Flash is dead for mobile phones and tablets

Adobe is stopping Flash for mobile phones and tablets, to focus on HTML5 for playing videos and animations. Just like Steve Jobs wanted.

The great Flash war is over -- and Apple has won. Adobe is pulling the plug on Flash for mobile phones and tablets, to focus on HTML5 for playing videos and animations. Just like Steve Jobs wanted.

A source close to Adobe revealed to our friends at ZDNet that the company will now "focus 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."

Air is another proprietary format, like Flash, but Adobe will also increase investment in the open standard HTML 5.

The iPhone and iPad have never supported Flash, the de facto standard for online video. Apple boss Steve Jobs, who died recently, was unwavering in his hatred of Flash , refusing to bend and allow Apple mobile devices to play it. His intention was to force the Web to bend to his will and make sites switch to HTML5 -- and it looks as though he will get his way.

Flash has long been the standard for video and animation, but it's not without problems. Jobs claimed the proprietary format was too glitchy and caused problems on mobile devices, leeched battery life, and wasn't designed for touchscreens. By contrast, HTML 5 is an open standard that works across all platforms.

Adobe will continue to support Flash for the desktop, but will only offer bug fixes and security updates for the format on Android and BlackBerry. It's also working on Adobe Edge, which pulls together HTML5, JavaScript and CSS to power cross-platform apps and widgets.

Was Apple right to snub Flash all this time to lead the Web towards open standards, or was it staggering arrogance to try and force the change? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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