What’s that sound? It’s the death knell ringing for Flash on Android. Adobe announced yesterday that its Flash plug-in doesn’t support—and will never support—the new version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The company plans to restrict access to the Flash plug-in in the Google Play store, as well.
Adobe opens the announcement by saying Flash is more tightly interwoven with Android than other apps, and it therefore requires "extensive testing to ensure web content works as expected." That testing is conducted as part of a certification process, which Adobe requires hardware makers to undergo. The announcement continues…
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.
Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. 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 August 15th.
In short, starting on August 15, only folks running older versions of Android with Flash already installed will have access to the plug-in. Everyone else will have to do without it—even users who upgrade older devices to Jelly Bean.
The demise of the Flash plug-in for handhelds should come as no surprise. Last November, Adobe said it would stop development of Flash for Android and BlackBerry devices after releasing version 11.1 of the plug-in. (iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad have never supported in-browser Flash to begin with.) Adobe said Flash would live on in PCs and as part of mobile apps packaged with the company’s AIR runtime.