SOTW - On Android, Flash is 55%, HTML5 100%

By now you've heard that Adobe will discontinue the development of the Flash Player on the Android platform, stating in part that "HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms."

Boy, they weren't kidding. I was interested to learned Flash's penetration on the Android platform, so I surfed over to www.riastats.com, and selected Android in the OS list box on top. As you can see in the figure, Android wasn't installed on 55% of Android devices, while HTML5 support for Canvas and Video is available on 100% of Android devices (click the figure to view it at full resolution in a separate browser window.

html5 vs flash on android1.png

Fifty-five percent isn't too bad given that Flash isn't compatible with many older versions of Android, but still, Adobe was fighting an uphill battle. When you consider the fragmented state of the Android market that complicated effective device-specific support, and the inability to crack the iOS and Windows 8 Tablet markets, Adobe's decision to focus on greener pastures makes a lot of sense.

As mentioned in the Adobe blog post on this decision, one of those pastures is App development for these various platforms, which shifts the burden of ensuring compatibility and performance to the application developer. Other areas of focus for Adobe with Flash will be advanced gaming and premium video.


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