Overnight, we caught wind of a rumor that Adobe was preparing to announce its intent to cease work on Flash Player for mobile devices. Sure enough, the company has now made things official, revealing that the end of the road has come for Flash on smartphones.
While the wording of the company’s statement regarding its decision differs slightly from the quote attached to last night’s rumor, the gist is pretty much the same. Android devices and the BlackBerry PlayBook will get a final release, in the form of Flash Player 11.1, and that’s all she wrote (security bugfix updates aside). As far as Adobe is concerned, Flash will stay on the PC, where the power consumption and performance requirements that so-plagued mobile Flash won’t be issues.
Adobe cites the wide support for HTML5 as the primary motivation for the decision. HTML5 has always been thought of as a potential Flash-killer; it looks like it just earned that title. Adobe presents this move not as a failure of Flash, but as an opportunity to increase its involvement with HTML5.
While some smartphone users will undoubtedly be disappointed by this news, others are seeing it as validation of Apple’s long-standing rejection of Flash for iOS. Should Adobe have given-up on Flash for smartphones long ago? What about the ever-increasing power of smartphone hardware; could mobile Flash have become a greater success if Adobe just waited a little longer for hardware to mature?