Jun 29 AT 2:10 PM Nick Gray 31 Comments

Flash Player won’t be updated for Android 4.1 – Adobe to block new installs on August 15th


Back in November, Adobe announced that they would be discontinuing development of the Flash Player for mobile browsers. While Adobe isn’t quite ready to kill of Flash Player for Android, today they announced that Android 4.1 will not be officially supported. Going forward, Adobe will not be working with device manufacturers to certify Flash for individual handsets and they will also turn off new installations of Flash Player from Google Play on August 15th.

Devices that don’t have the Flash Player provided by the manufacturer typically are uncertified, meaning the manufacturer has not completed the certification testing requirements. In many cases users of uncertified devices have been able to download the Flash Player from the Google Play Store, and in most cases it worked. However, with Android 4.1 this is no longer going to be the case, as we have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options. There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1.Adobe

Adobe’s announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but Flash Player support within Android web browsers will surely be missed. While Flash support was viewed as a key differentiator between Android and iOS, it never lived up to its full potential. As more web developers embrace HTML5 and other standards, the gap left open by the removal of Flash support will not be as noticed.

If you don’t have Flash Player installed on your Android device (we’re not really sure why anyone wouldn’t), we’d suggest you get it now. Will Adobe’s decision to kill of Flash support on Android devices have a huge impact on the future of Android or will HTML5 and other web standards help push things forward on the platform?

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 We announced last November that we are focusing our work with Flash on PC browsing and mobile apps packaged with Adobe AIR, and will be discontinuing our development of the Flash Player for mobile browsers.  This post provides an update on what this means for ongoing access to the Flash Player browser plugin for Android in the Google Play Store.

The Flash Player browser plugin integrates tightly with a device’s browser and multimedia subsystems (in ways that typical apps do not), and this necessitates integration by our device ecosystem partners.  To ensure that  the Flash Player provides the best possible experience for users, our partner program requires certification of each Flash Player implementation.  Certification includes extensive testing to ensure web content works as expected, and that the Flash Player provides a good user experience. Certified devices typically include the Flash Player pre-loaded at the factory or as part of a system update.

Devices that don’t have the Flash Player provided by the manufacturer typically are uncertified, meaning the manufacturer has not completed the certification testing requirements. In many cases users of uncertified devices have been able to download the Flash Player from the Google Play Store, and in most cases it worked. However, with Android 4.1 this is no longer going to be the case, as we have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options.  There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1.

Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th.

The easiest way to ensure ongoing access to Flash Player on Android 4.0 or earlier devices is to use certified devices and ensure that the Flash Player is either pre-installed by the manufacturer or installed from Google Play Store before August 15th. If a device is upgraded from Android 4.0 to Android 4.1, the current version of Flash Player may exhibit unpredictable behavior, as it is not certified for use with Android 4.1.  Future updates to Flash Player will not work.  We recommend uninstalling Flash Player on devices which have been upgraded to Android 4.1.

For developers who need ongoing access to released versions of Flash Player for Android, those will remain available in the archive of released Flash Player versions.  Installations made from the archive will not receive updates through the Google Play Store.

As always this and other Flash runtime roadmap updates can be found in the Adobe roadmap for the Flash runtimes white paper. 

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    I’ll probably take flack for this but I personally won’t miss it. It’s sad to see it go as I know it’s very important to some, and options are always good. I just never use it so I never even bother installing it.

    • ddp

      It only really hurts when viewing flash content on those sites that want to push those ads. Otherwise, can we all just move to HTML5 content? PLEASE??

      • thel0nerang3r

        I loved having pluggins on demand. With HTML5, add autoplay, with sound.

        • shahid khan

          Please authorised my count or inform Google or none Google product.

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      I wholeheartedly agree. I was never a big fan of Flash even for the desktop, but for the mobile experience it was just never smooth enough to be useful. It was a bandage solution to a much deeper problem.

      • Jimmy_Jo

        The only problem I see with this is that HTML5 isn’t being implemented fast enough. A few different sites I frequent cannot show all the site elements as there are problems with flash.

        I’m not saying keep Flash. I’m saying let’s get it right with HTML5. We need sites and devices to work well with it.

        • thel0nerang3r

          There you have a chicken and egg problem. Many sites will not spend the money early on to move to HTML5, since everyone can play flash. This will nudge many sites to move.

          • Steve Woznnowski

            I’ve been working in the real world (yes, an actual adult…go ahead and make childish remarks if it makes you feel good. It’s happened before when I post here because I’m not a self-proclaimed 15 year old expert). What most people seem to be missing…Apple Fan Boys or PC lovers (I work with both platforms) are the realities of the business world.

            This last person to comment stated “Many sites will not spend the money early on to move to HTML5″. Of all the comments, this seems to be the only one with a shot of reality in it. I’ve worked with computers since the days of main frames then opened a business when the PC world got its first web browser. Today I have 32 graphic designers and a tech staff working for me and designing and hosting web sites is all we do.

            Like most, their sites were developed using Flash components because at the time there was no alternative. No one in the early 90s thought the functions you can do with HTML 5 would ever be possible because of the servers, desktops and the internet pipeline itself. So when Flash popped up shortly after the internet was opened EVERYONE designing web sites (corporate or even home sites) was using it. While I agree that it NEEDS to go for something faster and more stable like HTML 5 here is the reality…

            In the business world, especially in today’s economy, people being let go from jobs they’ve had for years, do you think those unemployed people were let go so the money could be invested in redesigning web sites. My own business has both medium and large (companies that employ a few thousand people) clients. I and my design, support and sales staff have been trying to get existing clients to make over their web sites for over 2 years (even before HTML 5 was the “next big thing”) simply because Adobe wasn’t pushing out the new version of Flash they had promised (yes, they were working on building something much more stable because even they knew how many problems Flash caused). They finally have decided to give up and focus on the fewer platforms/devices it works on..

            The one fact in the business world is this…if it works most (not even all) the time, leave it alone and spend what money you have to keep your business alive. If your web site works 90% of the time with Flash on it most businesses will accept the percentage of problems as internet created problems since it works almost all the time. And the only way they are going to switch is when the information on their sites is outdated…THEN and only then will they spend the money to revamp their sites and at that time the switch to HTML 5, 6, 7 or whatever number it’s up to at that time will cause the switch.

            Hardware is the one thing they can see and touch and will continue to update. In the real world most people would be shocked to walk into major corporations and see the latest hardware running Windows98 and Windows XP (XP especially). Many big corporations have applications that were written specifically for their needs. They spent many thousands of dollars to have programmers write applications that met their specific needs. Guess what, no matter what you have for hardware most of those custom applications won’t run on anything past Windows XP so they are still running it as there primary operating system..I’ve even seen MANY corporations running XP in virtual machines on their fancy new hardware because XP won’t run on the hardware without it (that’s how unbalanced most of these executives are in their view of systems. Most are just starting to grasp what the original Pentium could do so HTML5 and its advantages are years ahead of their thinking…again, if their web sites work MOST of the time).

            Do you and I know how well the internet would work with HTML 5? Of course we do. But the reality is that it is the people with the money who only know that their web sites work “just fine” that are going to make this a VERY long transition. It ain’t gonna happen like you think; in business, money rules and the rule is “if it works the way it is, there’s nothing TO fix”. So you don’t have to hold on to your seats, it’s not going to be a fast ride. Most devices will be around, MOSTLY the way they are now (working Flash or not), for a long time.

  • txbluesman

    everything will be ok…..

  • alexanderharri3

    While ideally the web moves to HTML5, it’s been nice having the option to view sites that aren’t keeping up with the times, despite an imperfect user experience.

    Off to save the latest .APKs to keep using….here’s to hoping they continue to work in JellyBean

  • Nathan D.

    That sucks but then again they did stop support back in ice scream sandwich.

  • Jauhari

    What Steve Jobs has said and did on iOS Family is the right way… and Now… Adobe Leave Flash Support for Mobile :)

  • reddragon72

    No flash on 4.1 and on other browsers sucks. The main reason is websites like the national hurricane center still used flash on their site. Being in the gulf I rely on such sites and not being able to see the satalite view can be a little crappy. I like the raw data as I feel better being able to see it myself.

  • Jon Doe

    I’m pretty sure my device shipped with Adobe FlashPlayer pre-installed.

  • mmalakai10

    this sucks, to know for sure flash isnt going to be around really kills android true experience. oh well i guess android will have to do with html 5 now. smh

  • spazby

    1 of the reasons i like android over ios but there are many many more

  • Bobo

    Guess I’ll be keeping another browser for Flash then. It’s cute how Adobe just throws away Flash cause Jobs said so. Hope sites will actually move to HTML5 and not only in the states.
    One reason I could never use an iDevice is the damn “Flash site, move along” popup. Drove me nuts!

  • http://stuarthalliday.com/ quatermass

    Hmm…has everyone missed the point of this announcement?

    It is obvious that Adobe is pissed off towards Phone & Tablet manufacturers not bothering to certificate their devices with Adobe (Adobe charge a nice big fee and stops consumers getting a possible bad reaction towards Flash).

    Seems to me Adobe is behaving like a child who can’t get its way?

  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    I respect other opinions, but feel strongly that the lack of Flash on Android will be a negative overall. Flash, like all other software, is not perfect, but overall, has worked fine on my devices ranging from a Nexus One to the latest quad core beast. My main interest in Flash is for Flash videos which many sites still use without an alternative format available. My problems with Flash videos have usually been when I am in a weak WiFi, or cell area, and the connection can not deliver the bits. When I have an adequate connection, Flash has been fine, particularly on multi-core devices.

    With the lack of Flash, Android will be relegated to the same large subset of the web Apple limits its mobile customers to viewing. I did a recent presentation at a user group on why I prefer Android to iOS. One of the main reasons is Flash so I can view the full internet. I kept several screenshots from the iPad showing sites with the “Flash needed” message. Contrary to web lore, they were not porn, or game sites; they were Boeing, ZDNet (ironically for a review of iPhone 4S), and a large metro-West shopping mall. I had many other sites I could have shown as well.

    I hear the mantra about HTML5, how it is the future etc, and it does indeed look nice. Hopefully, it will increase in use. However, like it or not, many relevant Flash videos will never be converted to HTML5 compliance, and the site will not have an app that scrapes the website as an alternate viewing method. How will you view those sites – ignore them, or use a desktop OS device? I know on iOS there are some apps that run Flash sites through a server, and then deliver the site in a format iOS can display. My experience with these server alternates has been mediocre at best, the Flash videos always seem grainier than native mobile Flash on Android, and that is on a good day.

    Again, respect other opinions, but for me, it is a sad day when Flash mobile goes the way of the dodo bird. Many may not realize how prevalent Flash is on the web until they start getting the same message the iOS user receives too frequent for my liking.

  • dVyper

    I’m quite sad about this actually :-( I can understand them not making any updates but why deny future customers from downloading it? That makes no sense!

  • Matt

    Anyone looking for legacy versions, look no further.
    Official downloads here:

  • sharon92

    Now this is just bad, now I have to make time to learn html5.

  • Tom

    This sucks!!! Every time I go to a site on chrome and it doesn’t work because there is no flash it kills me! I then have to copy and paste the URL into android browser just to see the content I am looking for. Now that this isn’t even going to be an option the users are going to be completely stranded from lots of information hidden in flash based sites! WHY NOT JUST SUPPORT IT!?!?! This was my favorite thing about android and I couldn’t understand how people on iOS could even function not having full access to the web.

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  • rubias19

    perfecto el tema es muy interesante

  • what the hell!?

    i hate this news!!! as well for all android users! i chose an android device for its flash capabilities. what the hell!? Theres no reason to stay with android, ill choose an IOS this time.

  • robinthoms2

    One of the big selling points of Android devices was their Adobe Flash compatibility. Now that flash is being phased out of convention, you won’t be able to download flash from the Play Market. That however doesn’t mean that you can’t get it.Here is briefed tutorial http://www.careace.net/2012/10/03/how-to-manually-install-flash-on-your-samsung-android-device/ for Manually install flash on your Samsung Android Device

  • Michael

    I don’t understand why everyone’s getting so outraged at the demise of Flash. At least for video playback, YouTube already supports HTML5 and for other Web developers, it’s so much easier to insert an HTML5 VIDEO tag than it would be to code up a Flash video player and embed it onto a site.

    The one area I could see them having issue with would be for Flash games – it’s entirely possible to do everything a Flash game could do in HTML5 and JavaScript, but are companies willing to take the time to re-code all their services? Probably not. But recently, Flash entertainment service developers GCREST and parent company CyberAgent stated the desire to close down their Flash services in order to move to a mobile market.

    The future is now. The future is HTML5. It’s really NOT that hard to learn as most people are making it out to be. We really should never have let ourselves become so reliant upon plugins in the first place. Too many additional security issues to worry about, and too much of a hassle to maintain. And it’s less portable, too–there’s no guarantee that your particular OS has a binary for that particular plugin. Pure Web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript should be guaranteed to work on all platforms. (Whether they work on all browsers exactly the same way is a matter for another debate entirely.)

    Also, being a proponent of free software and noting how there is still no worthy free software implementation of Flash for my Linux systems (call me a fanboy if you must), I for one welcome the overthrow of our Adobe overlords. Let’s bring the Web back to open standards where it belongs and watch our kids–a whole new generation of Web developers–code up amazing stuff in pure HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. One of these days, we’ll look back on this debate and wonder why we ever thought Flash was a good idea in the first place.

  • Jimmy_Jo

    I guess there’s no difference between viewing websites on a 3.5″ screen and a 4.5″ screen, right? I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Adobe does next.