Skip to main content

Ice Cream Sandwich lacks Flash support, will have it eventually

Ice Cream Sandwich lacks Flash support, will have it eventually


Google's Ice Cream Sandwich operating system comes without Flash support. The Flash Player needs to be updated for Ice Cream Sandwich, which Google expects Adobe to do even though the latter company recently halted feature updates for Flash on mobile devices.

Share this story

We're not sure you'd necessarily consider this a bad thing, but Google's new world-beating Android phone, the Galaxy Nexus, comes without a preinstalled Flash Player and offers no option to download or install it from the Market. This is because, says Google, Adobe needs to update the software for Ice Cream Sandwich, which has yet to happen.

That puts us in rather a tricky situation since Adobe recently halted development of Flash for mobile platforms, although SlashGear — who first spotted the issue — has a statement from Google saying that "as far as we know, Adobe will support Flash for ICS." So Ice Cream Sandwich will likely still get the rich media capabilities that Flash provides, though we imagine it'll be the last new platform added to its list of supported operating systems. At least for the moment, though, it's a Flash-free world on the Galaxy Nexus and any other Android phone you may have managed to flash with an ICS ROM.

We didn't actually spot this issue during our review of the Galaxy Nexus, because we typically turn off browser plugins while conducting our tests, which usually disables Flash as well. The fact we enjoyed using the phone as much as we did without Flash Player probably tells you all you need to know about the sagacity of Adobe's recent decision.

Update:  Pocket-lint has obtained a statement from Adobe, which confirms the above and goes into a bit more depth. Adobe will make a version of Flash for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) by the end of the year, and also do one more release of the Linux Porting Kit, but that's it. The company will continue to do bug fixes and security updates, but there won't be any new versions of Flash for the platform. Also, Adobe's focus on the desktop is shifting more to high-end games and content protection as HTML5 takes over basic video playback duties in the near term.