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Mobile Flash a Thing of the Past

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Last week, Adobe officially announced that it will no longer be developing a Flash player for mobile browsers. Instead, the company will focus its mobile efforts on HTML5 and enabiling developers to create AIR applications that can be packaged and distributed to all the major app stores. Many flash developers are up in arms over the announcement and the future of Flash is again a topic of vigorous debate in the community.

Danny Winokur, the vice president of the Flash Client Platform at Adobe Systems, stated the following in an online post last week:

HTML5 [is] the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.
Flash will continue to grow in the desktop space, but will most likely continue in the realm of advanced gaming and premium video. After seeing some of the demos from Adobe Max showing off the GPU accelerated 3D I would say that they have a long future in gaming - just as long as they continue to stay ahead of anyone else.

Ever since the late Steve Jobs posted his "Thoughts on Flash" in April 2010, there have been many debates about the future of Flash. While many of these debates were conducted by those who had no real idea about the technical capabilities of either Flash or HTML and JavaScript, Flash still seemed to become the butt of everyone's jokes.

If you read the announcement from Adobe closely, you'll see that the closing remarks are full of positivity. They state that Adobe is super excited about the next generations of both HTML and Flash. I share this optimism, and I too am looking forward to what is now just around the corner for each. Regardless of whether or not this was the right decision for Adobe, my hope is that this news will end the so called 'War' between these two technologies. Both technologies are simply tools, and by moving beyond disparaging battles about which is "best", we can hopefully anticipate pushing the boundaries of both, whether participating in desktop or mobile development.

So, how will Adobe continue to contribute to HTML and the HTML 5 spec? Adobe Edge was a start, but it's far from something I would use for creating HTML animations in a professional enviroment. It was fun to play around with for awhile, but it is certainly not finished. Maybe exporting Flash to Canvas or SVG? PhoneGap is now an Apache project, and since Adobe recently acquired Nitobi, perhaps we could see some integration there somehow?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. What do you think Adobe could do to improve the mobile web and the mobile ecosystem as a whole?

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