A Final Victory for Apple: Flash Won't Be Supported on Android 4.1 and Above
We've already talked about the death of Flash on this site, and even Adobe's efforts to help people transition with their Flash to HTML5 conversion tool. Adobe said they were going to be releasing one more update for Flash at the end of 2011, but it's clear now after a recent announcement that it's the end of the road for Flash on mobile devices, as it won't be supported any longer when users update to Android 4.1. But what does this really mean?
First, here's a a bit from Adobe's announcement:
Devices that don’t have the Flash Player provided by the manufacturer typically are uncertified, meaning the manufacturer has not completed the certification testing requirements. In many cases users of uncertified devices have been able to download the Flash Player from the Google Play Store, and in most cases it worked. However, with Android 4.1 this is no longer going to be the case, as we have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options. There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1.
Here is the timeline for when this is happening:
Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. 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.
Adobe not only won't be supporting Flash anymore, but they are also now limiting your ability to download it. If Flash doesn't come preinstalled by the manufacturer, there won't be any way to get it. This is a big deal as Flash reaches the end of its development. If you're a filmmaker interested in doing anything in the mobile space, this is Adobe's way of getting on a megaphone and telling you to quit using Flash. Whether it's a website or an interactive project, it's time to update previous work or not use Flash going forward if you want it to work correctly on mobile devices. Apple started this process thanks to the popularity of the iPhone and iPad and their insistence on not supporting Flash on any of their mobile devices.
This is a step in the right direction for more open platforms, which benefit filmmakers and designers at all budget levels. While you might be able to hold out for a short time thanks to the manufacturers preinstalling Flash, it won't be too long before all new devices will not work with any Flash material. With more and more web surfing heading mobile, it will be interesting to see how quickly HTML5 can get up to speed and replace Flash.