In an abrupt about-face in its mobile software strategy, Adobe will soon cease developing its Flash Player plug-in for mobile browsers, according to an e-mail sent to Adobe partners on Tuesday evening.
And with that e-mail flash, Adobe has signaled that it knows, as Steve Jobs predicted, the end of the Flash era on the web is coming soon.
The e-mail, obtained and first reported on by ZDNet, says that Adobe will no longer continue to “adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations,” instead focusing on alternative application packaging programs and the HTML5 protocol.
“Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores,” the quoted e-mail says.
In the past, Adobe has released software tools for mobile developers that create a single platform programmers can use to make applications that work across three major mobile platforms: Android, iOS and the BlackBerry OS. While it’s seemingly easier than learning all of the native languages for each operating system, some developers have claimed a loss in app performance when coding in a non-native language that then gets translated into other languages.
The move indicates a massive backpedaling on Adobe’s part, a company who championed its Flash platform in the face of years of naysaying about its use on mobile devices. Despite Flash’s near ubiquity across desktop PCs, many in the greater computing industry, including, famously, Apple Computer, have denounced the platform as fundamentally unstable on mobile browsers, and an intense battery drain. In effect, Flash’s drawbacks outweigh the benefits on mobile devices.