Technologizer posts about Adobe Flash

In Which I Bid Flash Adieu

By  |  Posted at 4:01 am on Monday, November 28, 2011


For awhile now, I’ve been battling some maddeningly persistent, mysterious technical gremlins that have infested my MacBook Air. The machine would work just great. Then, without warning, it would get miserably slow–the cursor would turn into a spinning beach ball, apps would refuse to respond either briefly or until I rebooted, and the fan would go on full-blast.

I repaired the solid-state disk using Apple’s Disk Utility. I cleared my caches. I blamed my browser and switched to another one. (At various points, I’ve used Safari, Chrome, and, most recently, Firefox as my primary browser.) Some of these tactics seemed to help–emphasis on “seemed”–but they didn’t resolve the situation permanently.

When the Mac was in one of its moods, it was no fun at all. That’s one reason why I’ve found myself using my iPad 2 (equipped with a Zagg keyboard) more often than the Air over the past three months. But I never stopped wanting the Mac to work better.

Then it struck me. The iPad, unlike any Mac or Windows PC I’ve ever used, is pretty much bulletproof. It doesn’t get bogged down. It has no equivalent of the spinning beach ball. Even its worst technical problems can almost always be fixed by powering it down.

And–in case you hadn’t heard–it doesn’t run Adobe’s Flash. New Macs don’t come with Flash, but I reflexively installed it on mine.

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If you’re not sick of thinking about the end of Flash on mobile devices already, people are still writing stuff about it that’s worth reading:

Adobe’s Mike Chambers gives several reasons for mobile Flash’s death, but the first he mentions is Apple’s rejection of it:

This one should be pretty apparent, but given the fragmentation of the mobile market, and the fact that one of the leading mobile platforms (Apple’s iOS) was not going to allow the Flash Player in the browser, the Flash Player was not on track to reach anywhere near the ubiquity of the Flash Player on desktops.

And Mobile Opportunity’s Michael Mace–thoughtful as always–says that greed did Flash in:

So here’s what Adobe did to itself:  By mismanaging the move to full mobile browsing, it demonstrated that customers were willing to live with a mobile browser that could not display Flash.  Then, by declaring its intent to take over the mobile platform world, Adobe alarmed the other platform companies, especially Apple.  This gave them both the opportunity and the incentive to crush mobile Flash.

I agree that there were a bunch of reasons why mobile Flash never amounted to anything, but I still think one of them trumps all others: It didn’t work. If it had been fabulous, even Apple might have had to reconsider the situation.

Posted by Harry at 1:38 pm

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Dan Frommer of SplatF

Posted by Harry at 11:43 am

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Commenter Ridd make a good point about Flash over at this story by Erica Ogg on why mobile Flash failed:

The real reason why Adobe is dropping Flash mobile support is not iPhone. It is Windows 8.

Microsoft made it very clear that they won’t allow Flash to run in Windows 8 Metro browser and they are pushing HTML5 as a platform. You do not need a crystal ball to see that without Windows’ (which runs on 95% of PCs worldwide) support, Flash is dead. It will be supported for legacy reasons for a while, but it has no future.

Windows 8 isn’t a mobile operating system–it’s an OS that aims to run well on both mobile devices and garden-variety, traditional computers. If its browser doesn’t support Flash–or any plug-in, how much longer will Flash in any form live on?

Posted by Harry at 11:21 am


The Long National Mobile Flash Nightmare is Over

By  |  Posted at 9:11 am on Wednesday, November 9, 2011


So it’s official: Adobe is ceasing development of Flash Player for phones and tablets:

Over the past two years, we’ve delivered Flash Player for mobile browsers and brought the full expressiveness of the web to many mobile devices.

However, HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively.  This makes HTML5 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.

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.

Yup, Adobe–the company that has been maintaining that the Web isn’t really the Web without Flash–just said that HTML5 is “the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.” That’s true. I didn’t expect it to concede the point just yet, but I’m glad it did.

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Get Ready For Fancy 3D Flash Games With Unreal Engine 3

By  |  Posted at 3:07 pm on Tuesday, October 4, 2011


When I think of Flash gaming, I usually picture colorful sprites on 2D backgrounds in games like FarmVille and Bejeweled. But that may change with Epic Games bringing its Unreal 3 engine to Adobe Flash.

During Adobe’s MAX conference, the two companies demonstrated Unreal Tournament 3–originally a PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 title–running inside a web browser. Scads of modern games are based on Unreal Engine 3, including hits like Mass Effect and Epic’s own Gears of War series, and Flash 11 will be able to tap the hardware acceleration necessary to run these games within a browser.

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The Beginning of the End of The Plug-in

By  |  Posted at 5:12 pm on Thursday, September 15, 2011


When the modern World Wide Web first came to be in the mid 1990s, there was no such thing as a plug-in. The Web was a basic place, and function was more important than flashiness.

Times changed and so did developers’ preferences.

Soon, sites wanted to enhance the web experience beyond what HTML alone could provide, and Java, Flash, and other technologies were brought to the Web. Overall it worked as intended and made the Web more lively, but there were issues.

First off, plug-ins led to a more uneven browsing experience than issues surrounding how different browsers render pages ever did. If you didn’t have the plug-in or couldn’t install it, pages did not appear as intended. Look at devices that don’t support Flash (iOS, I’m talking about you): their users are locked out of a significant portion of the Web.

Moreover, these plug ins opened up our computers to additional security issues. Most security issues on the Web come as a result of the attacker making his or her way into your computer through an exploit found in a plug-in. Think about it: a significant number of major security flaws have been found here.

It shouldn’t be a surprise then that Microsoft is following Apple’s lead in moving away from Flash, and plug-ins generally. IE10 for Windows 8 will come in two flavors — one for Microsoft’s new Metro interface, and another for the desktop. Metro won’t support plug-ins and will instead support HTML5 as well as possible, says Windows chief Steven Sinofsky.

“Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers,” he argues. “Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI.”

I have to applaud Microsoft here. Plug-ins, in this day and age, are outdated and unnecessary. Some have criticized Apple’s stance on this, but lets face it: modern Web technologies can provide nearly the same experience.

To me, the most attractive part of this switch is the additional security benefits. I’m hoping that this change spurs developers to wean themselves off of these unnecessary technologies, making the Web safer for all of us. Bad news for Adobe? Maybe, but hey even they are preparing for a life without Flash.


For Adobe, Edge Represents Opportunity, Not Surrender

By  |  Posted at 4:08 pm on Monday, August 1, 2011


“Adobe Quietly Surrenders to Steve Jobs, Builds Flash Alternative.” That’s the headline on Adam Clark Estes’s article over at the Atlantic on Edge, Adobe’s new HTML5 authoring tool. It captures the tone of a lot of coverage I’ve seen. Edge supposedly represents a capitulation on Adobe’s part. And it’s supposedly a product that Adobe might never have come up with if Steve Jobs hadn’t kept Flash off of the iPhone and iPad and been bluntly public about his reasoning.

Well, maybe. It’s true that the inability of Flash to run natively on iOS gives Adobe a powerful incentive to get on the HTML5 bandwagon. I tend to think, however, that this take gives Apple too much credit, and Adobe too little. Edge isn’t about Adobe bowing to Steve Jobs; it’s about it acknowledging reality. And Adobe shouldn’t be building this product in a grudging, grumbly fashion. If Edge is a great HTML5 tool, there’s no reason why it can’t be an enormously popular and profitable component of the company’s portfolio. It would be nuts for Adobe not to do it.

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The Xoom Gets Flash. But Don’t Get Too Excited

By  |  Posted at 11:22 pm on Friday, March 18, 2011


When Motorola’s Xoom hit Verizon stores last month, it was missing some of the features that promised to make it the iPad’s first formidable rival–including its much-touted support for Adobe’s Flash Player. That got fixed today when Adobe released Flash Player 10.2 for Android, a version which supports phones and tablets running versions of Android dating back to last year’s 2.2 Froyo.

I installed the new Flash on the Xoom and started trolling the Web for Flash content to try. My experience was mixed.  Adobe doesn’t claim that this is a finished piece of software: The Honeycomb version of Flash Player is billed as a beta, and according to Engadget’s Sean Hollister, it doesn’t yet support hardware acceleration. (Apparently, the First Law of Mobile Flash–the version you want is always not quite here yet–still holds.)

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Adobe has announced that Flash Player 10.2 for Android–the first version that supports the tablet-friendly Android 3.0 Honeycomb and which supports the performance-boosting, power-minimizing Stage Video feature–will be available on March 18th. One way or another, Its arrival will surely restart the whole “Should iOS users be distraught over Apple’s refusal to permit Flash?” debate…

Posted by Harry at 8:16 am


Adobe Helps Turn Flash Into HTML5

By  |  Posted at 9:01 pm on Monday, March 7, 2011


Flash vs. HTML5. HTML5 vs. Flash. Whatever your take on the respective merits of the two high-profile technologies for creating splashy Web content, you can’t deny that the rivalry between Adobe’s venerable Flash and the assortment of evolving open-source standards collectively known as HTML5 is intense.

But what if Flash could become HTML5?

Starting now–in certain limited instances–it can. First demoed at Adobe’s MAX conference last October, Wallaby is a free new app from Adobe using its AIR platform that sucks in Flash content created with the Flash Professional authoring software, then spits out an HTML5 version designed to work well in WebKit browsers.

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Mobile Flash: Always Exciting, Always Not Quite Here Yet

By  |  Posted at 11:36 am on Monday, February 21, 2011


Motorola’s Xoom tablet–the first one to run Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb–goes on sale on Thursday.  It packs more features than any other tablet from a major company to date. But for the moment, one of them apparently won’t be support for Flash. As Engadget is reporting, Verizon’s Xoom site says that the gizmo is “fully Flash-enabled,” but then it says that Flash is “expected spring 2011.”

(Why the gap between Xoom’s debut and the debut of Flash on the Xoom? I don’t know the specifics, but I assume it’s because Motorola has yet to, well, fully enable it for Flash.)

I got a hint that Flash for Honeycomb was still a work in progress back on February 2nd, when I attended Google’s Honeycomb event and saw a demo of a third-party app that requires Flash–but which was presented on a Xoom that didn’t have Flash installed, rendering the demo meaningless.

Spring 2011 starts on March 20th, so it’s possible that the wait for Flash on the Xoom will be brief. But the fact that the tablet is shipping without Flash is entirely in keeping with the history of Flash on mobile devices to date. Hardware makers keep arguing that Flash is exciting and essential–and they raise the issue of its absence on Apple devices, either explicitly or by implication.

Here, for instance, is Motorola using Flash as a selling point back at CES in January:

Adobe hasn’t been shy about promoting Flash for mobile gadgets before it was ready, either: At the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, it showed off versions of Flash Player for BlackBerry, Web OS, and Windows Mobile that aren’t still yet available on any devices. And I’m not talking about the Mobile World Congress held last week–I’m referring to the 2010 edition of the show.

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona–which I’m not attending this year–Adobe has announced that it’s planning to bring Stage Video, the FlashPlayer 10.2 feature that permits fast video playback that doesn’t kill the battery–to mobile devices. It’ll be available on Android and for RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet; the Android version will require Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which means it’ll work on tablets such as the Xoom but not on any currently-available Android smartphones.

Posted by Harry at 10:53 am

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Kongregate Arcade Saga Concludes With Crippled Android App

By  |  Posted at 8:59 am on Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Hopefully this will be the last story I write about Kongregate Arcade, the Flash game compilation that Google removed from the Android Market last week.

The background: Kongregate Arcade is a portal for roughly 300 of the Kongregate website’s mobile-friendly Flash games. It has user reviews, recommendations, offline play and badges that carry over to the desktop version of the site. Almost immediately, Google yanked the app from the Android Market because it looked too much like a competing app store.

Now it’s back with a couple crippling changes.

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More on Google’s Puzzling Decision to Oust Kongregate from the Android Market

By  |  Posted at 12:24 pm on Thursday, January 20, 2011


Kongregate Arcade’s rejection from the Android Market just got more interesting now that Google has explained itself.

Earlier this week, Flash gaming portal Kongregate released an Android app that’s basically an extension of the full website. Kongregate Arcade provided recommendations and user reviews for more than 300 phone-friendly Flash games, along with badges for in-game achievements.

It also allowed users to cache Flash games for offline play. And that, apparently, is what upset Google enough to remove the app. (You can still get it from Kongregate’s website.) The Android Market does not allow developers to distribute their own app stores, and offline caching led Google to view Kongregate Arcade as a self-contained app storefront.

But in explaining its logic to GigaOM, Google has exposed both a double standard for video games and an instance where Apple, oddly enough, is more liberal.

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Kongregate Gives Android a Proper Flash Gaming Portal

By  |  Posted at 10:14 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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[UPDATE: Google has pulled this app from the Android Market for "unknown reasons." You can now get it directly from Kongregate's website.]

The arrival of Adobe Flash games on Android phones last May was dampened by two factors: Most of the games weren’t that great, and there was no obvious way to filter the good stuff from the bad.

Kongregate, the Flash game portal owned by GameStop, hopes to change all that with Kongregate Arcade, an app for Android phones running version 2.2 and above. It’s kind of like OpenFeint’s awesome game discovery app for iPhone and Android, with recommendations, user ratings and screenshots, but instead of routing users back to the App Store or Android Market, it links to Flash games on Kongregate’s own mobile site.

Other perks include badges (with user profiles that sync between the desktop and mobile sites) and offline support for a select number of games.

Without the app, Kongregate’s mobile site is just a running list of games, with no descriptions or added features. It isn’t much different from competing sites, such as Armor Games, and certainly isn’t very inviting. The native app, by comparison, looks more like Kongregate’s full website, and it could be just what Kongregate needs to make Flash gaming more popular on Android phones.

I haven’t had a chance to try the new app yet (it’ll have to wait until my wife gets home with her Droid Incredible). I’d love to add some impressions when I get a chance. In the meantime, I hope Kongregate users start helping the good mobile Flash games rise to the top.

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