You may or may not have heard the news that came out today about how we will be stopping further work on the version of the Flash Player that runs inside of mobile browsers. Our VP of Interactive Development, Danny Winokur, posted the announcement over on the Adobe blog earlier today.
So the big question I’m sure you have is, why did we do this? The decision reflects the reality that the kind of highly-interactive content people build with Flash, games being a great example, are much-better suited to run as mobile apps. Also there is the fact that Flash is not nearly as ubiquitous on mobile browsers as it is on the desktop. Because of these things we have decided to focus all our efforts on taking the AIR runtime to the next level on mobile in addition to new development areas with HTML5 like PhoneGap. No longer having to support the mobile browser version of Flash frees up valuable resources that we can redirect to these more important areas.
Over the last few years I have seen the mobile browser become the place for clean, mobile-optimized HTML sites. Apps are where people go to play games and enjoy interactive content. This is not only true for Flash but also for HTML5. Many are predicting that apps will soon give way to browser-based apps on mobile. I personally don’t see that happening anytime soon. Apps have proven themselves to be great for users and offer clear monetization opportunities for developers.
There is of course lots of inflammatory discussion going on today surrounding this news. I would caution everyone from feeding into this. If you look at this rationally I think you will see that this is actually the right move for Flash.
So basically nothing has really changed for Flash developers, as I’m pretty sure not many people were creating mobile-specific Flash websites anyway. The real challenge moving forward will be to combat the misinformation and confusion that an announcement like this brings. Stay tuned for exciting news about how we plan to take AIR to the next level on mobile to complement the work we’ve already begun for Flash Player 12 for PC browsers.