No Flash for Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, users

No Flash for Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, users

Summary: Adobe told us they were only working on Flash for Windows and Mac PCs and it turns out they were serious. There will be no native Flash for Google's Android 4.1.


Adobe Flash won't be coming to Android 4.1, Jelly Bean

You may not have noticed at the time but Adobe told us back in February that Flash Player would not not supported on Android 4.1 and users should uninstall Flash Player prior to upgrading to Android 4.1, Jelly Bean. Adobe was serious. There will be no Flash for Android 4.1.

So, if you were wondering why so many Android 4.1 demos at Google I/O were in HTML5. Well, now you know.

Hands-on with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (pictures)

Some of you may be thinking that this isn't a big deal because Flash is supported in Chrome. This, after all, is how Adobe continues to semi-support Flash in Linux. Specifically, Adobe is working with Google on a single application programming interface (API) for hosting plug-ins within the browser. The API, code-named "Pepper", provides a layer between the plug-in and browser that abstracts away differences between browser and operating system implementations. Pepper is currently an experimental feature in Chrome.

But, if you look closely you'll find that the "Pepper" implementation of Flash Player is only for the Chrome browser on x86/64 platforms. So, even though Chrome is Jelly Bean's default Web browser, Pepper isn't available on Android 4.1 and thus neither is Flash.

So, can you just use an older version of Flash on your new Android 4.1 device? Adobe suggests that this wouldn't be a smart idea. “In many cases users of uncertified devices have been able to download the Flash Player from the Google Play Store, and in most cases it worked. However, with Android 4.1 this is no longer going to be the case, as we have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options. There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1.”

Looking ahead, Adobe will be blocking Flash runtime downloads. “Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th.”

Just because Adobe says it doesn't work and won't support it doesn't mean that the existing Flash Player won't work on Android 4.1-powered smartphones and tablets. Some users are already successfully running Flash on their Jelly Bean devices. In the future, they expect they'll just sideload it on their devices. But, as one developer pointed out, “Sooner or later, Adobe Flash Player will break.”

Reading Adobe documentation it's clear that Adobe is betting its future on Windows and Macs. There's no Flash for iOS, Flash will gradually die off on Android, and Adobe has no publicly announced plans to bring Flash to either Windows Phone 8 or Windows RT. For better or worse, Adobe has decided that Flash won't be playing a role on most mobile devices.

Related Stories:

What's new in Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean: Sign of dev maturity, market share

Android quietly partners up with Chrome

Adobe abandons Linux

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Security, Mobility, Mobile OS, Hardware, Google, Enterprise Software, Browser, Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Not worried

    To be honest, it doesn't bother me. My current Android phone has Flash, but I have disabled it in the browser settings.

    99% of the sites I visit work better and load faster without Flash enabled - the Flash is usually for unnecessarily animated elements, such as adverts (I understand sites need advertising revenue, which is why I never adblock them, but it doesn't mean that have a right to burn through my bandwidth and battery, just show me a JPEG).

    The same goes for my desktop, I use FlashBlock and NoScript so that only domains I trust get to run scripts and only Flash elements that are 100% necessary for the correct functioning of the site are loaded. That save a lot of processor juice, especially with 30 or 40 open tabs...
  • Actually that isn't accurate

    Adobe said licensees would still have access to the source code and specifically mentioned google as one such party.

    In short, if Google sees fit, it can include Flash into a future release of their Chrome browser for Android.
  • Sad day

    I feel really bad flash player for android is going down. I really think it has potential especially now that smartphones have matured into more powerful devices with lots of juice to support flash player.
    I see what Adobe is tryin to do here, they rather keep the AIR up and running because its better for both big platforms (iOs and Android). In this way developers can make apps for both platforms rather easy and the performance it's getting better and better day by day.
  • If they're gonna kill it, then KILL IT

    I don't mourn the death of flash on the android platform, but if they want to kill it they should go ahead and kill it on ALL PLATFORMS. As long as they continue to support Flash on desktops and laptops, there will continue to be websites written around flash. The only way to force them to upgrade is to remove Flash from all platforms. Until this happens, these sites are effectively broken to anyone with a non-flash device.

    This used to include only iOS devices, but henceforth it will also include all late model android devices. Given the continued growth of tablets and smartphones for web access, this presents a real problem for many users. I often travel with a tablet in lieu of my laptop, and I have encountered numerous sites that no longer work right using non-flash browsers such as the current Dolphin.
  • Flash on android device

    flash is being phased out of convention, you won’t be able to download flash from the Play Market. That however doesn’t mean that you can’t get it.I have installed flash on my s3 by using this manual guide
    Molan James
  • found an easy workaround

    It's not quite the same as sideloading flash, but I downloaded the photon browser from the play store, which has a flash toggle in the browser, and it works on jelly bean. Good for sites that still need to use flash player