The end of development for Flash Player mobile has been a hot topic these past couple days. Adobe announced that HTML5 was the future of mobile media, and that the company needed to put their efforts into that and Air. But is that the only reason?
Adobe product manager Mike Chambers took to his personal blog today to lay out the reasoning behind the move away from Flash Player for mobile browsers. HTML5, Air and “differences in how users consume rich content on mobile devices compared to the desktop” were all cited as valid reasons, but the first thing Chambers mentions is the fact that Flash Player for mobile would never be as popular as Flash Player for desktops.
This one should be pretty apparent, but given the fragmentation of the mobile market, and the fact that one of the leading mobile platforms (Apple’s iOS) was not going to allow the Flash Player in the browser, the Flash Player was not on track to reach anywhere near the ubiquity of the Flash Player on desktops.
Just to be very clear on this: No matter what we did, the Flash Player was not going to be available on Apple’s iOS anytime in the foreseeable future.Mike Chambers
As you can see, Chambers also lists market fragmentation (different OS vendors, hardware manufacturers and component manufacturers) as a deciding factor in Adobe’s move, but Apple’s refusal to adopt Flash left Adobe in a tight spot. The amount of resources that go into development were overwhelming, and the demand for Flash on mobile devices was nowhere near that of desktops.
If Apple had allowed Flash to run on Safari mobile, would things have turned out differently? There’s a good chance they would have, but that’s all in the past now. Android’s browser is well suited for HTML5, and there’s still a recent version of Flash available to combat any short-term compatibility issues. Whatever the future holds, Flash or not, Android will be ready for it.