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Adobe To Abandon Mobile Flash

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Posthumous victory for Steve Jobs as Adobe stops updating mobile Flash in favour of HTML5

Adobe is to announce that will stop updating update its mobile Flash plugin and will instead focus its attention on developing HTML5 technologies.

The announcement, which is expected to accompany a financial briefing to analysts, will confirm that existing Android and Blackberry plug-ins will continue to receive patches and security updates, but there will be no further development.

Flash in the pan

An Adobe statement read, “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, “it continued, “We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.”

This shift  towards the open standard HTML5 has led some to speculate about the future of Flash on desktops. It has been plagued with security problems and will not be supported by Windows 8’s Metro browser due to battery life and privacy considerations.

A mobile Flash plug-in was made available for Android devices earlier this year and Adobe announced that every Android tablet running 3.0 Honeycomb would be Flash-enabled. Some Blackberry devices are also capable of running Flash, but iOS devices have never supported it, with Apple and its late chief executive Steve Jobs being vocal critics of the platform.

Jobs decreed that Flash was not suitable for iOS as it was not secure or touch compatible enough and its performance record was not sufficiently reliable. He also argued that Flash was a closed system, which did not fit with Apple’s policy of using open standards such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

However the overwhelming popularity of the Flash-enabled SkyFire browser demonstrated an appetite for Flash content among iOS users and Adobe itself released Flash Media Server 4.5 which allowed live-streamed video to be viewed on iPhones and iPads.