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Adobe stops development on mobile browser Flash

Emanuele Feronato Flash

Take it as a rumor, but probably tomorrow Adobe will make an announcement saying they will stop working on the Flash player for mobile browser, focusing their efforts on HTML5 development and native mobile apps based on Adobe AIR.

According to a report by ZDNet, the full announcement is as follows:

« 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. »

The company is expected to make it official tomorrow, but as of now, mobile Flash is no longer being developed. Although phone makers who have themselves licensed the technology from Adobe may continue to offer modified versions of it on their phones, it will no longer be officially supported by Adobe.

Does this mean Flash is drawing to an end, as announced by most web developers?

In my opinion, Flash in web design should be replaced by HTML5 or even by jQuery or similar frameworks.

Honestly, I always hated those useless animations and splash screens web developers used to put in their pages in the past decade. It’s just a cheap abuse of the Adobe technology, probably even cheaper than the background filled with animated GIFs annoying me through all 1990’s.

Let developers use HTML5 and jQuery-like frameworks for menus and image transitions.

So, what about Flash in game design? There’s no way for it to be replaced in the short run. No way. Although most of us have a mobile phone, we still work, study and surf from desktops or laptops. And we will continue playing Flash games on such computers, soon powered by Stage3D (former “Molehill”)

Moreover, Adobe has the technology to let us produce native apps with AIR, and I think they will focus on this feature to let us make mobile games, as at the moment if you try to make a complex game in HTML5 and play on your mobile device, it will blow the browser (and the battery) in a quick.

I am sticking with Adobe. People hoping for Flash to be replaced by [some alien technology name here] are people which never tried to do something more interesting than turning a red square in a blue circle.

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Comments 27

  1. Maras

    I agree with your opinion.

    People still saying “Flash will be dead” and they are talking about webpages and banners. I think Flash was already dead in this area long time ago. But in online gaming, that’s different story.

  2. Thaly

    Hi !

    Your analysis is perfect in my opinion.

    Here’s the 5 points answer translated from what I dispatched on my company network when the news was announced and some people started trolling flash teams :

    1- Adobe is gonna focus on air packager, that can allows more powerfull apps than bowser environments anyway. Flash game will continue to run on mobile, but this time, Apple-fans won’t even notice it.
    2- Flash Pro will probably concentrate on rich web-games (BSG Online like or Sims Social, 3D, Massively Multiplayer, taking back market part to Unity3D) and Full Desktop games (Machinarium were a success, but now, you have Molehill…) with Air.
    3- Flash to HTML5-compliant tools are probably gonna multiply. Adobe already issued an animation tool and google an applicative tool (only for AS2 games for what I can tell).
    4- They are probably working on a Flash-like tool for both devs and designers, based on HTML5. That’s the first weakness of HTML, the lake of upstanding tool and Adobe got the client base…
    5- I heard rumors Adobe may be looking into buying a mobile middle-ware, garanteeing an access to mobile platforms in their Creative Suits, but I don’t know what to think about it…

    In any case, long live Flash. I have been telling for years to collegues that Flash weren’t meant for ads and websites. Now we are gonna mbe able to focus on RIA and Games, and that’s just great !

  3. Cristian

    Yep, you are right. The Flash platform will not come to an end(only for mobile :) ). I mean what would be the reason for that?!

    Though, my only desire was to see the Molehill further develop with the mobile environment in action(I am not referring to the present SDKs).


  4. Parallax

    Don’t hold your breath for Stage3D to change much of anything. I haven’t been able to run all the simplest 2D demos of Stage3D so far. Maybe because the filesize is too huge or what, but Flash doesn’t finish loading and I’ve stuck with a perpetual loading screen (or whatever it is the developer designated as the default screen).

    Chrome also becomes terribly sluggish and near unresponsive. This coming from a laptop that can run Battlefield Bad Company 2 on high settings, I’ll say that the 3D renderer has huge issues and isn’t going to be usable on most people’s laptops.

  5. Sebas

    I can agree about stopping the development on smartphones, since it is pretty useless. But what about tabs?! I think flash on tabs could have been still useful (at least to play facebook games, which now obviously must become native apps).

  6. Abiyasa

    My heart is broken right now :-( Makes me wonder about Adobe AIR for mobile.

    If Adobe can’t support Flash Player for mobile devices, what make them thinking they can do it for Adobe AIR runtime? Maybe Adobe plan to have AS3 compiler to mobile native?

    Too bad, Adobe still could win Flash for mobile/tablet, especially for video…

  7. Jeff

    “Maybe Adobe plan to have AS3 compiler to mobile native?”

    That’s what the iOS packager for AIR does, just like the one for Android. It works great too, let’s you use the same codebase for iOS, Android, Desktop App and Web-Plugin. No rewrite’s in 3 languages, but one single base with 2 adative front layers. Sweet! Also HTML5 has nothing on Flash: not on features, not on market penetration and not in performance. It can do some cool thing in demo’s for Chrome and Safari, but real world desktop-websites.. not so much.

  8. Scott

    Im sorry if im being dumb. But does this mean that if I carry on developing mobile applications that they wont work? or is it just meaning there not making any new API’s for mobile?

  9. Chris

    One word that makes flash live on, and web developer everywhere shudder: IE

    The reason why there will always be a place for flash, or hopefully something better, is because browsers do not always follow standards.

    Think about how hard it is to make a complicated game in flash – where you know what it will look like, no matter who plays it.

    Now imagine either 1/2 your audience not being able to play your “html5/ect” app, or having to build in hacks all over the place to support a bug in FF, or the differences in all recent IE versions.

    Stay awake shuddering at night….

  10. Ugo


    I wish that I could compile my Flex applications to HTML5. I hope that is what they meant by: ‘focusing their efforts on HTML5 development’. Imagine, with the same development environment, we could develop for three different platforms: Flash/AIR/HTML5.

  11. John

    This is not such a big deal. Adobe will stop support for the mobile flash player. If you develop flash apps for Android you develop them for AIR, which will still be supported. All this changes is the mobile flash browser experience who had no future anyway. Basically Adobe focuses on what’s really important. The only bad thing about this news is that many misinformed people will misinterpret it and say “flash is dead, html 5 wins” and stuff like that, which will make potential flash developer customers choose different technologies for their projects because they read a headline and think that flash is not a good option. A few killer apps in flash on mobile may open their eyes though and make them realize that there is more to an article than the title. “Adobe stops development on mobile browser Flash” does not mean Flash is out of the mobile battle, but you do have to read more than just the title to understand that.

  12. sacheras3

    Thanks for this article, as I had no doubt as to whether more could be made games made in flash. But now I see more FLASH long continue to be the KING in the field of online gaming. Best regards and thanks for your input.

    Gracias por este articulo , ya que tenia la duda de si no se podrian hacer mas juegos hechos en flash. Pero ahora veo que por mucho tiempo mas FLASH continuara siendo el REY en el campo de los juegos online. Cordial saludo y gracias por tus aportes.

  13. Matt

    Worldwide mobile application store revenue is projected to triple to more than $15.1 billion this year and reach $58 billion in three years, according to Gartner Inc.

    There is no clear structured way to charge users for flash games and apps. Hence why most are free. IF apple allowed flash, its app sales would drop fast.

    The issue here is adobes stocks were falling, while it continued to invest money into building software to battle apple. And for what?

    Adobe is pushing air in order to control flash in a way for it to generate revenue similar to the app store. Free flash games online and such is obviously taking away from cash revenue that app stores could be getting.

    We are pawns in a chess game.

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  15. Inkedchips

    Hey! good one! instead of all of us being flash front end web developers, we will become “web game developers” I don’t know if its good news or bad news, but its a change!

    I like the idea of switching to game developer <— since i was a child i wanted this

  16. Julian

    In my opinion flash is a sinking ship. Still with the combination of haxe (haxe.org) as3 can be used to create native apps and also create an swf if you still want to. You should give haxe a try Emanuele. It’s the better way trust me. Using adobe flash for mobile games is just not as good as using haxe instead. Native apps just feel better. That’s a fact and will never change. You are able to port most projects written in as3 to haxe in a day.

    Good lucky with your work. Your blog is more then great! Thanks for that.
    With best regards,

  17. teonicel

    There is no faster solution for developing interactive applications than the Flash Professional/FlashBuilder, not as complex as Flash is. So stop talking without any reason about the end of the Flash Player. And now let’s talk about Apple, their Mac OS represents only 2% OS the computers in the world, when Microsoft will say that they are ditching FlashPlayer that day when it will be dead. About the banners no Marketing Department in this world will use other technology for banners then flash because other technology is bigger in filesize and time consuming to produce and they aren’t that “flashy”. As for the future of Flash i can only see it evolving into a better and better platform.

  18. Benjamin

    I don’t think Flash has anything to worry about. People– especially so-called technology analysts, journalists, and joe layman– do not understand the technology and they only read sensationalist headlines like “Flash is Dead” and they believe this without understanding anything about it.

    I think Emanuele is correct, people who are touting HTML5 as a “Flash-killer” have probably never tried to do anything complex like a game before. They just don’t understand that flash does more than videos and advertisements. So the uneducated masses will continue to believe these false and misleading headlines because they don’t bother to understand what is happening. They’re just out for blood.

    Really they are tired of the crappy Flash banner advertisements and ads, made with terrible code that crashes their browser. Once those get converted to HTML5, they will have no more excuse to hate Flash!

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  20. Malken

    It’s all over, guys, the war is over and we’ve lost!

    Time to pack up and go back to our wives and children, they will surely appreciate the extra free time we now have to give them.

  21. nickycsako

    History repeats itself….when adobe/macromedia director has reached the “stage 3d”… killed him (peaked too soon?)…. now flash…for flash web developers salt is 10 years ago… company policy…

  22. Vipul Patil

    I have been a Flash game programmer for a couple of years. I have also been a huge Emanuele Feronato fan.
    Even though working with Flash has been a lot of fun, I cannot deny that I felt the platform had a lot of shortcomings when performance was considered. Having given HTML5 a try, I agree that HTML5 is not replacing Flash for online games anytime soon. But then, as HTML5 matures it will, at some point, catch up with Flash.
    Given that the next move for Adobe, is 3D, it inevitably means that they have given up on further improving Flash on 2D front.
    So I really think that Flash will die, if not now, then later, but it will.

    P.S. I had talked about this some time back on my blog – http://www.qoolean.com/blog/2011/05/01/kingdom_of_flash/

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