Rumor: Adobe to cancel mobile Flash Player, go all in on Air and HTML 5
Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.
For Flash, this could be the end of a long, tortured existence. When the iPhone debuted in 2007 Adobe immediately complained they weren't on there, despite it taking until 2011 for them to even begin to roll out halfway decent mobile plugins. Back and forth feuding with Apple didn't get Flash onto iPhone or iPad, since Apple believed Flash to be a dead technology, and Steve Jobs announced they'd not support it. And the plugins Adobe did roll out for Android only supported video, not Flash app, and always felt like a McGyver effort at best. (Frankly, if Google, Palm, and RIM hadn't been playing a silly games with Adobe against Apple, we all could have been a couple more years ahead in HTML 5 apps by now.)
For Air, it's a mixed bag. Cross-compilers, which Apple initially banned and then un-banned from the App Store, can make life much easier for developers but can also lead to lowest-common-denominator apps that don't take advantage of platform-specific features and lag behind native SDK's in their support. For games it rarely matters, for regular apps it can be more of a challenge.
For HTML 5 this could be a huge win. Adobe is great at making content creation tools and distractions like the Flash runtimes and Omniture analytics have led to a split focus and failure to embrace emerging technologies fast enough. If this rumor pans out, it will be great to see if Adobe can make HTML 5 tools a first class citizen, finally, in their creative line up.
Somewhere, Steve Jobs' Force Ghost is smiling.