Adobe has announced in a blog entry that it will stop the development of Flash Player for browsers on mobile devices and instead focus its efforts on its AIR platform, which provides ways to produce native apps for the likes of the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
In the entry Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager for interactive development at Adobe, says that "our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.
"We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations."
Creatives using Adobe's Flash series of interactive design and development tools (Flash Professional, Flash Builder and Flex Builder) will still be able to use Adobe's AIR platform to produce native mobile apps. This change in focus is perhaps unsurprising after the launch of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 at the Adobe MAX conference in October, where it became clear that Adobe's focus for Flash was for high-end online projects such as games and video, with the AIR platform being more suitable for apps.
“AIR is the application future for Flash content,” said RJ Owen, experience planner at Effective UI, told us at the show. “I think Flash Player now is just to going to be all about video and 3D/2D games on the Web. AIR is where Apps run. They’re going to run native on your devices or native on your computer."
The company also announced at the show that i had bought Nitobi, developer of the Phonegap toolset for turning HTML5 sites into native apps. Phonegap is integrated into Adobe's Dreamweaver HTML and CSS design tool. Adobe says that it will "aggressively contribute" to the developement of HTML5.
"HTML5 [is] the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms," says Winokur. "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 ... We will continue to leverage our experience with Flash to accelerate our work with the W3C and WebKit to bring similar capabilities to HTML5 as quickly as possible, just as we have done with CSS Shaders. And, we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged."