Adobe to stop further development on mobile Flash Player

By Bla1ze on 9 Nov 2011 05:49 am EST
Adobe Flash

While we all know BlackBerry smartphones have no use for Flash, the BlackBerry PlayBook does rely quite heavily on it so the information of Adobe's Flash Player for mobile no longer being supported is an interesting one. As reported by ZDNet from a purported debriefing document sent to developers:

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. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.

Now if Adobe makes this official later today as expected -- it really won't mean much for the BlackBerry PlayBook. The PlayBook will still get security fixes and updates as needed but it certainly does make us wonder about future BBX devices that are already in the pipeline. Either way, we'll wait and see how this one pans out. Looks like HTML5 is winning this 'war of the internet'.

Source: ZDNet

Reader comments

Adobe to stop further development on mobile Flash Player


Also: I do believe I was one of the only ones saying RIM shouldn't make such a big deal about Flash in their advertisements and such for the PlayBook. Of course, mostly everyone disagreed with me including Kevin.. lol.

What?! Just sayin'

u want a medal?

I still think flash is still a good point to make. it's not like flash is being abandoned but I still find it a little strange - maybe it's just spreading them too thin?

Partners are still able to implement it with their own stuff but the whole security stuff could be a worry in the future.

I want cookies, not medals.

And IMO it was never a good point to make it such a prominent forefront feature, even going so far as to go ahead and call Apple out on it in their PlayBook commercials.

And while you say folks can still implement it, you point out the fact that security is a concern of yours and what other feature does RIM hype the most in their products? -- Security.

@ Bla1ze

I woke up this morning and tried to check my local election results on my phone but couldnt because the election results menu was flash. I then fired up my wife's ipad - could not see the results. Opened up my playbook and there they were.

If anything I believe the value of flash is underestimated and trivialized. I experience things like the above several times a week.

The contrary experience is when you try to use something written in Flash on the PlayBook or an Android device and it ends up being an exercise in frustration because the app depends on things like mouseovers, which tablets cannot do, o some Flash ad runs poorly and chokes the browser.

I usually end up turning Flash off out of frustration. Android, at least, gives the option to turn it on on an app-by-app basis. Heck, half the time it runs terribly on desktop PCs.

Flash, on it's own, isn't a selling point. If it made a difference, Apple wouldn't be outselling everyone else combined by orders of magnitude. Steve Jobs was right to ban Flash on it's own, and that it really is a poor choice on mobile devices. I suspect Adobe knows this, too, which is why they're planning or implementing ways to avoid Flash even in their own tools, like Captivate.

I do worry about the use of Flash in other apps. On Android, there's a few (including the excellent Zoodles app for kids---this would be a nice port to the PB) that use it. On the PlayBook it's probably similar.

It sounds like Adobe will still maintain Flash as part of AIR mobile runtimes, and that you can still use Flash as part an AIR project, but that you can't use Flash directly, outside of AIR. That said, I'd also worry about Adobe's commitment to AIR in the long-term: they've already axed the Linux runtime, and there's no reason they couldn't kill any of the other desktop variants as they saw fit.

I love having Flash on my PB even some minor things don't work properly on touch screens. For the most part, I haven't had any problems with it. At least the PB will continue to get security and bug fixes until the WWW transitions to HTML5 or whatever else. Glad to have Flash on my PB.

@ psarhj

I have owned the PB since day 1 and have never turned flash off. Off the top of my head I wouldnt even know where to turn it off (probably settings).

While Flash on its own should never be a selling point - it does provide the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" argument. Flash with QNX - a good browsing experience - portability - bridge.

I am ever more convinced of this since my wife got an ipad. I find myself trying to do something on it and end up putting it down and grabbing my PB.

Likewise. I was debating making the switch to Android because half of the youtube vids posted on my FB can't be accessed by my Bold 9700. But since YouTube started supporting BB HTML5 that works great on the 9900 and so I just picked one up. However, this morning I got post for a vimeo video that I still couldn't see on the 9900, but worked beautifully on the Playbook. Tried watching HBOGO... needs a dedicated app on the apple products, but works fine on the Playbook in the browser. Tried checking Yahoo Finance interactive stock chart... Playbook only. Got a message that portraits of my kids are ready to view on the photog's website... whole site is done in Flash.

Currently the mobile experience is miserable without flash. Since flash is still supported on the desktop I suspect it will be a long while before everyone is willing to incur the expense of recoding their sites into a completely different language.

I don't blame rim for advertising a richer browsing experience it was one of the features that gave it an edge but not the only feature and certainly not the only feature for me i find myself using the bridge feature alot that is something the competition just doest very happy with my playbook i have it with me always fits nicely in my purse and its even replaced my laptop/desktop for most things. Adobe will keep updates with bug and security fixes and rim on future devices will have to adapt and innovate with the new reality

Well, considering that the deep re-branding time of a web site is 3-4 years, having flash capabilities will still be an advantage for years.
Mes deux sous ;-)

Are you saying that it was better off for RIM not to let people know the PlayBook can do that well?! Please explain that logic.

It's still an advantage to be able to run Flash well NOW. Just because Adobe decides not to invest any more time and money on Flash doesn't mean that being able to run it is worth nothing.

And please explain what significant impact would this possibly have on BBX, as you were suggesting in your story? Flash is only but one dev tool for BBX. It's not like BBX foundation is based on that.

This is just a talking point. HTML 5 is in the pipeline anyway. This doesn't mean that flash is not important right now. I still don't want a device that I can't view the internet on today. But HTML 5 definitely solves the battery life problem and Adobe will be more profitable in the future when it comes out. They lost a ton of revenue going head to head with Apple.

Wow, so glad they built the entire Playbook UI on Flash and now its support is going to be drying up. Hopefully RIM was made fully aware of this and this is why 2.0 was delayed, or could this be the reason behind RIM's supposed two day meeting? If they didn't know about this then BBX will be delayed even longer IMHO as will RIM's transition.

why would it affect the playbook? playbook runs flash, and theyve said (in a leaked memo) that it`ll still be continued for existing devices, so there wont be any real impact to existing devices, purely new devices that come out.

The PB UI isn't "built on Flash", it's just supported in the browser. Since the PB browser was designed with HTML5 support in mind, it's a non-issue.

Adobe is continuing to support Air (which is really a Flash app platform), so I'm confused as to what the big deal is here.

Man, you have your technical details ALL wrong.

Playbook UI on Flash??? Seriously??? BBX delayed due to this???

Talk about being clueless.

Wow, did CB do any research before posting this?

Both Android and the Playbook use the Air runtime not the Flash runtime. This announcement does not effect either platform. It likely only effects a small number of other "mobile" devices.

Wrong. The PlayBook has both AIR and Flash. AIR is the runtime for local native-type apps you install through App World. However when you open your browser and navigate to a Flash page that is the Flash Runtime - absolutely nothing to do with AIR. Basically, Adobe is shitcanning Flash in the browser - you know, that thing RIM advertises a lot.

Yup, everything you said is true regarding flash vs air. That would, in theory, mean that flash in the browser is dead on those two platforms, except this quote from the article.

"We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates."

Why? PB still >>> ipad in terms of browsing experience. Not having Flash NOW still makes it unusable in my experiences.

"PB still >>> ipad in terms of browsing experience"

No, it isn't. It's good, and a damn sight better than Android, but the presence of Flash and a point on the ACID score doesn't forgive stalling text input, no autocorrect, no way to edit bookmarks and the occasional slow page load.

agree. ipad browsing experience is better than the playbook.i used ipad before i bought the playbook. i love the playbook potential i.e flash browser, ability to bridge with bb phone hence no need another data plan, and small enough to carry around. however like you said certain problems with the playbook make browsing experience a nightmare. i longer turn on flash for the browser. to be honest i regret selling my ipad

@ psarhj

"No, it isn't. It's good, and a damn sight better than Android, but the presence of Flash and a point on the ACID score doesn't forgive stalling text input, no autocorrect, no way to edit bookmarks and the occasional slow page load."

Stalling inputs? Slow page loads? Welcome to technology. These issues are not exclusive to the PB, QNX or RIM. Internet Exploder anyone?

It's not "welcome to technology". Try loading, oh, CrackBerry's forums on an iPad and a PlayBook. The former loads the page to a usable state quicker.

There's several threads about this and, yes, part of the blame is with the site itself, but the iPad doesn't do that. Heck, the classic BBOS doesn't either.

The solutions people offer are "Turn off flash" and "Turn off Javascript", at which point I have to ask: what part of a "superior browsing experience" is this?

I like my PlayBook, but I'm not blind to the marketing mistake RIM made here: people don't care about Flash, they care about autocorrect and editable bookmarks. I end up browsing and commenting on my Bold instead of my PB because text entry is profoundly frustrating a) without autocorrect, and b) when text input is 300-baud-modem slow.

The holistic experience matters in the tablet market, not bullet-point feature-chasing.

I don't mean to single out RIM, either. Honeycomb tablets are equally, if sometimes differently, frustrating, and it's not like Google hasn't produced a quality browser in Chrome---they just can't seem to write a Chrome equivalent for Android.

I have 150 PlayBook @ work and some of those people have moved to the iPad. Their first complaint was "no flash, what? I can't do X and Y?!?". There goes our competitive edge :( I loath you iPad!

I think this Adobe Flash issue illustrates amply that it's now a *software* war, not a hardware war anymore...

RIM/BlackBerry gotta spend more to hire quality BBX/QNX programmers, and persuade more App Developers to write for RIM/BlackBerry...

Right now from what I see, it's just a 2-horse race, many Apps in Asia are written only for iPh*ne and Andr*id, with no mention of BlackBerry support at all...

"So what exactley can the Playbook do thats better when compared to any other tablet out there on the market? The answer is nothing."

That was the tag line on a local radio program in Vancouver when they ran the story about Adobe and Flash.

So Flash just suddenly disappeared from the face of the Earth today?

Lots of idiots out there. They don't even fully understand the news they are reporting.

But I thought all mobile devices HAD to have Flash in order for them to be viable? The bottom line is that it just doesn't work very well on mobile devices (PB included). I have a PB and while its ok, its far from perfect and causes problems a lot of the time.

I wonder if this has anything to do with Microsoft (Windows 8) will fit its full operating system on mobile devices like tablets/pads and with a full OS and internet explorer flash will be available giving it an edge against andriod apple and rim

Microsoft has more or less said that, on tablets (I can't recall if it was "On ARM", "In Metro" and/or both) IE plugins will not work.

So no Java or Flash on Windows Tablet 8. Possibly no SilverLight, either.

It's HTML5 all the way.

I really hope the day comes where Netflix will operate via HTML5 and dump silverlight all together as Silverlight in my opinion is trash.

It was initially on ARM but there is a video ( showing flash running on an ARM tablet. Intel tablets such as my Asus Eee Slate run all IE plugins, Java etc. run fine just as under Windows 7. I agree though that HTML5 will be the future as MS appears to be moving in that direction as well if they are serious about touting the same experience for Windows 8 on both platforms. Since Wintel apps won't run on ARM it looks more like a move to Metro apps and HTML5 for the future. Check out the "End of Wintel" article at for more on this idea. Office 365 will likely also be a big part of this growing trend toward mobile computing.

Even though all efforts on the Flash Player mobile version are going to be put to rest, the BlackBerry BBX will sleep easy! If in truth that the soon-to-be-released BBX device will in fact support 1024x600 like the PlayBook and already having adopted much of QNX it will be using the same one! Therefore as the BBX will be seen as a smartmobile to many of us it will indeed actually be a miniturised tablet in it's hidden under-appearance! Easily developing one for the PlayBook means it will be compatible on the BBX OS platform. ---> you heard first from the DigitalHomeBoy!

Touted "features" & services for the PlayBook are shutting down one by one and RIM has yet to release 2.0 of their software.

This is really annoying... We can completely forget flash ever being released on any other Blackberry device that they kept talking about and hyping up in the past. They probably realized just how much their product sucks and couldn't do anything positive in order to bring it to mobile devices at mass levels.

Honestly, I have to give Steve Jobs respect where it's due. Adobe Flash is garbage and he knew this miles away. Then again, ALL Adobe software is overbloated, unsecure pieces of garbage.