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Adobe kills Flash Player for Android, focusses on HTML5 instead

Adobe first announced its intention to stop developing Flash Player for mobile devices last November, but the dreaded day has finally come - the company has pulled the plug-in from the Android Google Play Store, in effect guaranteeing that the software has no place in the future of mobile Internet.

“Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player,” the company wrote in a June blog post explaining its decision.

Instead, Adobe is focussing on HTML5, which it described as “the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.”

But the demise of Flash Player for Android doesn’t mean the end is nigh for Flash as a technology; Adobe will continue to provide security updates and bug fixes for users who have already installed the player until September 2013. The company has also said it will continue to work on development of Flash for PCs.

"With Flash we're focusing on two areas," Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch told the BBC.

"One is console quality gaming - this is really bringing the level of gaming to the web that you can see on consoles today and with Flash we actually reach more people than any of the gaming platforms. That includes working on 3D technology inside the browser,” he said.

“The second area is premium copy-protected video for people who have high value video, like movie studios or cable companies, who want viewers to watch the video anywhere but also want to make sure it’s protected,” he added.

Still, the shift away from Flash for mobile devices effectively amounts to an admission on Adobe’s part that it was wrong in its optimistic predictions about the technology’s role in the future of the mobile web. Steve Jobs famously, and publicly, rebuffed Adobe’s insistence that Flash was essential to bringing desktop-like web browsing to mobile devices. And his refusal to include Flash in iOS is thought to have been the reason for the platform’s failure.

The death of Flash Player for Android will likely be frustrating for some users, as they will be unable to access much of the web’s content, which is still encoded in Flash. Android’s Flash compatibility was widely considered to be one of the platform’s advantages over iOS.

For its part, the BBC said it is working to develop an alternative, non-Flash version of its iPlayer app.