The End of Flash for Mobile and Why This Is a Good Thing
Adobe is getting ready to announce that they will stop developing Flash Player for mobile platforms, however they will continue to maintain the current Flash Player and fix whatever bugs come up. But we won’t be seeing that 3D hardware accelerated Flash Player 10.3 that has just been launched on PC’s.
Now, I don’t want to make this about Apple who have been sustaining the idea that Flash is not suited mobile devices, but I’ve always thought Google took a terrible decision by deciding to integrate Flash in Chrome and Android.
I remember when Chrome was in early stages, Flash didn’t work so well in Chrome (and this is part of the reason why Flash shouldn’t exist), so maybe they decided to integrate Flash so they can get Adobe to make it work better in their browser.
Soon after that we saw Flash Player launch on Android, too, and Google beat their chest that their Android-powered run Flash, while Apple’s devices didn’t. The reason I’ve hated their decision is because Flash was never an idea that was compatible with Google’s vision and strategy. Until this moment they were all about HTML5 and the web.
They were the ones leading the way to HTML5, and they still do, but people’s perception about that has dropped in recent years, and in part it’s because of Flash. And not surprisingly, people even started naming Apple as a company that pushes the web further – Apple, a mostly hardware company, not a “web” company like Google, was seen as leading the way for HTML5.
Even if Google still did more for the web in recent years, I don’t blame people for thinking that. Google did this to themselves. Instead of following their own original vision, they became conflicted, just because they wanted to spite Apple. They “abandoned” the HTML5 future (at least in the public’s eye) to support Flash, a legacy technology, just to say they have it and Apple doesn’t.
Flash Player has never really worked that well even on 1 Ghz devices, and it wasn’t perfect with HD videos on dual core ones, either. So why bother? The reason it seemed Adobe just couldn’t optimize it properly was because it’s very hard for a single company to make sure their plugin runs smoothly not only across browsers, but across operating systems, too.
This is why such technology is better left with the browser makers themselves. They should be taking care of showing videos in the browser by implementing open standard technologies (such as WebM). This way the browser makers will make sure it works properly, because they only have to optimize it for their own browser.
All ubiquitous web technologies should be free and open source. That’s the only way our web experience will keep improving and the Internet can keep evolving as fast as we’ve seen it evolve so far.