Adobe’s Flash for iPhone Development Ends with CS5

Adobe is including cross-compiler tools with its Creative Suite 5 launch that let developers convert their Flash apps into native iPhone apps. That feature looks to be short lived, however, because the company doesn’t plan on continuing to support its iPhone app builder thanks to changes in Apple’s app developer licensing agreement.

“We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5, however, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature,” commented Adobe product manager Mike Chambers.

For now, it looks like Adobe will start shifting its focus away from the iPhone in favor of Google’s Android platform.

“Fortunately, the iPhone isn’t the only game in town,” Mr. Chambers said. “Android based phones have been doing well behind the success of the Motorola Droid and Nexus One, and there are a number of Android based tablets slated to be released this year. We are working closely with Google to bring both Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0 to these devices, and thus far, the results have been very promising.”

From Mr. Chambers’s perspective, Apple is forcing developers into a closed and proprietary system when they develop for the iPhone — a claim that’s been made about Flash as well.

This isn’t the first time Adobe has developed Flash-related development tools only to abandon them after failing to successfully move into a market. The company’s Flash development application LiveMotion ended with a similar fate thanks to hobbled features compared to Macromedia’s own Flash development tools. At the time, Macromedia owned Flash and Adobe was hoping to compete with its own Flash and animation development tools.

Adobe’s change in plans stems from a change in Apple’s developer tools agreement that prohibits the use of cross-compilers to create iPhone native applications. While most of the media’s focus has been on Flash, other cross-compiler tools such as Unity and MonoTouch.

“While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5,” Mr. Chambers said. He added that developers with Flash cross-compiled titles on Apple’s App Store should expect to see their products pulled at some point in the future.

“We are at the beginning of a significant change in the industry,” he said, “and I believe that ultimately open platforms will win out over the type of closed, locked down platform that Apple is trying to create.”