One of the major bragging rights for Android users is that their operating system allows for the use of Flash. Adobe eventually came around to Apple’s way of thinking though and said that Flash on mobile platforms was kind of useless. They revealed their plans to drop Flash support for Android in the future a few months back, but we’re now just getting the details.
In short, access to the Flash Player for Android on Google Play will be shut off on August 15. It’s a little more complicated than that as legacy devices running Android 2.3 through 4.0 will be able to get updates to the player. You may notice that I didn’t mention Google’s new OS, Jelly Bean or Android 4.1. There’s a reason for that as Adobe will not test Flash for 4.1. Here’s what Adobe has to say about it:
Devices that don’t have the Flash Player provided by the manufacturer typically are uncertified, meaning the manufacturer has not completed the certification testing requirements. In many cases users of uncertified devices have been able to download the Flash Player from the Google Play Store, and in most cases it worked. 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. There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1.
So starting August 15, Google Play access to the Flash app will be limited to those who already have it installed on their phone. Adobe will still provide critical security updates for those devices, but they won’t actively develop any new versions of Flash for mobile devices. If you want Flash on your device and don’t have a phone that came pre-installed with it, you’re out of luck come August 15.
To clarify, Adobe does say that Flash may work on Android 4.1, but they can’t guarantee anything. They recommend that people who upgrade to Jelly Bean uninstall Flash on their device. With Jelly Bean pushing HTML5 more than ever before, users shouldn’t have any problems. As for apps that ran on the Flash runtime, they have probably switched over to Adobe AIR by now.
Speaking of developers, there may be some who just can’t let go of Flash. They can continue building apps for mobile with Flash for Android versions 4.0 and below. Developers can grab archived versions of the Flash Player for Android for the time being. It’s probably best if you just move on to Adobe AIR or HTML5 though.