Chalk another one up for Steve Jobs‘ strategic vision. Apple’s decision to embrace HTML 5 instead of Adobe’s Flash (a content platform for distributing animation, audio, and video online) on iOS devices was panned by pundits as a colossal mistake. Even after competing devices proved that Flash was nigh-impossible to seamlessly deploy on lower-powered mobile platforms there was still a stigma attached to iOS due to Apple’s steadfast refusal to allow the platform on the product lineup.
Last November Adobe signaled that Apple’s CEO had been correct in his assertions by announcing that they would end development of Flash Player for mobile devices. While not killing it off directly, Adobe would no longer develop or optimize the plug in for any mobile browser or operating system. MacRumors brings further news of the impending doom of Flash on mobile devices as Adobe has revealed that they will be pulling Flash completely from the Google Play app store for Android devices. According to the announcement “…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…” In addition, Android 4.1 (dubbed “jelly bean”) will not be certified for use with Flash; users will be encouraged to uninstall Flash when updating to the most recent version of the OS.
Flash still plays a role in typical web experience, albeit a steadily diminishing one. Apple no longer ships OSX with Flash installed, although users can still install the plugin themselves. From my limited experience, Steve Jobs was harsh in his criticism of Flash as a buggy, insecure, and resource-hogging plugin; but his criticism wasn’t unwarranted. The platform has always been a security risk, and was resource-intensive even on my Windows desktops. Now if we could just get rid of Microsoft’s Silverlight so that watching Netflix didn’t require an update of the plugin practically every week.