It seemed, for a time, that the book on mobile Flash as we knew it was closed. Adobe announced just a few weeks ago that development for mobile Flash would cease, and their efforts and resources would soon be focused elsewhere. As it turns out, Adobe has one last project up their sleeves before they bid mobile Flash adieu: an update that includes support for Ice Cream Sandwich.
Earlier reports mentioned that Google believed Flash support for Android 4.0 was forthcoming, but an Adobe representative has confirmed to Pocket-lint that Ice Cream Sandwich will indeed get Flash support by the end of 2011.
Now, don’t expect to fire up your Galaxy Nexus (whenever you should happen to get it) and find the ICS-tailored version of Flash waiting for you. Nor will you be able to find and install an older version of Flash from the Android market for the time being. Galaxy Nexus users will join the iOS crowd in being locked out of the web’s Flash content until Adobe pushes out their last major release.
After that update goes out though, mobile Flash will ride off into the sunset. Adobe made it clear in their announcement that the app would only see security updates and critical bugfixes going forward. With all that manpower freed up, Adobe plans to refocus their mobile efforts on AIR and HTML5, the latter of which they have called “the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.”
As Adobe’s Mike Chambers mentioned in his explanation of mobile Flash’s demise, the future of rich mobile content has very little to do with Flash, and nearly everything to applications and HTML5. That doesn’t mean that the platform is dying off completely though — Adobe licensee RIM has pledged to continue supporting Flash on their PlayBook platform, and all of mobile Flash’s current users can continue to use it if they’ve got it.