Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adobe’s out of mobile? Read the fine print

The blogosphere is a-buzz with Adobe’s apparent decision to abandon Flash in mobile devices. I get the impression, though, that many people haven’t bothered to read Adobe’s announcement. If they did, they would come away with a very different conclusion.

Let me quote what Adobe actually said (emphasis mine):

    "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."

What’s being discontinued is the Flash plug-in for mobile browsers. Adobe will still support and work on Mobile AIR, and on the development of standalone mobile applications.

A number of cross-platform applications today are implemented in Adobe AIR, and that’s staying the same. Adobe is being smart — they’re picking and choosing their battles, and have decided to give this one to HTML5. We’re big believers in HTML5, and Adobe's announcement makes complete sense: Don’t bother with the burden of Flash plug-in support when you can do it all in the browser. You can still build killer apps using Adobe AIR.


  1. What's the point of HTML5? It's an "open standard", like Java was. So it will lead, again, to lots of "interpretations" of the standard. Some HTML5 apps will work on one device and not the other. Nothing gained.

  2. I agree that's a huge problem that killed the "write once, run anywhere" from Java. It would seem that the W3C has learned from Java, as one of the HTML5 goals is to specify the implementation in enough detail to attempt guarantee interoperability. You've got good reason to be sceptical, but it's very promising that they recognize the issue and are tackling the problem from the beginning.