Today, Adobe’s VP & GM of Interactive Development Danny Winokur posted a shocking article on the Adobe blog. He announced that Adobe has decided that their next iteration of the mobile Flash Player (11.1) will be their final release. This is after a long debate about Flash Player support on mobile devices with Apple standing by their decision to not support the player.
In our opinion, this is not the end of the world. In the blog post, he states that Adobe Air for mobile will continue to be a focus for Adobe which means that the mobile application development environment and tools will continue to improve. That is good since we have already launched two apps using Adobe Air (Ransom Letters and The Etiquette App). The reason given for the change is that Adobe now has the ability to focus more on creating environments for working with HTML5 and facilitating easier HTML5 development.
Flash Player for mobile, which has been a big selling feature for Android devices has been great, mostly for being able to access websites that require Flash Player. That won’t change very much since the player is not going away, it just isn’t being advanced any further. Android users should continue to be able to access Flash content on the web where iPhone users won’t get to see anything.
The mobile Flash Player itself has always been a bit of a disappointment for us at Cult Creative. We had such high hopes for it, but developing Flash that works for mobile through the browser just meant that we would only be able to support a portion of mobile devices since it isn’t supported across the board. As he states in his post “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively”; if you are going to create an experience for mobile users on the web you should have always been considering HTML5 anyways.
We have are firm believers that HTML5 and Flash are not in direct competition with each other, they both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Most people, developers, and agencies that want to create full user experiences have been forced, over the past couple of years, to develop multiple version of their web applications because a desktop web application rarely makes sense on the smaller screens of mobile devices. The solution, from the beginning of the smart phone browser, has been to create a better experience for the user via HTML(5).
To us, what this announcement by Adobe means is that people will now be forced to not rely on the fact that having a Flash site means that some mobile users can see their content. When creating a site, if you would like mobile users to see the site AND have a good experience you should consider creating something unique for them and their screen sizes without relying on the Flash site you have already built. The major thing to remember is that even when creating a solid experience for a mobile user when your main site is built with HTML5, you should make accommodations, variations, and often completely custom experiences for the user.
To sum it all up, we don’t see this as a brilliant move by Adobe, but it is not devastating either. Our hope is that Adobe will continue to build on the recent advancements of Dreamweaver, Edge, and Wallaby to enable Flash developers and motion designers to continue creating outstanding user experiences.