Adobe To Unpublish Flash Player For Android From Play Store On August 15th

Last year, Adobe announced that it will be killing Flash for Android. The company updated Flash player to add support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the last time, but made it clear that going forward it will only be updating the plug-in to add some major security patches. Now that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is out, and even though Flash works without any issues and modifications to the plug-in, Adobe has decided to unpublish the plug-in from the Google Play store.

The plug-in will be unpublished on August 15th, and after that Android devices that ship with Flash player pre-installed will be the only ones to get any future updates. Adobe also recommends all current and future Android 4.1 Jelly Bean users to uninstall the Flash plugin from their devices, since the company has not tested and certified Flash for the latest version of Android.

This move from Adobe definitely marks the end of Flash on mobile devices. If you are a web developer, make sure that all the video content on your site is now delivered using HTML5 and not Flash.

Via – Adobe Blog

Adobe Partners with Google Chrome for Flash Player on Linux

Adobe Flash creates an extra layer of content on top of the open web. No wonder it is loathed by all open web enthusiasts. It is full of security vulnerabilities, requiring patches after every few days. However, there are some things it does really well (think flash video). With the advent of HTML 5, all the reasons to use Adobe Flash are dying fast, and Adobe can sense it too.
flash-player-logo

In its roadmap for Flash runtimes, Adobe made it clear that it is not going to develop Flash for Linux anymore. Flash Player will not be available for a direct download from Adobe. Instead, Adobe is relying on Google Chrome to release Adobe Flash bundled with their browser product.

Adobe has been working closely with Google to develop a single, modern API for hosting plug-ins within the browser. The PPAPI, code-named “Pepper”, aims to provide a layer between the plug-in and browser that abstracts away differences between browser and operating system implementations. You can find more information on the Pepper API at http://code.google.com/p/ppapi/.

Google Chrome already runs Adobe Flash in a sandbox, and the Pepper API will allow it to go cross-platform with its plugin support. Moreover, the Pepper API will provide Flash for both x86 and x64 installations, although Adobe killed Flash for x64 Linux desktops back in June 2010.

Google Chrome will start including the peppered Flash Player later this year. The canonical version of the code for Pepper API has already been moved to the Chromium subversion repository. However, with the size of the Google Chrome bundle already being an issue, I wonder how bloating it further will help anyone.

How Adobe Predicted Flash’s Future Wrong

Before Adobe Flash for mobile was killed a few days ago, in 2006, Neha Tiwari who used to work for CNET, interviewed Adobe Systems’ Mike Downey (ex-Senior Product Manger for Flash) regarding Adobe Flash’s future. If you haven’t watched the 4 minute interview, I highly suggest you watch it before reading this post.

HTML5 Flash

Ironically, Mike Downey now works for Microsoft in the Evangelism group. He’s working on Windows 8 and HTML5 now. If we analyze this interview from 2006, we can conclude that not even Adobe was able to predict Flash’s future correctly. Instead, it was Steve Jobs in 2010 who got it right.  It is sad that Adobe couldn’t have made the announcement a month ago, while Steve was around to see it.

Prediction 1:

Neha starts off the interview by asking Mike:

What do you see in the near future for Flash?

Mike responded by saying that he saw Flash being very successful on the web and quickly expanding to other platforms like mobile and car computer systems. He then went on to say that Flash would see a huge explosion among video and mobile.

Reality:

Five years after the prediction was made, the opposite has occurred. Shocker isn’t it? First of all, instead of Flash, HTML5 has been rapidly adopted among developers and companies for video across the web and on mobile platforms. In fact, ABI Research Data predicts that by 2016, 2.1 billion devices will have HTML5 support. I would even argue that this was partly because of Apple’s stance on HTML5 and refusal to offer Flash on iOS devices. After all, Apple did kill the floppy disk by using a similar method. This is funny because Apple’s iOS devices were considered to be doomed due to the lack of Flash support. Secondly, Adobe was never able to offer a great Flash experience on mobile devices. As The Small Wave’s Tom Reestman rightly said, Adobe always labeled Flash on mobile as coming soonand the performance was always pathetic.  You know what’s even more pathetic? The fact that Google bet on such a crappy technology. How a non-evil company can tolerate to offer a poor user experience to its customers is beyond me. Remember, not evil indeed.

Here’s some food for thought:

Now that Flash for mobile is dead, what exactly is Android’s major selling point going to be? In my opinion, the bottom line is that the average consumer doesn’t care about open, customization, or hardware specs. They just want something that works great.

Prediction 2:

Neha then asked:

How about a decade from now? Where do you see Flash then?

Mike responded by saying that Flash can grow into a wide variety of additional digital interfaces.  He also went on to talk about how Flash would excel on mobile devices.

Reality:

Reality check? See what I did there? HA! I think Neha threw a googly there. Five years after, Flash is on its deathbed and Adobe is pivoting as an entire company. There’s not much more to analyze here…

Prediction 3:

Neha concludes the interview by asking a question that made me laugh. In fact, I’m going to be grinning the entire time while I type the next few paragraphs.

On YouTube, where do you think sites that like are going?

Mike responded by saying that video sites like these type of sites were headed towards a click on the play button and video just starts playingtype of site and that Flash is the only thing that can allow this to happen.

Reality:  

If Flash had allowed this to happen, then that would explain why Google created an awesome UI out of HTML5 for iOS device owners, right? In addition, although while at the time of the interview Flash was indeed the king of video, Downey over-confidently underestimated how quickly a new, disruptive technology could come along and completely reshape the landscape of an industry, as we know it. HTML5 — mind you, a technology that he is now involved with in his new role at Microsoft — is quickly emerging to become the preferred standard over Flash.

Funnily enough, at this part near the end of the interview, he used the word “pervasive” to describe Flash.

Dictionary definition: (esp. of an unwelcome influence or physical effect) Spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people)

Sounds about right. Yes, Flash was popular, and it spread widely throughout an area or a group of people, but the same can be said of odors and disease.

Conclusion:  

Last year, Steve Jobs wrote a letter titled Thoughts on Flash, which people thought was a gimmick at that time. If we look back at it now, that letter nailed it. In fact, Adobe didn’t kill Flash, they just reassured it. It was Apple who killed Flash. Since the introduction of the first iPhone, Apple hasn’t allowed Flash on its devices, and their effort paid off. For a company that’s been declared doomedmany times, they have been more disruptive than ever. The death of Flash doesn’t benefit just Apple, but instead it benefits everyone.

Adobe Enters 3D gaming with Flash Player 11 and AIR 3

Adobe Systems has announced Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 software to enable the next generation of immersive application experiences across devices and platforms. Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will allow game publishers to instantly deliver console-quality 2D and 3D games over the Internet to anyone with a PC, tablet, smartphone or connected TV.

By the end of 2011, Adobe expects more than 200 million smartphones and tablets including Apple iOS devices to support Flash based applications via Adobe AIR. Adobe AIR, a superset of Flash Player, enables developers to leverage existing code to create and deliver standalone applications across devices and platforms.

Flash offers the best way for content owners to deliver their most demanding experiences, including games, premium video and sophisticated data- driven apps, to all of their users, while HTML 5 tools such as Adobe Edge and Dreamweaver are ideal to build interactive web pages, rich ads, branded microsites and general-purpose mobile applications.

– Danny Winokur, Vice President and General manager, Platform at Adobe.

Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 offer full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics that enables 1000x faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Also, Flash-based applications on Apple iOS devices can now display full frame rate videos using H.264 hardware decoding. Rich applications on televisions will also be  able to deliver HD video with 7.1 channel surround sound.

Adobe Flash Player 11 + Adobe AIR 3

Although facing tough competition from HTML5 capabilities and the non-availability of Flash in browsers on most smartphone platforms, Flash Player is supported on more than 98 percent of Internet connected PCs today. More than 70 percent of casual games on the Web are based on Flash, although mobile-gaming has seen exponential rise in last few years. According to an IDC report from May 2011, total market revenue of casual gaming should rise to $3.5 billion  by 2015 and the number of gamers should rise to 138.2 million.

Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 Brings Flash Video Streaming to iOS Devices

Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5

Yesterday, Adobe announced the release of Flash Media Server 4.5 and Flash Access 3.0, tools to allow publishers to host streaming Flash video content. Computerworld has discovered that the new release includes a new solution to allow Flash content to be repackaged and streamed to iOS, which currently does not support Flash Player directly.

“With Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5, media publishers now have a single, simple workflow for delivering content using the same stream to Flash-enabled devices or to the Apple iPhone and iPad.”

In other words, Adobe’s solution repackages content in real-time, changing the protocol to suit the target device, HTTP Dynamic Streaming or HLS, for example. This should mean that iOS devices will get much of the advantages of Flash video support, without the processor degradation and battery life cost of the format in use on other devices.

As a result, as media publishers begin to adopt the Adobe’s new software, they will be able to believe HTML5-compatible content to mobile devices alongside the traditional Flash Player content. This new feature uses video streaming technology rather than running the Flash directly on the device, but it does yet support  interactive Flash content such as games and banner ads. Media publishers will be able to stream Flash video on iOS devices.

Lately, many media providers have started to provide their video content in HTML5 to bring compatibility to iOS devices,  but direct integration of the functionality into Flash Media Server should simplify the process for those content providers who have invested in the platform.

So much for those commercials advertising Flash on Android as an advantage over iOS.

Easily Convert Flash Content to HTML5 with Swiffy

The day Google unvieled Google+, TakeOut, and launched a  new design, they also released something called Swiffy with minimal fanfare.

Swiffy LogoSwiffy is a Google Labs product and allows developers to convert Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing reuse of Flash content on devices without a Flash player.

You can easily convert simple animations and ad banners but since the tool is still in early stages, don’t expect it to convert all flash content. You can check out the power of the tool in these examples. To use the program, you simply upload a SWF file and Swiffy returns HTML5 output. Swiffy will be really helpful for devices such as iPhone and iPad which doesn’t support Flash content. Steve Jobs has famously resisted Flash on iOS products, saying it crashes and is a battery hog. With Swiffy, that problem can be solved, allowing users access to more compatiable content  on devices, which don’t support Flash.

Swiffy Converts SWF to HTML5

It’s interested to note that Adobe released a similar tool called Wallaby, earlier this year. Swiffy is different from Wallaby, as explained by Google.

Wallaby is an installable tool that converts .fla files, whereas Swiffy is a web-based tool that converts .swf files. Wallaby focuses on reusing parts of a Flash file in HTML, and thus produces code that can be edited by the developer, whereas Swiffy generates an efficient format that is not that easily editable.

What does Adobe thinks of Swiffy? Google has an answer for that as well.

Adobe is pleased to see the Flash platform extended to devices which don’t support the Flash player. The result is that anyone creating rich or interactive ads can continue to get all the authoring benefits of Flash Pro and have the flexibility to run the ad in the Flash Player or HTML depending on what’s available on the system. Google and Adobe look forward to close collaboration around efforts like these.

Swiffy still has a long way to go, it looks promising. You converted a Flash file using Swiffy? Don’t forget to share it with us.

Adobe Updates Flash Player 10.3 For Android

Adobe has recently released a new update to the Flash Player in the Android Market. The current build number for the Flash Player 10.3 for Android 2.2 and above is 10.3.185.23. The latest update brings the code to correct a cross-site scripting vulnerability, which had the potential to be used to interact with websites on your behalf, but without your permission. Check out the complete changelog, after the break.

adobe flash 10.3

Changelog:

  • Enabled NEON optimizations for OMAP4 (Cortex A-9) based devices.
  • Corrected an issue on the Samsung Galaxy S where H.264 video at resolutions of 720p and below was not displayed.
  • Fixed an issue where app packaging would fail for Android Apps using Flash Player in WebView that set android:hardwareAcceleration to True in their AndroidMainfest.xml.
  • Fixed a crash on the HTC EVO that some users encountered with specific video.
  • Fixed an issue that caused video frames to stop rendering on long streaming videos (> 1 hour) on some Motorola devices.
  • Fixed an issue where touch events were getting delayed with Kongregate.com games.
  • Fixed an issue where games on Kongregate.com freeze when users exit from Full-Screen mode.

You can update the Adobe Flash Player 10.3 from the Android Market in your smartphone or you can just head over to this page.

Flash Player 10.2 For Android Coming Next Week!

Motorola started rolling out a software update for the Xoom just hours ago. Many Xoom owners hoped that this update would bring Flash 10.2 to the tablet.

However, according to Motorola this update will prepare the Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet for Flash 10.2. Now, Adobe has finally broken its silence and announced that Flash 10.2 is coming to Android based tablets and handsets next week!

Flash_Player

Flash 10.2 will be available for all the Android handsets running 2.2 (FroYo) or Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), which meet the minimum system requirements. For the Honeycomb version, Flash 10.2 will be released with a beta’ tag, and will be available only if users have installed the v3.0.1 OTA update.

Flash 10.2 will bring with a number of performance enhancements including enhanced performance and support for Nvidia Tegra 2 based handsets and tablets. Flash 10.2 will also bring these changes :

  • Improved scrolling of web pages;
  • Uncompromised viewing of rich, immersive content in the way intended by the page designer, including support for instances where HTML and other web content is composited over Flash Player rendered content.   Flash Player rendered content will continue to be placed in a separate window on top of HTML in the Android 2.2 and 2.3 browsers, as these browsers do not support the new Android 3.0 browser rendering model.

Flash 10.2 will also be able to hardware accelerate H.264 videos for Android 3.0.1+ based tablets and improved scrolling of web pages as Flash content will be rendered as a part of the web browser, itself.

Adobe will release Flash Player 10.2 for both mobiles and tablets, next week on March 18th.

Motorola XOOM Gets A Software Update

It has hardly been a month since Motorola released the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet to the consumers in the United States, the Xoom.

Today, Motorola has started rolling out a new software update for the Xoom, which includes ‘numerous enhancements’ and will prepare the tablet for the future Flash 10.2 update as well. The update also improves the daylight savings time feature on the device.

Keep in mind, that this update will prepare the Xoom for Flash 10.2, and not actually install it!

Motorola_XOOM

Xoom owners, who have rooted their tablet, must restore it back to its original state so as to receive the OTA update. The OTA update can be downloaded either via 3G or via Wi-Fi. The update will be gradually rolled out in phases to all Xoom owners beginning from today.

Xoom owners who have rooted the device, can flash it back to stock by following these steps.

Hopefully, Adobe will release the Flash 10.2 update for the tablet soon now. When released, Xoom owners can download Adobe Flash 10.2 from the Android Market.

Adobe Flash Sandbox Cracked, Takes It Back To Square One

On Tuesday, a security researcher Billy Rios demonstrated a proof-of-concept attack depicting the vulnerability in Adobe flash sandbox. The sandboxing system used by Adobe flash has a simple hack that allows it to communicate to a remote host.

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Adobe had done a good job in sandboxing technologies like Flash and Reader as they were the most vulnerable contents on the Internet. However, now it seems that this sandboxing can be broken without writing a single line of code. Ross has proved this by simply changing Windows settings, which was enough for cracking the sandbox on Adobe Flash. However, the Google Chromes sandbox for Adobe Flash is safe from this attack.

This has been reported at Information Week as:

In particular, Rios tapped the mhtml protocol handler that’s built into Windows 7 and which will launch with no warning to the user. With mhtml, “it’s easy to bypass the Flash sandbox,” he said, and transmits data to a remote server without a user ever knowing that the exploit occurred.

Anup Ghosh, the founder and chief scientist of Invincea, a company that deals with sandboxing technologies had this to say:

This is a flaw in design, it’s not a flaw in implementation or coding.

From what is being reported everywhere, this hack can be prevented by blocking the mhtml protocol. Adobe is yet to comment on this vulnerability.

(Image via: Webmonkey)