Adobe swallowed a lot of pride in conceding defeat and abandoning development of Flash Player on mobile devices last year, but that doesn't mean the company is ready to completely give up on its still ubiquitous rich media web format. Today sees the first publication of a new roadmap document for the development of Adobe Flash runtimes, setting out where Adobe's priorities lie and how it intends to continue supporting Flash.
Future bug fixes and developments will be prioritized around two key areas: gaming and the deployment of so-called premium video. Relying on its nearly universal distribution, Adobe hopes to see Flash maintain its position as a leader in browser-based games (something that Google is actively challenging with its Chrome Native Client development kit) and will seek to support its developers with a formalized game dev program and a set of unspecified game services. On the video side of things, Adobe pledges closer collaboration with hardware partners and the delivery of its video streaming and content protection technology to more platforms in native formats.
As to the actual roadmap content, we're promised a release of Flash Player 11.2 in the first quarter of 2012, adding support for right and middle mouse button clicks, to be followed by Flash Player "Cyril" in Q2 2012 and Flash Player "Dolores" in the second half of the year. Cyril and Dolores will be updates intended to augment the gaming capabilities on offer, though work is already being planned for Flash Player "Next," which should come at some point next year.
Platform support will be narrowed down after Flash Player 11.2, which is when Adobe will stop hosting direct downloads for Linux versions of its Flash browser plug-in and will instead direct people to using Google's Chrome browser, which includes Flash playback capabilities by default. Windows 8 is also very much on Adobe's mind, but due to the multiple configurations in which that OS can run, we'll have to wait before we know where and when Flash will be supported. As to mobile, there's a reminder that Flash Player 11.1 is the last iteration of the software for mobile devices and the only further updates we'll see from Adobe will be to address critical bugs or security issues.