Adobe has finally decided to let go of Flash for mobile platforms (it's not giving up the desktop quite yet), acccording to its blog, and focus more on HTML5. The news had first leaked on ZDNet. This is a big victory for the tech giants that had been resisting Flash on its mobile devices like Apple's Steve Jobs, who refused to submit to Adobe's dominance in iOS, causing a sort of Flash versus HTML5 showdown. Microsoft had taken Apple's side in the HTML5 vs. Flash war, announcing its new mobile operating system, Windows 8, would forgo Flash.
"This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms," writes Adobe Vice President Danny Winokur on the company's blog. He's late to agree with that point. The end of mobile Flash doesn't really mean anything for people suffering with Flash players on Android phones now -- Flash won't magically disappear -- but it suggests a crash-less, Flash-less future.
Still, at the start of 2011 there were around 20 million devices that still require Flash out there, reports The Guardian's Charles Arthur. And Adobe estimated by the end of this year that number would leap to 200 million. Instead of running Flash, Adobe will "be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores," writes Winokur. Most future devices -- with notable exception of the BlackBerry PlayBook, which will have Flash 11.1 -- will be Flash-free.
There's a reason Adobe has decided to kill off its mobile flash efforts and not its desktop version. While Flash works (mostly) fine for running videos and animations on computers, Flash on mobile phones, as TechCrunch's MG Siegler eloquently put it, "sucked." Or less caustically, Nieman Lab's Joshua Benton wrote that it was "buggy, slow and crashy." And as Jobs explained in his April 2010 public Adobe Flash takedown, Flash just couldn't get its mobile act together. "We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now," he wrote on Apple's site. "We have never seen it."