Adobe has confirmed a rumor first reported last night by ZDNet that it is ceasing developing of the Flash Player for mobile devices. In reality the announcement will have little impact on users, but it is getting wide spread press because of the role Flash played in the early days of the smartphone market.
Early in Android’s existence one of the advantages it had over iOS was that it had players for playing Flash video, while the iPhone and iPad could not play Flash video. If you have been following the smartphone industry you might know that Steve Jobs banned Flash from being put on iOS devices.
In a lengthy article, Steve Jobs made his case against Flash back in April, 2010. Jobs pointed to HTML5 as a better, more open standard and Adobe now appears to have accepted that fact saying “..HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.”
While HTML5 is in fact quickly becoming the standard for video on the web, I think the true nail in the coffin for Flash came from the app store model that now exists for all major mobile platforms. Flash was necessary when the primary means for people to view video on the Internet was the web browser, but hundreds, if not thousands, of apps now exist for playing video. Today fewer people are going to Netflix.com to watch movies, instead they are opening the Netflix app on their iPad.
Adobe is now embracing the app model by stating they intend to focus on enabling Flash developers to package their apps in Adobe Air, which is their cross platform app development tool. For it’s part, Android now has plenty of apps in the Android Market so the loss of a Flash player will not be a significant impact to Android users.