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Adobe may be giving up on mobile Flash, but it’s going to get one more version out for Google’s upcoming Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” before it gives up the ghost.
The company confirmed today that it will release a version of Flash for Android 4.0 before the end of the year (can you believe that’s little more than a month away?), reports the mobile site Pocket-Lint. But, staying true to its word, Adobe said that will be the last version of Flash for Android, and it will in future only provide bug fixes and critical security updates.
Earlier this month, Adobe announced that it would be stopping development on mobile Flash to focus on HTML5 and mobile apps. “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” Adobe’s Danny Winokur wrote at the time. “This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.”
Android device makers have been heavily touting Flash support as a key feature in their products, but Adobe’s dismissal of its own technology will likely put a stop to that in the future. The lack of Flash in future mobile devices will hopefully spur on the adoption of HTML5 for video and interactive site elements — something that, so far, has been driven by Apple’s Flash-free iOS devices.
As I’ve written previously, despite all of Adobe’s assurances about Flash’s viability on mobile over the past few years, we’ve yet to see the technology perform on mobile as well as it does on desktops. Flash is still a slow performing battery hog on most devices. While dropping its mobile Flash ambitions is certainly a black eye for Adobe, and a validation of all of the complaints Steve Jobs brought up in his infamous “Thoughts on Flash” missive, the company will be better off in the long run. And for consumers, it means we’ll finally get to see some real mobile innovation from Adobe.