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Ice Cream Sandwich WILL get Flash

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Android version 4, AKA Ice Cream Sandwich, will get a Flash player for its browser later this year, but it will be the last mobile platform to have one - from Adobe at least.

Adobe has already said it won't be developing any more versions of the embedded Flash player for mobile devices, and when the first Android 4 device (the Nexus Galaxy) hit the shelves last week it seemed that mobile Flash was already history. But early adopters should be mollified by the news that Adobe has been telling Pocket Lint that will be releasing one last version of the Flash player, just for them, later this year.

That's not to say that Flash is in some way dying, or that mobile Flash won't continue to exist as a platform for mobile applications as well as embedded playback in web browsers, just that Adobe won't be writing any more versions to facilitate the latter.

Adobe's AIR platform uses Flash for mobile (and desktop) applications, and will continue to be supported on all the popular mobile operating systems. Desktop Flash continues to be a key component of Adobe's strategy, and RIM has negotiated a deal with Adobe to continue developing embedded Flash for its QNX-based BBX platform, used on the PlayBook and forthcoming mobile handsets.

Adobe has made it clear that it sees a future in creating content and preventing (unauthorised) people from viewing it, rather than spending money developing embedded video players for mobile handsets.

So videos embedded in web pages, and lacking in digital-rights management, will, at some point, have to use HTML 5 if they want to be viewable on a mobile telephone. But not until Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4) ceases to be the mobile platform of choice for Apple refuseniks, and assuming that Google doesn't just do a deal similar to RIM's, which it no doubt will if it comes to matter.

So no reason to panic just yet, just be pleased if you're clutching your Android 4 handset and want to watch DRM-laden content on YouTube. ®

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