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Adobe confirms mobile Flash Player's race is run

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It's official: Adobe Flash Player is dead for mobile browsers… almost.

Once Flash 11.1 for Android devices and RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is done, Adobe will develop no future versions, it confirmed today, though it will patch bugs and plug security holes yet to be discovered in the 11.1 code.

Adobe said it views HTML 5 as the "best solution" for "creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms" now that the standard is "universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively".

Guess which one that is...

So where does that leave Flash? Not dead, seemingly. Adobe wants coders to produce Flash apps which can be then run through its Air system and spat out as native apps to be sold in stores' gaming and video departments.

And Flash will continue to be rolled out on less portable personal computers.

Quite apart from Apple's intransigence, Adobe's move was always a possibility. Developing Flash Player for ARM-based devices requires the code to be tweaked for each offering. That was a costly enough business when there were a handful of ARM-based smartphones. Now there are many - and plenty more ARM-based tablets besides.

The effort required to equip them all - well, almost all of them - with Flash Player is just too costly, especially if the vendors themselves won't cough up.

Ironically, this was a problem Intel once pitched its Atom chip as the solution. Based on the x86 standard, it's a more straightforward chip to develop for. Code Flash player for Atom and, say, Linux and that app will run on every Atom/Linux-based device - there's no need to re-certify it for each device.

Alas, Intel has not managed to get Atom power consumption levels down to those of ARM's chips. And HTML 5 has arrived as an alternative standard that can be supported without plenty of extra work to ensure it runs on any given smartphone or tablet. ®

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