Adobe has confirmed to Pocket-lint that it plans to release Flash for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich by the end of 2011, but it will be the last update going forward. That means that there will be a Flash-free future for Android beyond ICS.
"Adobe will release one more version of the Flash Player for mobile browsing, which will provide support for Android 4.0, and one more release of the Flash Linux Porting Kit - both expected to be released before the end of this year," a company spokesperson told us.
That's going to be good news for Samsung Galaxy Nexus owners who currently don't have Flash installed on their new phone. It will allow them to also enjoy the "full web experience" as promoted and promised by Google for it's Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) users.
Adobe's statements however, also mean that future updates to the Google Android OS - Android 5.0, for example - won't be getting Flash support:
"After that time, Adobe will continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates," the company added.
Google Android 5.0, expected to be called Jelly Bean, has yet to surface, although, given the fast release schedule of the platform in the past (Android 3.0 was released in February 2011), it could appear even as soon as Google's I/O conference held in April 2012. At the latest, we'd expect it to hit December 2012, which is the month the company has released new flagship phones in the past (Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S being the last two).
Adobe also told Pocket-lint that, as previously announced, going forward it will be shifting focus elsewhere. It said in a statement we received:
"Adobe is focusing future innovation with Flash on advanced entertainment use cases, like console-quality gaming and premium video, with a focus on delivering these experiences through browsers on PCs and as apps through app stores on mobile devices and TVs. We are continuing to develop new versions of Flash for PC browsers and mobile and TV app developers. We are also continuing to develop new versions of Flash Professional and Flash Builder tools for developing Flash content."
In terms of Adobe AIR:
"We are continuing to develop Adobe AIR for both the desktop and mobile devices. Indeed, we have seen wide adoption of Adobe AIR for creating mobile applications and there have been a number of blockbuster mobile applications created using Adobe AIR."
Flash Player for desktop browsers was also discussed:
"Flash continues to play a vital role of enabling features and functionality on the web that are not otherwise possible. As such, we have a long-term commitment to the Flash Player on desktops, and are actively working on the next Flash Player - version 12."
And finally, on the future of Flash Player:
"Of course, with the growth and continued improved browser support of HTML5, the role of Flash will change. For the foreseeable future, Flash offers advantages in delivering premium video with content protection, as well as providing a high performance, feature-rich and graphically advanced gaming platform. We are focusing our Flash Player efforts around these areas."
What do you think? Will the lack of Flash affect things going forward? Or will online developers ditch the format? Let us know in the comments below...
...and why not check out our Ice Cream Sandwich review?