Adobe has set a date. After August 15 of this year, mobile Flash will begin to fade into obscurity. While it may seem a little inappropriate to celebrate something like this, with all due respect I have to start a round of “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!”. Not because I didn’t love Flash back in the day. Not because I don’t respect the things Flash has done for web browsing. I have to celebrate because it means an end to defending my iOS devices and their lack of support for it (and lack of desire to ever do so).
Adobe promises that existing users of mobile Flash will continue to receive support by way of security patches, but cautions that “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.”
Steve Jobs had a few ‘Thoughts on Flash’, which he shared with us a little over two years ago. He raised concerns over reliability, security and performance. He mentioned that Flash dramatically (and negatively) affected battery life on mobile devices. Beyond that, he knew that Flash was not touch friendly. Of course, he was criticized greatly for these thoughts; but he was right.
Is the death of mobile Flash a win for Steve Jobs? I’m not so certain. Jobs just knew something that it would take a while for Adobe to come to terms with: Flash does not perform well on mobile devices. Is that a failure on their part? Not necessarily. Flash performed nicely on many other platforms at a time when the multi-media rich web was emerging and we will be forever grateful. Now, it’s time for Adobe to evolve — and sometimes that means leaving a product behind and starting fresh with something new.
With the popularity of mobile devices surging and most recreational web browsing happening on those platforms, it is the end of an era (in a way). With that said, don’t waste too much time mourning. Adobe has other irons in the fire and we have HTML5!