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Adobe: We're ditching Flash Player for mobile

Company confirms earlier reports, saying it will now concentrate its mobile software development efforts on HTML5.

Adobe Systems is indeed scrapping its Flash browser plug-in for mobile devices.

The company says it is abandoning its work on a mobile version of the Flash Player and will now concentrate its mobile software development efforts on HTML5. The announcement this morning confirms earlier reports from last night.

Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager of interactive development at Adobe, said in a blog post:

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 continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook. We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.

The move breaks with what had been Adobe's defiant embrace of its venerable Flash technology, a symbol of its strength on desktop PCs, in the face of the surging adoption of a wide variety of powerful mobile devices, from the iPad to countless smartphones. The Flash Player has yet to become much of a presence in the mobile phone market.

With its announcement this morning, Adobe acknowledged the sea change, as reflected in the widespread adoption of HTML5:

HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.

The news is further evidence of Adobe coming to grips with the realities of contemporary computing trends. As my colleague Stephen Shankland wrote just a few weeks back, "Adobe is being reborn as a Web technology company that is advancing Web standards, not promoting its own in-house technology alternative at the expense of those standards."

Throttling back on mobile development efforts on the Flash Player will let Adobe increase its investment in HTML5. And Adobe said it aims to continue working with Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Research In Motion "to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers."

But Adobe also said it still sees room for innovation with Flash, particularly in the areas of advanced gaming and premium video.

Work is already under way on Flash Player 12 and a "new round of exciting features" in the area of "high definition entertainment experiences," Winokur said. "And we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged."