Adobe Abandons Flash!

Okay Adobe only abandons Flash on Mobile OS – iOS, Android and Playbook. Adobe  will continue to develop Flash on Linux, Mac, and Windows. Here is the crux of the announcement:

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 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 and BlackBerry PlayBook.  We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations.  We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.

These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming andpremium video.  Flash Player 11 for PC browsers just introduced dozens of new features, including hardware accelerated 3D graphics for console-quality gaming and premium HD video with content protection.  Flash developers can take advantage of these features, and all that our Flash tooling has to offer, to reach more than a billion PCs through their browsers and to package native apps with AIR that run on hundreds of millions of mobile devices through all the popular app stores, including the iTunes App Store, Android Market, Amazon Appstore for Android and BlackBerry App World.

Readers should check out the announcement for the commentsthere is an unadorned sense of abandonment. Often it is seen as giving in to Steve Jobs and Apple where the Flash Player has been unfairly blamed for Apple’s own poor graphic performance.

Ye Editor  sympathizes with many of the Flash commenters. First, Apples beefs were largely on trumped up charges; even Apples own Quicktime was having reliability and performance problems at the same time as Steve Jobs was dissing Flash. Second, Flash Player has improved notably in speed and reliability in the past year. Third, the computing power that is arriving with Quad-core processors amkes performance a non-isue for most mobiles. Fourth,  the AIR runtime is permitted on iOS as this how-to shows the packaging of dozens of .swf file with AIR for iOS.

But there may be some Adobe finesse and strategy here. AIR is truly the superior vehicle for getting SWF onto iOS and now other mobile devices – with 3D graphics, offline operation support and a host of new AIR features. Why fragment Flash performance between AIR and Flash Player on mobiles? Oh and one more thing – make it very hard for Apple CEO Tim Cook to kick AIR off of iOS. After all, Adobe is fulfilling all of Steve Job’s conditions – abandoning Flash Player on mobile devices and transferring saved monies to HTML5 development. Beside Tim Cook knows that the only cross platform development tool available to IOS is AIR since Java, WinDev and other tools are banned. Tim may need this AIR fact to fend off  DOJ antitrust investigators.

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