No Flash for Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, users

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.

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

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