,

For you, probably because there is a random big image on top saying "WE <3 APPLE"

So stupid. I don't understand the use of that image. NeoWin at its "best".

UndergroundWire said,

It's meant for non tech idiots. Adobe Flash has nothing to do with Apple. Apple didn't win anything. There is no greater love for Apple over Android or vice-versa.

FAIL!

It helps to not take things so seriously.

Denis W said,
It helps to not take things so seriously.

I don't which is why if NeoWin "journalists" can troll articles with stupid images, I can troll too. See, win-win.