Adobe casts Flash lot with Android; Drops iPhone plans

Adobe casts Flash lot with Android; Drops iPhone plans

Summary: Adobe's Mike Chambers, principal product manager for the Flash platform, said the company will halt future development on plans to bring Flash apps to Apple's iPhones.


Adobe's Mike Chambers, principal product manager for the Flash platform, said the company will halt future development on plans to bring Flash apps to Apple's iPhones.

In other words, Adobe has finally become tired of beating its head against the wall. The final straw was when Apple changed the terms of its iPhone 4.0 software developer kit license in a way that blocked Adobe's plans. Chambers in a blog post said that Apple's new terms were meant to single out Adobe and any content created with Flash CS5. Those terms read:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

Chambers continued:

The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross browser, platform and device development. The cool web game that you build can easily be targeted and deployed to multiple platforms and devices. However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms.

Chambers maintained that there's no technical reason why Flash can't run on the iPhone, but the battle just isn't worth the effort. As a result, Adobe's Flash efforts will focus on Android. Chambers said:

Android based phones have been doing well behind the success of the Motorola Droid and Nexus One, and there are a number of Android based tablets slated to be released this year. We are working closely with Google to bring both Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0 to these devices, and thus far, the results have been very promising.

There's also another key point here too. Adobe and Research in Motion have been getting cozy so there will be developer love too. Add it up and you're going to have Adobe-Android-RIM on one axis and Apple's iPhone on the other. The game isn't over, but those iPhone dreams are for Adobe's Flash.

Apple said told CNet News that Chambers has it backwards. Apple supports open standards and Flash is closed and proprietary.


Topics: Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Software Development

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    Good Riddance Adobe!

    We don't miss Flash!

    Flash is dead!
    • Flash is dead...on the iDevices

      Meanwhile, every other mobile device will be making use of it and, collectively, these other devices will make up a majority.
      • Re: Flash is dead

        It will be interesting to see how it plays out!!
        • Loss of competition is usually bad

          Don't you think killing off a stream of competition will hampered the dev of other, even if they are better, tech? Why push HTML5 harder if you've killed off the potential competition?

          I know ADOBE makes some seriously buggy stuff - but it's better for US if they die do to a better product being offered. Having Apple just kill them off is not necessarily a good thing.
          • Not Dead At All

            Just for the i-devices
            For the majority of devices it will still be there.

            The bigger impact is without the competition, this will likely slow down the evolution of HTML5 and similiar software.

            Why does this feel like a shot in the foot for Apple?
      • Majority:

        It's gonna take them a while to get a majority because most current
        smart phones do even not have Flash, and when Flash 10.1 comes
        out, only very recent, high powered smart phones (i.e. Droid and later)
        will even be able to run Flash 10.1.

        Meanwhile, by 2011, the iPhone OS will have 100 million users, most
        of whom are highly paid (iPhones/iPad) or part of the highly desirable
        teen/pre teen/under 25 age marekt (iPod touch). Developers and
        advertisers aren't going to ignore that market.

        Adobe seriously misread the mobile space. Flash should have been
        completely optimized and ready for smart phones 3 years ago, before
        the iPhone came out.
        • Umm...

          The vast majority of Android phones that will be released in the coming years will outperform the Droid (in other words, will be 'Droid and later') and they' along with the other newer, more powerful devices, will make up the majority I was talking what's your point? What? Did you think that the current crop of smartphones were going to be the ones that determine the extent of flash availability on the devices in the future? The smartphone market is growing rapidly. First time smartphone buyers are the ones who will be driving the market into the future.

          In Internet terms, 100 million is nothing. Do you know how many people use Opera?

          That's right...[i]100 million[/i].
          • Re: Umm...

            Flash isn't supported on ANY smartphones right now! If it was, then yes today's phones WOULD matter.
            Given it doesn't yet exist, then you're right - future hardware should be able to run it.
            But if it's in the future, let's use something other than Flash. We've got the time.

            I really can't see Flash ever working well on smartphones... Perhaps that sort of media is something we'll always have to live without in this kind of platform. (video excluded as it scales up and down easily enough).
          • Think about this

            Each iteration of the smartphone gets more and more powerful and has greater graphics capability. Meanwhile, Adobe is finally addressing, in 10.1, the issue that has been plaguing flash performance all along - the underutilization of the GPU. I think the best thing that Adobe can do for themselves is to make the best performing flash version ever, that makes excellent use of the GPU and works flawlessly and efficiently on smartphone. Do that, and Apple's going to have a major problem justifying their stance.
          • Re: Think about this

            But... You're talking about vapourware!

            Plus I'm still not convinced about the practical side - how many Flash contents would translate from a desktop web page to a smartphone?
          • @rossdav@

            So everyone is getting fired up at Apple for not installing vaporware on the iPhone? SJ is right, Adobe is lazy, what other possible excuse could Adobe have for not producing a stable, workable version of Flash for the mobile platform after 3 years? And I am agreeing with you here. Classic.
          • ???

            Wait a flash 10.1, which is currently being tested on phones and is slated for release within a year, is vaporware, while HTML5 which is [i]currently still being written and won't be finalized for several more years[/i], is not? You're the one proposing that the world switch NOW to code that's still being written and modified. That's like a building contractor allowing a client to occupy a building site while it's under construction. :-)
          • @eMJayy

            "Wait a flash 10.1, which is currently being tested on phones and is slated for release within a year, is vaporware,"

            Maybe I don't know all the details but the iPhone has been out 3 years now and Mobile Flash is still a beta product. I certainly find it interesting people are looking at Apple as the bad guy for refusing to install software that still doesn't exist in a mature and stable form.
          • @oncall

            The situation with flash on the iPhone was of Apple's own making.

            Adobe has been trying for years to get Apple to allow them access to the proprietary code that would allow them to create a compatible flash plugin, but Apple has staunchly refused them access. Adobe didn't sit on its hands for 3 years; Apple deliberately sat on Adobe's hands to prevent them from creating the plugin.

            Why do you think that Adobe was able to get the Android plugin done this quickly? Because the source code for Android is open and accessible to Adobe, that's why.
          • I had not heard that..

            Apple was withholding source code that Adobe needs to begin programming a Flash app, although it sounds similar to accusations of Adobe withholding source code from Apple that it needs to fix things, so I accept it as probably true. Though, I had heard that Flash would need deep access to the source code and hardware to work properly, something which Apple is not going to allow. I will wait and see, if Flash 10.1 is solid, bug free and resource lite then maybe Adobe will have a point. Until then...
          • Horse Pucky!!!

            Yes it is on all the Windows Mobile Smart Phones and Several versions of Android have it (those phones running 1.5 and 1.6, only 2.0 and 2.1 phones can't run flash).
          • Somewhat wrong.

            The only versions of Flash currently available for smart phones are
            Flash Lite which can't run a majority of the desktop flash apps people
            would like to run. The other one is a crippled version of Flash 10,
            which also does not support all of the features of the desktop version.
            Supposedly 10.1 will fix the problems of 10. But its in beta, and you
            have to sign up to be notified when the public beta begins.


            So, in terms of Flash that people WANT on the phones. It doesn't
            currently exist. Only "crippled" versions of it.
        • Adobe misread the market?

          More Like Apple did... When all these kids and adults start to see their friends playing flash content from websites they'll wonder why they can't have that...

          Crud, I brought mine into work and showed coworkers the perfectly legal and fully functional Genesis, SNES and NES Emulators... Now people I never even told come up to me wanting to see the games running and start claiming! I'm getting a Droid! =D

          Basically, Apple misread this... It isn't what the phone can do that people will judge it by, it is what it can't do! =D
          • Oh yeah and one more note...

            Flash runs fine on the Droid Eris with Android 1.6... That phone has 1/3 the computing power of the droid so don't give me this it ain't going to work well bit.
      • Every other mobile device?

        Funny how the Flash shills seem to be living in a different planet.

        As of today, there is no full version of Flash for ANY mobile device.

        Flash 10.1 is supposed to be out this summer, although early reports
        are that it's still slow and choppy. Even if it works, it requires an 800
        MHz A8 processor - which is on a whopping 0.1% of all mobile

        Windows mobile has already indicated that they're not going to
        support Flash in version 7.

        The Apple iDevices account for between 64 and 95% of Internet traffic
        from mobile devices, depending on who you believe. There is no sign
        that they will EVER support Flash.

        Given all those facts, how do you come to the conclusion that 'every
        other mobile device' will be making use of it? Is 0.1% "every other
        device" now?