back to article Adobe confirms mobile Flash Player's race is run

It's official: Adobe Flash Player is dead for mobile browsers… almost. Once Flash 11.1 for Android devices and RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is done, Adobe will develop no future versions, it confirmed today, though it will patch bugs and plug security holes yet to be discovered in the 11.1 code. Adobe said it views HTML 5 as the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost inevitably, I feel compelled to say..

    ..zombie Steve Jobs is amused.

    1. James O'Brien


      I swear to god, if a zombie Steve Jobs comes at me im putting a bullet right through his head. I dont care how much of a saint he is made up to be, hes not going to rip my face off.....

      1. Jedit

        Apple fans have nothing to fear

        If Steve Jobs comes back as a zombie, Apple Stores will be safe havens. Zombie Steve Jobs knows there are no brains to be found there.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a Flash noob asks

    "And Flash will continue to be rolled out on less portable personal computers"

    why? wouldn't the world be better off with HTML5 everywhere?

    is this more a question of backwards compatibility and entrenched user/code bases rather than an optimal solution?

    genuine questions, btw and interested in the answers - thx

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: why? wouldn't the world be better off with HTML5 everywhere?

      I don't think so at all. HTML5 can't do 1/10 of what flash can, and it isn't even more efficient. Also, good luck blocking those annoying ads when everything is HTML5.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        @AC 17.36

        I fully expect HTML5 to become more efficient as it beds in because of the competition in the browser space and I don't anticipate ads getting any more difficult to block as 90% can already be blocked by URL and this is not likely to change.

        So what would be the real downside? Farmville stops working? Oh dear, how terribly sad.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      It's about browser adoption, probably

      Mobile phones have a fast turnover rate and you can be pretty confident people are using something close to the latest browser. Flash has also failed to gain any momentum for mobile sites owing to the quality and availability of the plug-in.

      Conversely, Internet Explorer's older and extremely non-compliant versions have held the rate of development on the desktop back and will continue to account for a significant proportion of users.

      You also tend to see mobile sites and desktop sites developed almost separately anyway, owing to the big difference between how they'll be consumed. Plus the disparity whereby mobile users seem to like dedicated apps (per the AIR route) but desktop types are much happier doing everything in the browser. The history of non-existent or extremely lax sandboxing on the desktop combined with certain OSs that entrust all uninstallation tasks to the software being installed probably contributes.

      So, yes, the world would be better with HTML5 everywhere but as a web developer you're cutting off a significant chunk of your audience if you assume it right now. I imagine Adobe will wind down desktop Flash eventually but don't feel that the time is right.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    Poor Fandroids will be in tears today. What's that? The full web experience? Flash was the internet?

    How does it feel to be made fools of by Adobe?

    1. Paul Shirley

      discontinued != stops working

      This 'fandroid' is pretty happy that lazy web designers just got another shove towards dumping Flash and looks forward to the day the web stops being infested by the steaming pile of merde.

      Meanwhile, while I wait for that to happen, I'll remain able to allow it to run on the few sites that just aren't usable with it disabled. It won't magically stop running just because Adobe stop piling on the pain with ever fatter updates. You'll presumably just wait impatiently till Flash dies... about 10 years after Adobe drop desktop support ;)

    2. Craigness

      You may have missed...

      There was an article on Reg Hardware today about Flash; you must have missed it. The gist is that Adobe is not producing any more new versions after the current one -- there will only be bug fixes. So any current and future Android devices will be able to enjoy the full web. Personally, I enjoy streaming movies in a technology which doesn't slow my machine down and doesn't crash. Yes, that's Flash. You might have read that it is slow and crashes all the time, but that's just the iTards talking, and they're not allowed to have the full web experience so they likely have not had the joy of using the wonderful Flash on a mobile device. They often have derogatory things to say about the performance of Windows PCs too, which are not recognised by people who actually use Windows PCs. They lack the experience to comment; their views are redundant and their propaganda motivated by envy.

      Flash is not the internet and I've never seen it described as that by anyone, especially Android users. But, if you had Flash you'd see that it is a part of the full web, so if you don't have Flash you don't have the full web. Maybe that's where you got confused. You sound like a noob so just think of the internet as a load of tubes and you can't go far wrong. If you're an iTard, think of it as a prison from which you can see lush rolling hills which, for your own good, you're not allowed to play on. Tell yourself you don't want to play on the hills.

      1. Mark 65

        Craigness you may wish to check out the changes in temperature across your CPU and GPU when you start running something in Flash before making statements about its usefulness (other than being the single largest attack vector for hackers on any platform) as this shows how inefficient and what totally bloated shite it is. Frankly I'd prefer anything to the crap that is Flash with its primary use for invasive advertising and long lasting cookies. It is one thing I totally agree with Jobs on.

      2. a_been

        Dind't you get the memo?

        Your getting the sack along with 749 other people, still I admire your loyalty.

  4. hexx

    i'm gonna bite now, so how is it with that flash on your android phones now?

    1. Tom Wood

      It's still here

      And very tasty it's been, too, all these months while you've been stood outside the buffet in the cold looking in waiting for something better to finally come along.

    2. Hairy Spod

      erm, the same as yesterday, fine and better than it would be without it.

    3. James O'Brien


      Ill feed the troll I guess....

      Seering as I have a droid phone and seeing as its going to be some time before Flash is fully gone from it, lessee, how do I put this.....

      Its pretty damn good.

  5. Chad H.

    Ding Dong the flash is dead... Which old Flash? Adobe Flash! Ding dong Adobe flash is dead....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every cloud has a silver lining

    I feel at least partly pleased that Jobs coughed his last croak before this was announced. How smug would that narcissist have been knowing this a few days before whimpering off to be reborn as a snake, or toad, or something else creepy.

    1. LyingMan

      less creepy? :-)

    2. LPF
      Thumb Down

      I noticed you didn't even have the guts to post that with a name attached!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I'd say this a win for all concerned except the Adobe staff it affects. Google, Apple, RIM and even Microsoft are backing HTML5.

    An open standard (non-ratified I'll grant you) winning over a proprietary format is very welcome. Flash will be around for some time to come, but it's downhill from here.

  8. ratfox Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Flash is dead

    And Apple killed it. Go Apple!

    By the way, an image search for "apple killed flash" returns a cool result.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Adobe authored its own demise

      @ratfox: "Flash is dead - And Apple killed it."

      Adobe failed to deliver back when it really mattered. I don't know if this was lack of investment, incompetence, or because it plain couldn't be made to work. If you think back, Apple kept saying that Flash for the iPhone was 'coming' - and we all eagerly awaited it - but ultimately Apple announced that Flash was never going to work and wasn't going to be an option in future.

      If Adobe had come up with something that really delivered on the iPhone, I think that point would never have been reached. And that failure has been prolonged to the present. Apple didn't kill Flash - it just saw the writing on the wall before Adobe did.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Adobe failed to deliver

        "I don't know if this was lack of investment, incompetence, or because it plain couldn't be made to work."

        I don't know either, and outside of a very small number of Adobe employees, I don't suppose anyone ever will. But Adobe *did* deliver for ten versions. Very few pieces of software do that well.

        When Flash was born, it was probably portable, but for the first umpty years and ten versions of its life, there was only one platform of commercial significance, so what's a manager to do? By the time ports were actually in demand, even ports to 32-bit Linux or 64-bit Windows proved almost impossible. (They exist, but they aren't as reliable as 32-bit Windows and now probably never will be.) Ports to resource-constrained devices were never going to fly.

        Any piece of software that is successful enough to go through ten major versions (and Firefox's recent history doesn't count, btw) without losing backwards compatibility is going to end its life as a tired and bug-ugly pile of hacks. Sometimes it is just time to push the original design into the sidings and start again.

      2. Andy 115

        When did they say it was coming?

        Saying something will not be considered until X,Y & Z happens is NOT the same as saying it is coming....

        (X, Y and Z here, being things like not draining the battery, not crashing and not "polluting" the user experience)

  9. Ben 50

    There is no optimal solution

    Because the problem keeps changing.

    That is all.

  10. A J Stiles

    Alternatively .....

    ..... they could have just released the Source Code and had done with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what would you do with it? I've seen FP source code and it ain't pretty.

  11. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Just shows how Jobs was a visionary, Apple killed floppy discs, non-USB mice and keyboards and the lack of Flash on iOS and Windows Phone 7 surely helped kill Flash.

    Sure, at the time you'll grumble but those proposing something better are looking ahead not at the present. You can't improve things for the future if look at the present. This is why asking users what they want is often a bad idea. Before iOS and Android users would have asked for something Nokia like.

    1. Craigness

      Like a dictator

      It didn't take much vision to foresee the death of those things! You don't make the present better by focusing only on the future, but you might save a bit on manufacturing costs.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did Adobe really have to create separate builds of Flash for every ARM derivative out there? I'm somewhat surprised the code wasn't more portable. That said, I remember it didn't take Adobe long to dump their Flash plugin for Windows CE/Mobile.

    I'm also surprised that Adobe didn't stick with it considering quad core CPUs were on the way. Surely with 4 cores available they could get Flash running at a decent speed on mobile devices...

    1. Andy 115
      Thumb Down

      Chucking more computing resource at the software.... hide the fact it runs like a bag of bolts is hardly the answer...

      It's a bit like saying, the fuel line on your car is leaking so install a larger fuel tank!

  13. illiad

    why dont you READ the article??

    Its says flash is NOT dead... so android users will stay happy... :) version 11.1 will be fully supported, but not updated to 11.2, unless of course a major security update is needed.. :)

    the 'html5 victory' crowd will NOT be happy, as AC 9th November 2011 17:36 says... Unless they stop celebrating, and start thinking of ways to block HTML5 malware!!! :) :)

    I remember years ago, when a new flash came out and many browsers were almost unusable, due to the pop up blockers not working!!!!! :P

  14. Herba

    Adobe still in a good spot

    1st -> ROFL at the fandroids.

    2nd -> Adobe is still in a good spot because it has an HTML5 generator coming and a multi-OS app code generator on the way too.

  15. TJ1
    Thumb Up

    Good news for BBC iPlayer users on smartphones?

    Maybe this will push the BBC into finally abandoning Flash in the iPlayer on Android - meaning iPlayer may at last be able to do background playback of radio/audio streams and not turn off when the screen is blanked.

    1. Ben 47

      Flash based apps still going


      It's only the browser flash plugin that's being stopped. Adobe are continuing with AIR so standalone Flash based apps - like the iPlayer app - will still exist

  16. LarsG

    YES BUT........

    I am sure Apple will find something wrong with html 5 in the not to distant future and ban it.

    Steve will be sitting there in purgatory, smiling to himself, oh how I miss that smug self-satisfied look he would give us all.

    Maybe he could give us a sign, let us know he knows, after all he invented the computer, world peace, the internet, the telephone, the wheel, penicillin, biro, motor car, the rectangle, the colour white, radar, iron and oh I could go on.

    To be honest I don't care if flash dies, but it still works for now.

    But I wish Steve would flash us a sign or does the heavenly iPhone not support it.

  17. Chris_Maresca

    Did strategy for Adobe ~5 years ago

    ... specifically around mobile flash. Predicted that flash would die a slow death unless they made it free and open on mobile. I was pretty much laughed at by senior execs at the time, I guess not so much now ;-)

    1. mraak


      Open? Fools even charged $10 for every install for every device. They thought THAT would fly, let alone open sourcing it, lol. You're right, I had exactly the same prediction. Instead of giving it away for free and really push all the brains behind it to improve performance, they destroyed it. I bet if Macromedia was still behind it, Flash would be alive and kicking.

  18. jubtastic1
    Thumb Up

    Some people are on the pitch! They think it's all over!

    It is now!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Just sitting here waiting ...

    ... for all those annoying HTML5 adverts just waiting to be unleashed on the world and the inevitable backlash.

    Also waiting to get voted down - go on, do it, I don't care.

    I never saw the point in 'flash hating', probably because I was a web developer when it was first released and witnessed the massive potential it had at the time - bringing rich media to the internet.

    Yes, yes, it was also responsible for *masses* of shit content - heck, at least 99% of flash based content online is *shit*...

    But what makes you think HTML5 Canvas will be any better - and it's here where I throw my toys out the cot ...


    So, it's a magic bullet right, it's going to mean all content created for the canvas element is going to be awesome, right?

    No, it's not - the same crimes committed with flash will apply to the HTML5 canvas tag.

    However, the *benefits* are obvious - it's open source, it's more accessible, it's ... erm, less CPU intensive .. is it? depends how you wield it.

    I love Flash for the *right* reasons, over the years, I've seen some *Stunning* web content that would never be possible without it.

    Right now, there's still TONS of stuff that Canvas cannot do which Flash can - and I'm sure there's loads of stuff Flash can't do that Canvas can. Flash is *still* the primary platform for rich multimedia content and I'm guessing it will be for a good few years to come.

    I'm embrace the HTML5 Canvas element and look forward to seeing some *quality* content produced using it, but I'm no fool - I know for a fact it's going to be abused to the point where once again, silly people will deride it's very existence, missing the point entirely.

    It's not what you've got, It's how you *use* it ...

    I'll get my coat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: I love Flash for the *right* reasons

      That reasons being, you are making money from that POS and don't have to care about the end user's.

      Flash is the worst piece of software it has been my displeasure to encounter. It makes Windows 9x seem as stable as an IBM mainframe. The only good thing I can say about Flash is that it is consistent, the more ram and processor power you throw at it, the more it will waste without being any more stable or running any quicker.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's like barbarians defeating Rome

    Everybody cheered when the Rome fell but soon they realised they had to eat their own feces to survive and destroy aqueducts and roads to build huts.

    Flash is closed, yes. But it did 10x more and 10x more than HTML5 - for FREE if you wanted, you were never forced to buy anything from Macromedia or Adobe. I use and work with both, plus the JS (which a lot of people confuse with HTML5), for the past 10 years and there is no comparison. Do 3D, Augmented Reality, interact with native processes, vector graphics and animation, etc.

    Please show me how to do a simple interactive *vector* animation in HTML5 and I buy you HTML6 tin foil hat.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Having just bought a Samsung Galaxy Note and revelling in it's ability run Flash 11 as opposed to my Nokia N900's Flash 9 then this story is suitably irritating ...

  22. Robert E A Harvey


    I've been avoiding sites with flash for some years, except the wretched miserable iPlayer

  23. John Tserkezis

    I for one..

    ...will be happy to not upgrade my flash player AGAIN for the tenth time this bloody month because every web site says "you must have the latest...."

    HTML5 will aleviate that to some degree, but, I can't help thinking about the ad factor being shoved down our throats.

    It's easy to say the Internet is not a porn delivery system, likewise, Flash is not an advertisment delivery system.

    But we know how things turned out *anyway*...

  24. Wombling_Free

    Mobile Flash dead. Now for the desktop.

    One down, one to go.

  25. The Grime

    I'm surprised to see The Reg has done a balanced and accurate take on a Flash related story. Elsewhere there's a Flash is dead, Jobs was right, yay HTML5 feeding frenzy going on. Any Flash content I've developed for mobile has been delivered with AIR, as I had no use-cases for browser delivery. AIR will continue to be the way to go. Move along, nothing to see here.

    The problem today is how Adobe's PR managed to screw this up so it sounds like a very bad day for Flash. It is in fact a very bad day for Adobe's enterprise solutions- the 750 (9% of workforce) redundancies are in that area. On a day they have announced record revenues of over a billion dollars for the quarter, those affected employees must be feeling especially bitter. We are not told what enterprise product(s) are affected, but it can't be looking good for the expensive Jave EE LCDS products. That was a viable and important part of the business. I get the impression Adobe are reacting to predictions of future growth (marketing good, finance bad) rather than being pragmatic and supporting the here and now.

  26. Stuart Duel

    Flash is crap

    Unless you're a web developer. But for the end user, Flash is useless, annoying, buggy, intrusive crap. It is only a matter of time before it dies on the desktop. And good riddance.

  27. cs94njw
    Thumb Up

    I thought it was already dead?

    "Adobe will develop no future versions" - I thought that had already happened?

    It's been a year and I'm still forced to download a 20MB package, which can't be moved to SD.

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  29. illiad

    @Erik Borgo

    what a load of carp.... so where is the macromedia author?? on a desert island, having sold out to adobe I guess... :)

    have you forgotten that flash is NOT just one thing??? SWF files are still used by almost everyone.. go ahead, block those and see how 'pretty' most webpages are!!! I think you will find most will stop working properly too! :P

    then there is the major part, for video, that also needs JS to work...

    and the much smaller parts. to work dialog boxes, autocomplete, etc just to make forums easy to use...

    And *everyone* is forgetting that HTML5 is *one* tiny component, that is part of lots of stuff that has not properly been tried yet!!

    I await the next "HTML5 is a buggy exploitable mess" report soon!! :D

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