As detailed on the official Adobe blog yesterday, the software company will halt all development of the Adobe Flash player on Android smartphones. This means anyone that upgrades to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) won’t be able to download a certified Adobe update to Flash player. While the player could still work when using Android 4.1, Adobe believes that the software will be unpredictable when in use and the company recommends that users remove the software from their mobile device after upgrading. Without Adobe Flash, some Android users may be in a similar situation as Apple iPhone owners. However, many sites have adopted HTML5 over Adobe Flash in an effort to provide a mobile-compatible version for all devices.
Since Adobe is halting all development of the software, the company plans to modify settings on the Google Play store to limit the devices that can download the software. For instance, any Android device that’s using a version of the operating system beyond Android 4.0 won’t be able to download Flash Player from the Google Play Store.
Adobe officials don’t feel comfortable continuing to allow Android 4.1 users to download the software since Adobe hasn’t spent any time or resources making sure Flash player works correctly with Jelly Bean. That certification process requires Adobe to test Flash Player on the majority of Android devices on the market in order to see if the software is working correctly.
However, Flash player won’t be automatically removed from devices that upgrade to Android 4.1. In addition, Adobe plans to continue releasing security updates to devices with Flash player already installed. The decision to transition away from Adobe Flash development on mobile Android devices was made last year. The company plans to shift resources into continued development of the Adobe AIR platform in addition to Flash for the personal computer. The Adobe AIR platform is already providing a mobile video solution for a variety of developers.
For instance, ESPN uses Adobe AIR to delivery live streaming video through the WatchESPN application on the Google Play Store. Other implementations of the Adobe AIR platform include the iTV Player application and the Snagfilms application.
Adobe AIR’s uses aren’t strictly limited to premium video applications either. The home monitoring application Dropcam was originally built on the the AIR platform and allows users to view a live streaming video feed of a location where a Dropcam has been installed.
With more resources shifting to Adobe Flash for the PC, the company can focus on more security and bug fixes for the software. Earlier this month, Adobe shipped an update to Flash Player 11.3. However, Mozilla Firefox users experienced a variety of browser crashes when attempting to view Flash content. The crashes were mostly isolated to users on Windows Vista or Windows 7. Officials at Mozilla and Adobe were pointing fingers at each other, but the two companies eventually isolated the problem and issued a fix approximately a week later. The repeated crashed were related to the RealPlayer plug-in which has now been added to the Mozilla blacklist of problematic extensions and plug-ins.