End of the line for Flash on Android

Adobe's Tareq AlJaber: "To ensure that the Flash Player provides the best possible experience for users, our partner program requires certification of each Flash Player implementation. ... There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1."


  1. “To ensure that the Flash Player provides the best possible experience for users,

    we have decided to throw it away and start over from scratch.”

      1.  Uh, that was sarcasm. I was suggesting what they would do if they were *really* interested in providing the best possible experience for users.

  2. You’ll still be able to sideload Flash, according to the article, but you’re taking your own chances.

      1. As for sideloading, not nearly as convenient; for taking one’s chances, it’s no different than using most freebie software.  You get what you pay for.

  3. I seem to remember all sorts of hoohah about iOS not supporting Flash. And now it’s leaving Android too. Once again, Apple were ahead of the curve. (maybe because they were drawing the curve, but you can’t blame someone for blazing their own path and taking their own risks. You can be slightly surprised when others follow)

    1. It’s all about standards compliance. As soon as .pdf was an ISO standard, apple made a great pdf viewer for their OS. But since flash is proprietary, Apple would be at the mercy of Adobe’s (proven questionable) quality control. If I remember the quote correctly, Flash was the number one source of crashes on OSX, but the CEO of Adobe had no idea.

      1. That and the battery issues. Flash ads and unnecessary content would be responsible for draining the life out of the phone, and people would be angry at the phone, not flash.

        Anyway, I use iOS the majority of the time now (iPad slowly replacing laptop), and very very rarely come across content I can’t see/load. I’ve been saying for years that games are the only legitimate use of flash on the web. I find that html5 is far more reliable for video, and did anyone really enjoy flash splash screens?

        1. Only we are beginning to see everything that people complain about with Flash in HTML5. Ads aren’t quite yet there but slowly coming and they tend to consume huge amount of CPU and unnecessary battery.

          I still use Flash Player mobile regularly on my Android tablet. In Canada there is content like the Daily Show and Colbert Report from the Comedy Network that runs in a Flash interface. It runs quite smoothly on my tablet and I can’t view that content without Flash. There’s an iPad app to view those shows, but only if you have a special 3G data package from Bell and I have a wifi-only iPad.

          It’s too bad that Adobe didn’t change their revenue model to say charge for the mobile Flash Player as it’s something I would pay for to keep to access a lot of content that still hasn’t been switched over to HTML5. Or because of the lack of DRM in HTML5 video, some things like online tv shows likely won’t ever be switched over to web.

          1. There’ll definitely be use-cases where people will run into more flash content, I certainly wouldn’t deny that, it’s just my experience.
            I work with the web though and so have quite an intimate relationship with html5, and started using and coding with flash over a decade ago, so I’ve known it all from both perspectives. I’ve never had an issue with html5 video personally, but flash on my MacBook is a bastard. Not only does it need updating every 5 minutes, half the time it simply doesn’t work properly.
            But I do know people that for whatever reason interact with a lot of flash content, and iOS would be completely unusable for them. No one in the web industry uses flash any more though outside of legacy stuff that’s still hanging around. Online games and gambling (and banner ads I guess) are the only areas I know of that still intentionally use the technology due to there not being a better alternative available to them (mostly due to the pervasiveness of flash, which will likely change over time due to the reduction in content). You’ve got better SaaS options, better UI options, better (subjective) video options and better animation options available now. The web is a different place to what it was 10 years ago, and right now flash just doesn’t fit at all into our workflow, it has no place. Responsive and dedicated mobile/tablet approaches are being taken more and more as well, and flash wouldn’t even be considered in these areas, as much for its bloat as the fact that iOS is a huge consideration when dealing with this stuff (no one makes a dedicated android site, you’ll be lucky if it’s even tested on android half the time).
            I wrote so much that I forgot what my point was, so I’m stopping.

          2. NathanHornby: “Not only does it need updating every 5 minutes, half the time it simply doesn’t work properly.”

            Going forward, updates are no longer an issue, as the current version of Flash Player does automatic updates in the background.

            NathanHornby: “There’ll definitely be use-cases where people will run into more flash content, I certainly wouldn’t deny that, it’s just my experience.”
            I’m also a developer who has worked with Flash for years but I haven’t touched it since last fall, concentrating on mobile projects with PhoneGap using either jQuery Mobile or Sencha Touch 2. I completely understand how the web has involved, in many cases not even with any of the new HTML5 features, but just better frameworks using HTML4 and CSS3.

            So I completely agree with what you are saying that Flash Player mobile mainly for legacy content, but there is still a lot of that legacy content out there. Purely as a user, I want Flash on my mobile devices, more so with tablets than my smartphone and mainly to watch video content. 
            While HTML5 video is great for things like YouTube videos, there is no DRM solution for HTML5 video and I doubt there will be any in the future. So networks or video providers who want to protect their content will continue to use plugins or mobile apps.I don’t have cable and there are specific tv shows (such as Daily Show & Colbert Report) that I watch online, inside of Flash that I can’t watch elsewhere.

          3. Idon’t Know: “No, HTML 5 doesn’t have near the issues of Flash.  Flash is bloated, slow, consumes huge hardware resources, and is a seucirty issue.”

            If you watch say, OK GO’s “All Not Lost” HTML5 experiment, it warns the user to close other tags or programs because of the CPU it consumes. There’s been a number of benchmarks of Flash Player mobile versus HTML5 content on Android, that shows Flash was actually running faster. The issue is that often people creating things like banner ads are designers not coders and are doing very intensive animations. As HTML5 tools lower the barrier, we are seeing splash screens, banners ads sucking all sorts of CPU and all the things that people complain about Flash. In these cases, it’s not the tool itself it is the way that it is being used that is bad. Moving it from one technology to another is not going to help.
            Security is also a bit of a strawman’s argument, considering that there was never any exploits that I was aware of in Android from Flash Player mobile in the 2+ years it was on the platform. Also the QuickTime plugin is known to have quite a number of security issues yet is available on iOS.

        2. But without flash ads how would i find out the best insurance rates  or where the best russian dating sites are?

        3. At least with Flash things would generally run the same across platforms. And AS3 is a mature, solid OOP language. I too have not done much Flash work in the past couple years, the last was an interactive project for Yahoo with heavy 3d that couldn’t have been done any other way at the time.

          I really miss working with Flash though, js just seems like such a toy language, and debugging for the 100 or so platform/browser combos adds so much extra dev time to a project compared to a similar project done in Flash. There really isn’t a good replacement at this time. Most clients we work with need to have their sites/apps accessible by the majority of web users, meaning we have to support IE8, etc. So most of HTML5 is still out. And I’m fairly certain that even when HTML5 capable browsers have 95% market penetration, they still will all have their own quirks that will still make debugging a nightmare.

          Another issue with this momentum towards HTML only is the fact that it takes not just years, but a decade to get new features added to the spec. With Flash the platform was improving by leaps and bounds every year with new features, enhanced 3d capability, now hardware acceleration, etc. The nature of HTML standards means that progress on features will be slowed to a snails pace.

          Because of all this I have moved on to learning to program native code for Android and iOS, I don’t even want to be doing web development any longer…

      2. Not true, because if Apple had joined Adobe’s Open Screen Project, they would have gotten access to the source code to the Flash Player and could have fixed any issues themselves. Just as the Android team worked directly on the code to Flash Player mobile for Android. Just as Microsoft now has a modified version of Flash Player for Windows 8 Metro.

        Apple just wasn’t interested in supporting any plugins on iOS except for QuickTime. Part of it seemed to be control and based off of Steve Jobs biography, part of it seemed to be spite from Adobe not giving OSX enough early support.

        1. That is ridiculous.  First they would not have that level of access and you can’t put lipstick on a pig.  flash being the pig.  Adobe loaded Flash up over the years into a bloated security nightmare and why should Apple rewrite the whole thing for them?
          Also it’snot just Apple that wanted nothing to do with Flash,neither does Microsoft or Google or many other companies.

          1. Yes, Apple would have had that kind of access, partners from the Open Screen Project got access to the full source code of the Flash Player.

            Google worked with Adobe for years on Android and still have Flash Player integrated with their Chrome browser as well as their Chrome OS. Google mainly focuses on HTML5 examples, but a number of times with Chrome OS they have actually demoed Flash games being played.

            Microsoft has decided that their new Windows 8 Surface tablet originally had Flash disabled, but after user testing realized there are still too many major sites with Flash content and it is what their users want. So Microsoft, has worked with Adobe to have a modified version of Flash to work on Metro & IE10. Which interestingly enough currently Silverlight is not supported on Metro & IE10.

            Apple was never interested in working with Adobe on the issue. They rather have content providers switch HTML5 or to use QuickTime plugin, since that is still support on iOS. Steve Jobs in his famous thoughts about Flash article references a security report about how bad Flash is, ignoring the fact that the same report actually points out more security holes in QuickTime that is supported on iOS.

    2. I wouldn’t say they were ahead of the curved, but forced the industry. As the main reason that Adobe dropped support for Flash Player mobile is because they were never going to get onto iOS.

    3.  Not exactly a hard curve to follow–it was obvious at the time (and, it turns out, is still rather obvious) that Flash is not a good fit for mobile devices.

      In fact, I’m pretty sure jettisoning mobile Flash has been a huge net benefit for the web as a whole, not just mobile devices.

    4. Dear Apple fan boy,

      Same same, but different. The opposite company is initiating this. Did you miss that, or the implication: Android isn’t preventing you from using your device, the developers are deciding not to develop on it. 

      Apple had reasons beyond stability – ensuring any applications had to be developed on their restrictive, controlled, lucrative platform.  

      I hope telling people what they can and can’t do with items they “own” will never be ahead of the curve.

  4. And I just read the article. Gods, they’re going with Air. I recall a time when every day I switched my PC on, there was another update for Air. Eventually I uninstalled the single thing that made use of it. Haven’t needed it since.

    1. Nothing new that Adobe will keep pushing Adobe AIR mobile, however it seems many companies won’t touch it worried that Adobe may drop it like they did Flash Player mobile.

      Also beyond security updates, Adobe started doing quarterly updates to Flash Player & AIR rolling out new features slowly over time rather than fewer big updates. This was in order to move more quickly and react to changes as well as giving features to developers quicker. Flash Player now has silent background updates, but I don’t think AIR for the desktop ever did.
      That said, for iOS and Android the AIR runtime could be installed within the application itself. It means bigger app files, but then the user doesn’t have to installed AIR separately (in iOS AIR could never be installed separately anyways).That’s a lot way of saying, you might have an AIR app installed on your iOS or Android device and not know it and not ever have to deal with any runtime update.

      Also note that Adobe’s own mobile apps, which have been quite successful such as Photoshop Touch, all use AIR (with one exception of an app that was done naively, but I forget which one).

  5. How many people are NOT going to remember to NOT  upgrade? 

    I’ve always been happy with Adobe Systems, they have a quality product, wonder if they might be getting into hardware soon, maybe an Adobe only device?

    Financially, they’ve made a lot of the right decisions, they’ll be  around for a very long time. 

    1. I’ve never been happy with Adobe’s stuff. Clunky bloatware, IME… although one nice side effect I’ll miss about Flash is the ability to effortlessly block vast swathes of crap.

      And FFS Adobe – if your damn software needs such constant updating, stop bloody hassling me about it and do it automatically, for crying out loud.

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