In a move that was a long time coming and not terribly surprising, Adobe announced today that they will drop all future development of Flash player on mobile devices. Instead Adobe will put most of its energy behind HTML5.
During the past year, Adobe has steadily moved towards embracing HTML5 and refocusing its efforts on continuing to create the world’s best design tools and less on propping up a legacy, proprietary technology. Putting HTML5 first is a continutation of the path they committed themselves to last month at their MAX 2011 conference when they announced the acquistions of Nitobi (maker of the PhoneGap cross-platform mobile development framework) and TypeKit.
It’s also not surprising given the fact that for all their protestations, and pronouncements about hardware acceleration, Flash was a dog on mobile devices. Performance was poor and battery life suffered even more.
Adobe is saying that to ease the transition of Flash developers that they will still be able to leverage their skills for mobile development using the AIR framework which is approved on iOS, Android and Research in Motion platforms (BlackBerry OS and BBX née QNX). Adobe will also continue to support Flash on the desktop into the future with a focus on “advanced gaming and premium video”.
However, the move could spell the end of Flex as a framework as noted by this tweet from Forrester’s Mike Gualtieri:
So now that that’s settled, what will the Android phone makers use as a differentiator from Apple’s devices now that they can’t trot out “support for Flash Player 10.2” anymore?
What’s your POV? Does this announcement affect your approach to mobile development or had you already moved off of Flash-based development? Please let me know in the comments below.