Adobe Axes Mobile Flash in Favor of Rival HTML5

Adobe confirmed today that it is no longer adapting its Flash Player to newer mobile devices, instead guiding developers to package native apps with Adobe Air or build cross-platform applications in HTML5.

The move indicates just how badly Apple’s ban of Flash hurt Adobe in terms of getting traction with mobile developers. Apple frequently called out the inefficiency of the Flash platform on mobile devices, most recently in an April 2011 blog post from the late Steve Jobs. A ZDNet report came out last night, breaking news of Adobe’s decision.

There were a handful of apps (e.g. iSwifter) that could more or less convert or run Flash apps on iOS devices, but this doesn’t seem to have been a long-term solution for most game developers looking to take their Flash-based games cross-platform. This leaves Flash-loyal game developers with two options: write native apps for each mobile device, or explore alternatives that can produce a single product that runs on various devices.

With a big push from industry giants like Google and Facebook, HTML5 has emerged as an alternative to writing native applications, despite frame-rate issues that present challenges for game developers. Facebook recently launched its own mobile platform with support for HTML5 games from a test pool of established mobile and social game developers.

A handful of indie developers are currently launching HTML5-based arcade and board game titles on Facebook, iOS and Android. Though some of these titles are experiencing growing pains in their early days, they are functional on both web and mobile. Most developers have told us, however, that it’ll be at least another year before HTML5 comes into its own for game development.

Adobe says that it will now take a larger role in contributing to HTLM5 development both through investment and by working with Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM. Hopefully this will yield better HTML5 tools more quickly than a year out from now, as Adobe’s strength has always been tools.

The rest of its mobile work will focus on native app packaging with Adobe Air and the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook. The developer will also supply bug fixes and security updates for existing Flash mobile apps. Adobe Flash Player 11 and Air 3 launched in October with a keen emphasis on high-end gaming graphics and HD video for PCs; Adobe says it’s already at work on Flash Player 12.

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2 Responses to “Adobe Axes Mobile Flash in Favor of Rival HTML5”

  1. Ando says:

    Might want to add that apps and games created using Flex and Flash Builder convert to Blackberry, Android and iOS quite easily. They also run quite well and efficiently enough to support most apps and less complex (non 3D) games.

    So yes, Flash used in websites may not run on your mobile devices but the apps and games may still be developed in Flash. Adobe will continue to support Flex to be used in this way and regularly give free full day seminars to teach developers how easy it is to develop for all 3 mobile platforms using one code base. Flash isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet.

  2. Monty Python says:

    I think a lot of people and most of all haters are out in full spread FUD about FLASH. Most don’t understand that the Apps developed for Adobe AIR run in it’s own FLASH Player. Ando above mentions that AIR like FLASH itself is the only fully cross platform that is both powerful and runs pretty much the same across all platforms. Here’s a video showing YouTube FLASH video playing in AIR Player on many devices. Including iOS devices!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNqHBQnYf4Q

    Yes that’s FLASH videos from YouTube running the same on both iOS and Android in the AIR player App. FLASH is bringing a revolution in gaming with incredible compiling tools that can bring in even more Flash developers with Alchemy compiler. Major game developers can easily port their games and engine to FLASH 11 to run on any device that has AIR installed. Develop ONCE…. and your code runs the same on many platforms. Here’s the Epic Games UT3 (Unreal Engine 3) running in FLASH 11 player. Android and Playbook will still be able to play these high end graphics games for several years right in their browser.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6KFF30Cw5M

    Again these are the quality of games coded in Adobe Actionscript (FLASH) or transcoded from C++ and when you can play these kinds of games at 1080p 60fps in your browser and you’re real gamer, you are in heaven!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0w2tPshBI8

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