Not just mobile: Adobe is abandoning Flash on TVs as well


Adobe announced Wednesday that it would be abandoning its work to enable rich applications on mobile devices through Flash, and would be focusing on HTML5 and Adobe AIR apps instead. But at the same time it was working on bringing Flash video and applications to mobile devices, it was also hoping to bridge the divide between web video and what could be watched on connected TVs. So what happens to those efforts?

While the market for TV apps is incredibly fragmented, it doesn’t appear that Adobe’s Flash will provide a solution. The company confirmed through a statement that like mobile, it will no longer focus on porting the Flash plugin into web browsers on CE devices, but believes developers should build native apps on those devices instead. An Adobe spokesperson writes:

“Adobe will continue to support existing licensees who are planning on supporting Flash Player for web browsing on digital home devices and are using the Flash Player Porting Kit to do so. However we believe the right approach to deliver content on televisions is through applications, not a web browsing experience, and we will continue to encourage the device and content publishing community down that path.”

Adobe’s efforts to bring Flash to connected TVs, Blu-ray players and other devices, like its mobile Flash plans, were part of its Open Screen Project, which aimed to create a consistent app runtime across multiple devices. The idea was that developers would be able to create a Flash application once and be able to distribute it across web browsers, mobile devices and TVs.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Adobe announced a number of partnerships with OEMs and system-on-chip vendors such as Broadcom, Intel, STMicroelectronics, NXP Semiconductors and Sigma Designs to embed the Flash player into their silicon. But the number of TVs and other CE devices that support the Flash player have been limited to those from Sony and Logitech running the Google TV operating system. And Google TV has hardly been a success.

Now, Adobe is taking a step back from those plans, but not abandoning the TV app segment altogether. Instead of pushing multi-screen, browser-based Flash applications, Adobe is hoping to convince developers to create native apps on mobile and TV devices using the Adobe AIR framework. Already some developers are taking advantage of that framework, with publishers like Cnet, Epix and YouTube building TV apps for Samsung TVs based on Adobe AIR.

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