One of the promises made to consumers buying an Android device has historically been ‘the full web experience’, including Adobe Flash content. Earlier this year, Adobe announced plans to drop Flash support on mobile devices, and this has now been finalised with Adobe removing Flash from the Google Play Store. The decision to discontinue Flash for mobile devices was probably made in part because of Apple’s refusal to allow Flash to run on their iOS devices, and the subsequent announcement that the immersive mode of Internet Explorer 10 for Microsoft’s Windows 8/RT devices would only support a very limited Flash experience. It doesn’t help that Chrome for Android doesn’t support Flash either. The early dominance of iOS meant that the mobile web had to evolve without Flash content, and in its place, HTML5 grew in prevalence, making Flash support on mobile devices largely unnecessary.
Flash’s march of death began when Adobe would not permit installs from the Play Store for devices rocking Android 4.1. If you were upgrading your device from ICS, Flash would remain on your phone, and you could still sideload an older version of Flash if you were desperate. The removal of Flash from the Play Store will not remove it from your devices, so if you already have it installed on your device, you’ll be able to keep it, but be warned that it will no longer be supported by Adobe, and particularly if you sideloaded it onto a Jellybean device, it will likely be buggy. Also, Adobe no longer plan to issue security updates, so clinging too hard to the vestiges of the past may result in a bad time for you and your device.
I honestly can’t remember when I last used Flash on my phone, but it’s always nice to have the option. So long, ‘the Full Web Experience’, you will be missed.
— by James Finnigan. Thanks Jim.