Flash quietly re-emerges on Amazon's Kindle Fire

The ousted technology has been tested since February by Amazon to see if it makes sense to bring it back.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Flash might be all but dead in the mobile space, but Amazon is considering whether it's time to revive it.

Speaking to All Things Digital in an interview published on Tuesday, Amazon's Kurt Kufeld confirmed that his company has been quietly testing Flash support with Kindle Fire owners since February. The effort was offered under the guise of an "experimental streaming viewer" when users would watch Flash video on certain popular sites such as Fox.com, CBS.com, and NBC.com.

According to Amazon, the technology relies partly on the Silk browser running on Amazon's Kindle Fire, as well as the company's cloud-based technologies. Kufeld told All Things Digital that it's part of a broader effort on Amazon's part to "solve customer frustrations."

"One we heard often from customers was that they wanted to view Flash content," he said.

Flash was once a dominant force in online video and gaming. But after Apple launched its line of iDevices and left Flash out, slowly but surely, the technology started to give way. Even Adobe, which supported native Flash support on Android devices, ditched the technology a couple of years ago. Still, Flash lives on across the Web, and some people still want to access it from mobile devices.

Looking ahead, Amazon plans to continue to support Flash and expand the "experimental streaming viewer" to more sites. According to All Things Digital, in its first month of availability, Kindle Fire owners streamed 1.4 million minutes of Flash video.