Topic: Virtualization

Adobe Flash Player Turfed for Mobile Devices

added by Douglas Bonderud on November 10, 2011

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The Adobe Flash Player, long a standard for desktop devices, is being axed from development in mobile devices, according to Adobe. On November 8, 2011, the company announced that as part of a major restructuring effort involving over 700 layoffs and a refocusing of their digital media business, it would stop developing any new mobile versions of its popular player. Speculation abounds as to the reason for the change and exactly where Adobe will go from here.

Mobile Flashing and the Move Forward

According to a recent Gear and Gadgets article, the Adobe Flash Player will no longer be developed for new mobile platforms or new iterations of currently used devices. Instead, Adobe is going to focus on developing its AIR product line as well as tools that allow Flash content to deploy natively. In a statement released by the company, Adobe stated that their "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."

While the initial marriage of Flash to mobile devices seemed natural, the company has struggled to create a version of the player that worked as well on tablets and smartphones as it does on desktops. Their original attempt, Flash Lite, had limitations compared the full version, and while native ARM support was eventually added to Flash itself, allowing it to make inroads into the Android phone market, several device manufacturers including Apple and Windows refused to use the Adobe Flash Player with their mobile technology.

The Difficult Jobs of Adobe Flash Player

One of the most well-known and contentious rivalries in the cutthroat world of mobile technology was between mobile giant Apple and Adobe, specifically the rivalry between Steve Jobs and the Adobe Flash Player. A USA Today article details Jobs' argument that the program hogged both battery and processing power and caused devices running it to perform poorly. Adobe countered by saying that Apple's devices were the problem and weren't properly optimized. Apple threw its support behind HTML5, which works across platforms, and because of the company's popularity in the consumer market, many developers supported both HTML5 and the Adobe Flash Player. Now, HTML5 has become a standard in the industry, leaving Adobe will little reason to pursue mobile Flash. Still, Adobe principal product manager John Nack says, "Saying that Flash on mobile isn't the best path forward (is not equal to) Adobe conceding that Flash on mobile (or elsewhere) is bad technology."

The Future of Flash

Adobe has now taken steps to advance its own development of HTML5 by acquiring companies like Nitobi in October of 2011, and the company appears determined to streamline its efforts in both the mobile and desktop-driven world. With issues surrounding vulnerabilities in the Flash Standard code and an increased focus by individual and corporate consumers on technology that does not bog down virtual machines or slow handheld devices to a crawl, the Adobe Flash Player has a difficult road ahead.

Topics: Virtualization


About the Author

Douglas Bonderud

Member since October 2011

A freelance writer since 2009, Doug has a particular passion for technology and its impact on our daily lives. As an evolving resource, technology changes us as much as we inform its development, giving fertile ground for thought.
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