Goodbye Mobile Flash, We Won’t Miss You


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!

About Jillian: A professional. A geek. Writer. Music fanatic. Creative. Thoughtful. Programmer. Educated. Outgoing. Thrill seeker. Realistic. Optimist. Clever. Sarcastic. Not typical. Contact me on Twitter: @codeGoddess

  • Sooby

    Flash works great on a lot of mobile devices. Key is you have to have a phone that is worth it’s weight. I am dreading see flash support go. My android love has been around for years and my phones have always performed. I never buy the look at me I’m free and I have a smartphone OS type of phone. I always purchase a high end device and never have any issues. There are still to many sites using flash and quite a few mobile versions of sites well they just suck all around. Wish my iPad had flash actually. I will run into a few websites every now and then where I have to pull my phone out to view it and it diminishes the experience on a tablet. You can use iSwifter on the iPad for flash but its slow, choppy, and lacks any polish or refinement like on a good android device. Like Steve said if all the websites in the world would just use html5 then they would all be compatible with mobile safari. Which that statement in itself is way to obtuse and boastful. It is what it is I guess. Hopefully since mobile flash is leaving more and more websites will get redesigned and able to work on iOS devices. Always live by this statement, “it’s not more than you need it’s just more than your used too.”. Feel the same way about flash. Don’t limit my experience give me the option to broaden my experience.

  • Altaykai Yamada

    Steve Jobs is such a hypocrite. never liked him anyway. He just simply ruins everything instead of solving….