I hate to say “I told you so,” but… Adobe has let their partners know that they will no longer be developing their Flash technology for mobile devices. Details are scant at this point, but the Adobe’s Flash for mobile (otherwise known as The Little Engine That Could Not Stop Crashing) is taking its place next to fanny packs and cheese-in-a-can.
Oh, wait. They still make those things? I guess thats because, unlike Flash, fanny packs and cheese-in-a-can do what we expect them to do.
For those who have been marooned on a desert island for seven or more years, Flash on mobile has been a very controversial topic. Apple has blocked its installation onto all their iOS devices, and even Microsoft plans to prevent its installation under Metro on their upcoming tablet systems. There has never been a full, complete release of Flash for mobile and reports of its performance on Android devices have been overwhelmingly negative. Nevertheless, Adobe has spent years trying to convince us that a decent version of Flash for mobile was nearly ready, almost to the point where it’s become something of a running gag in the tech industry. ZDNet sheds a little light on the emerging story with a quote from an upcoming 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 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 mobile world will not miss Flash one bit. Buggy, insecure, a system resource hog, proprietary and generally ill-suited for mobile devices (how does one “mouse over” on a touchpad?), Adobe has long been purporting that Flash for mobile is “almost ready” and “just around the corner”. After four years of the current generation of mobile tech having been christened by the iPhone, there’s not much point in denying that it’s time to cut the crap. Instead, Adobe will be focusing on mobile applications, in-browser and not-in-browser content for desktop, and (get this) HTML 5. It’s a good thing, though; an open standard that’s light on system resources can only blossom with some of Adobe’s brilliance being leveraged towards it. This move not only gets the industry as a whole to let go of the unrealistic idea that Flash is going to be a viable technology on mobile, but also pushes us towards adopting better, open standards and focuses our attention on evolving and refining them.
The only downside? iPhone users will be insufferable to be around for a week or two.