Adobe announced on June 28 that it would not be certifying any implementation of its Flash Player software on Android 4.1.
The company had previously announced that development of Flash Player for mobile browsers was discontinued, but it continued to certify Android devices running earlier versions of the operating system. Adobe made its announcement about version 4.1 just two days after the update, also known as Jelly Bean, was announced at the Google I/O 2012 conference in San Francisco.
The Flash Player installer will be removed from Google Play after August 15, although devices with some version of Flash Player already installed will still be able to download security updates. Adobe is also making an archive of released Flash Player versions available to developers.
Adobe assured users that another of the company’s products, Adobe AIR, would be “an immediate future-proof upgrade path,” supporting Flash-based video back to Android 2.2. Adobe said the decision was made to discontinue mobile Flash Player development because mobile devices typically deliver video via custom apps or newer browser technology.
Patrick Roanhouse at BetaNews.com speculated that ending Flash certification could actually lead to older devices being upgraded sooner. The default browser on devices running an Android version earlier than 4.0 does not support HTML video as well as Google’s Chrome browser, and Chrome is not available for those devices, he pointed out.
“As Flash disappears, and the utility of the stock Android browser further decreases, cellular carriers and phone manufacturers may face increasing customer pressure to get devices off Gingerbread [version 2.3], which has the largest install base, and onto Android 4.x,” Roanhouse wrote.
The support of Flash has been a major differentiation between Android and Apple’s iOS, which has explicitly excluded Flash since its release on the first iPhone in 2007.
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