Adobe kills off Flash for Android

Adobe will block Flash Player downloads from the Google Play store from mid-August, keeping the software off the Nexus 7 tablet.

Last year, Adobe said it would halt development of the mobile version of its Flash plugin, instead focusing on HTML5.

The software was infamously blocked from iOS devices by Apple, with Steve Jobs saying in a long-running war of words that Flash drained mobile batteries, was a security risk and wasn’t an open system.

Now, Adobe has announced the Flash Player won’t be supported by Android 4.1, the latest version of the Google mobile OS – and that means Google’s first own-brand tablet, the Nexus 7, won’t support the software.

Previously, Adobe “certified” manufacturer installations of Flash, but also allowed users of “uncertified” devices to download the media player from the Google app store – “and in most cases it worked,” Adobe said.

“However, with Android 4.1 this is no longer going to be the case, as we have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options,” Adobe said in a blog post. “There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1.”

From 15 August, Adobe will allow devices that already have Flash installed to continue to update it via the Google Play store, but won’t allow fresh installs. “Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after 15 August,” Adobe said.

Android users who wish to use Flash should install it before that date, but Adobe advised users planning to upgrade to Android 4.1 to delete Flash as it may cause cause “unpredictable behaviour” on the new OS. While Flash won’t be available in the store, it will still be possible to side-load the software.

The Nexus 7 will be the first device to ship with Chrome for Android as the default browser – which doesn’t have Flash built in, unlike the desktop version. “Chrome for Android will not be supporting Flash,” the company says on its FAQs about the browser.

Flash won’t be entirely extinct on mobile devices, however. Google is creating a version of the browser for the Windows 8 Metro UI interface that will include Flash built-in, while IE for Windows 8 will whitelist some Flash content.

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