As a long time Flash developer who loves Flash, I can tell you that what is happening right now is a good thing.

First, we are making bold moves like stopping the development of the browser plug-in on mobile browsers in favor of investing further in Flash-based apps packaged with AIR. Playing existing content sounds like a great idea on paper, but we know it doesn’t always work that way — you need to author for mobile and think for mobile, but from talking to customers and looking at content today, we realize that very few people are targeting the plug-in on mobile browsers.

Flash developers have always created some of the most stunning, immersive, emotional experiences on the web. They’ve always pushed the cutting edge, with few restrictions. But mobile is different, and developers need to adapt to different constraints and affordances. Flash lets you do that, whether you are taking advantage of efficient hardware accelerated video playback or native support for features like multitouch and accelerometers. But it’s costly to create beautiful experiences optimized for mobile browsers — a cost that doesn’t make sense if people using one of the most popular mobile platforms can’t see the content you create.

Existing content for desktops didn’t always look as magical on phones as people were used to seeing with Flash Player on their desktops. Content optimized for desktops with big screens and beefy processors can’t look as good on a phone or a tablet it was never designed for. This really had an impact on the trust that people had in Flash, and this perception made it hard to start new projects optimized for mobile browsers. There was just no appetite to even try doing this.

In contrast, you guys create super nice Flash-based apps packaged with AIR and delivering them to app stores across iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices – by the end of this year, you will be able to reach over 350 million tablets and smartphones. Have you seen an article from a journalist saying that Machinarium, Comb over Charlie, or TweetHunt are horrible ? No, people love those games. Your work fits the trend the entire industry is seeing: even as we’re excited about improvements in mobile browsers, the most compelling, immersive experiences for mobile devices are delivered through apps, optimized from the ground up for mobile. We’re helping you guys leverage your talent – the same skills in ActionScript and tooling – to reach that huge, growing market of smartphone and tablet users with amazing apps. Flash makes it possible for developers who craft beautiful desktop experiences to deliver great mobile app experiences. We are going to really focus on that, creating the best solution to build stunning interactive content, games, and video apps across all screens.

Flash Player on the desktop continues to show a path for the consistent, super duper experiences that are impossible to deliver to over a billion people with any other technology. For example, Flash Player 11 was released only a month ago, and it now enables fluid, cinematic hardware accelerated 2D and 3D visuals for more people on the web than any other technology. Flash Player uniquely does for the desktop what apps do for phones and tablets: it helps ensure that what you imagine is exactly what your users will see. Flash Player remains the best technology for delivering premium experiences on the desktop, period. Focusing helps us make sure that we continue to drive that continued innovation.

We are not stepping out of the mobile space with Flash, we are just focusing on what makes sense and where Flash looks great.

In the long term, we’re actively working on an ambitious future for Flash. The implementation details may change, as we’ve been talking about today. We believe that the DNA of Flash doesn’t reside in those implementation details, but in our promise to make it easy to create and deliver the most amazing experiences everywhere. We’re focusing on fulfilling that promise, and we’re excited to see what the future – and our community – will bring.

Thibault Imbert
Sr. Product Manager | Flash Runtime

28 Responses to Focusing

  1. Pingback: Mobile Flash Player: RIP | In Flagrante Delicto!

  2. jesusisinus says:

    I was really surprised to here the news because I was considering to get flash player environment back from AIR on Android, in order to avoid serious bug #2869263 ( remaining on the latest release of Adobe AIR.
    I still believe flash approach is better than HTML5. Firstly Air doesn’t work. Secondly, there are a lot of variation of browser implementation: some HTML5 based browsers may not support and/or may have different implementation.

    • Dan Zen says:

      AIR works for me. Don’t get too caught up on individual experiences that will be fixed in due time. Concentrate on the positive. The things it can do – because there are a darn lot of things it can do in comparison.

  3. Mr. Skeptical says:

    Here’s my take: today’s announcements will further increase the perception that Flash is dead and will lead to a decreasing demand for Flash developers.

  4. Dan Zen says:

    Well said – let’s hope the word figures it out. Passing along this link to all the blog articles would be a start. I’m on it.

  5. WaveF says:

    Pity, Flash is dead, not support Linux desktop, not support mobile devices, x86 only? When Flash no longer a cross-platform technology, Flash is dead. Goodbye, my favorite Flash.

  6. sean says:

    Anybody remember when Director 10 touted the fact that it was a “new phase” when it was able to do 3D and was not developing the plugin further? History repeating or maybe thats just me..

  7. Pingback: Aus für mobiles Flash - Giga Tags

  8. Synaptek says:

    Adobe should be more forthcoming. They have bifurcated the development space. There will be Flash within AIR packages only and HTML5 for web delivery. Notice Plug-ins will be banned on IE, so there will be no universal delivery channel for ActionScript content on the desktop in the future.

    There are two cohesive options:
    The first is to Open-Source Flash Player so it may live on in WebKit etc. This maintains the status quo, but removes the burden of Flash maintenance from Adobe.

    The second is to abandon ActionScript and reengineer around HTML5 by extending PhoneGap to support the desktop as well. The downsides to this are many, as PhoneGap+JQuery+JavaScript+HTML5 != ActionScript.

    Adobe needs to articulate its vision of the Flash ecosystem going forward. Everyone seems to be looking at this from their own corner of the hypercube. “I use it for games” or “I use it for business apps” etc.etc.etc. That was the potential beauty of Flash and AIR… the write once, run anywhere do anything promise. If we don’t move fast this will be lost and we’ll be back to chrome.html5 + ie.html5 + firefox.html5 + PhoneGap + JQuery + JavaScript + AJAX + ……….

  9. Pingback: Tech Fu » Adobe to put mobile flash to a sleep!

  10. Bryan says:

    some thoughts:
    1) apps for smartphones are delivered through apps not the browser – even Google wrote a gmail client for ios
    2) Apple was not going to support flash plugins ( or plugins of any type (javafx? silverlight?) as they could potentially break its appstore ecosystem) so no one was willing to make mobile web browser applications that relied on the flash plugin
    3) air is the only Apple approved method of delivering flash based applications
    4) there is a point that big web pages suck on the smartphone and unless an application is designed for a smartphone rather than a desktop it is awful to use on a handheld device, flash html etc included
    5) Air is the only consistent current technology that allows you to ship an app for iphone, android and blackberry. You might be able to write for Andriod for andriod and blackberry if RIM gets there act together but you would write in objective c for IOS.

    In reading this, I don’t think flash is dead…

  11. Peter Rowe says:

    >> “but from talking to customers and looking at content today, we realize that very few people are targeting the plug-in on mobile browsers.

    Really? what about companies that have 20,000+ Flash lessons that schools are deploying on Android tablets? What are they going to do?

    Adobe will ultimately drop Flash support on the Desktop and then we are all really screwed. Adobe caved to Stave Jobs, plain and simple.

  12. Marc Pelland says:

    Couldn’t agree more that it is a good thing.. if dropping future development of the mobile player means focusing more on desktop flash / air, then that is amazing ! Flash is a great delivery method, but it is not very useful in the mobile browser environment. my thoughts:

  13. Austin says:

    Bottom line is that if Adobe can come out with tools that make it easy as write once run anywhere then we are good.

    If I can take Flash or Flex and export to a technology that will run anywhere then Adobe has done their job.

    Steve Jobs is the reason for the problem. It isnt Adobe. Its just Apple has a great product and until Apple goes down then Adobe will be faced with this problem.

    Steve denied Flash. Adobe is just trying to adapt to the situation.

    If they can make actionscript 3 deduce down into another format besides flash then Adobe has won.

    Its very simple.

  14. Nisse Bergman says:

    I do hope flash will keep cross platform and cross browser for desktop. Thats the big reason to use flash. Develop once use anywhere. The packaging isnt the important part it’s the experience for the developer and the end user.

  15. cpx says:

    Anyone smart enough to build a complex, heavy flash site should be smart enough to redirect mobile users to customized non flash pages.

  16. Karl says:

    The last nail in the coffin for Adobe.

    Dropping this garbage company and its garbage platforms. Every other developer on Earth would be wise to do the same.

  17. JTtheGeek says:

    While i can understand some of this, the whole focusing on Air and Desktop is concerning in the light of the Flex product development being halted. Do you have any internal information on the future of RIA’s as that is what matters to us. I am hoping the abandonment of Flex might be related to the new Stage3d and 2d engines, possibly starting over form a new direction, but if that is the case, why was the flex product team essentially eliminated?

  18. Allan Bishop says:

    The question you have to ask yourself is, “Why should we use Flash to deliver interactive content?”.

    The big selling point was “Write once, deploy anywhere”. However, that message has now been erroded. With no continued mobile browser development why would companies bother when they can use HTML5 to deliver to desktop and all mobile devices?

    That leaves wrapping up an Air application as a native app as Flash’s main selling point. However, as it stands, this is only suitable for simple applications or non performance intensive games. I don’t think this is reason alone that a company will consider investing into Flash.

    If diehard Flash developers are concerned about the future of Flash, then you can bet companies are going to want to steer clear. Companies have no attachment to a particular technology, they don’t care how it works, they just want their content to be viewable to as many people as possible.

    I think this news will cause a downhill spiral. It is no different to the stockmarket. A lack of confidence triggers shareholders to sell, which in turn creates more panic. Before you know it the market crashes.

  19. enigma says:

    After the happy news of amazing Stage3D there comes this sad news 🙁

  20. RazorX says:

    HTML5 just means developers will be going back to 90′s style coding in JavaScript (jQuery). The problem is that interactivity in JavaScript is far far below what Flash can deliver currently. The HTML5 movement will be known as the Web’s Dark Age.

    JavaScript is also a much larger “security risk” than Flash by about 3 times. We all know it is much safer to cruise the Web without JavaScript on.

    The new “Turn off JavaScript for a Safer Web” campaign is coming. We will teach users how to turn the JavaScript plug-in off in their browsers, and then we will see how interactive HTML5 is without its much needed crutch of JavaScript!

  21. RazorX says:

    Re: “we realize that very few people are targeting the plug-in on mobile browsers.” Yeah, and how could we? It wasn’t an option. Apple didn’t want to play Flashball.

  22. RazorX says:

    Talk about a jumbled, rat’s nest of code; under the HTML5 umbrella now you need to know five technologies: HTML5 + JavaScript (jQuery) + CSS + AJAX + Phonegap just to get semi-close to the power of Actionscript. The development time just to test that chemical-code-mess in five major browsers, will now increase even more. At the center of ALL of it is still the crutch of “JavaScript”. It’s sad that everything is going backwards in time to 90’s JS.

  23. Sean says:


    What this article explains is an up to date survey by market research firm Gartner that is an undeniable proof that Android is killing Apple.

    Android took over in less < 1 year which is a remarkable achievement. What this means is that in 2-3 years with Amazon fire and other tablets the iOS is going to have less < 5% of the entire market. iOS will become irrelevant.

    So Adobe, do the math. Stick to Flash on mobile and in the long run it will run in 95% of the smartphone and tablets (i.e.: Android) and you will get the same consistent device / PC penetration that you and us want. So please stop letting iOS govern your marketing calls. And while I know how Adobe loves Apple products, Apple is going to be an insignificant market share in 2-3 years, the numbers speak for themselves.

    Apple simply cannot compete with dozens of manufacturers like Samsung and Google, HTC and LG, Sony and Motorola all coming out with new products, all lowering prices and adding more features to compete against themselves and the one who will end up loosing and not being able to compete is, you guessed it, Apple.

    I know it's hard to see it now since Apple was so strong just a year ago, but math doesn't lie, look at the numbers. iPad and iPhone are going to loose all momentum in 2-3 years. In 2-3 years you will ask a 15 year old about an iPad and he will say i What? It's history repeating it'self all over with PC vs Mac; simple as that!!!

    So sure, Steve Jobs was right, we are in the post PC era, and sure maybe Apple kicked it off… but they had their time to shine… it's over because there is no room for pricey, nitch products which is what the iOS will become in 1 year; and will be insignificant in 2-3 years.

    So Adobe, please reconsider your moves on mobile as you can have the ambiguity of Flash everywhere, just run through it for another year and iOS is out.

    Guaranteed !!!.