If you are one of those ‘early adapters’ of technology, you may have previewed latest Android update, JellyBean (aka Android 4.1). (Early adapter doesn’t have as much meaning these days like it used to have BTW - almost everyone that I know is eager to try new technologies - it is just a matter of time and money!). Once up, you’ll notice that Chrome has become default Android browser. The Webkit browser that used to be there until Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4) is gone. Now try typing ‘about:plugins’ in Chrome - you’ll get a message that the ‘web page is not found’. (For those who don’t know what ‘about:plugins’ does, it brings up list of all plugins installed on your system via a local web page and you can enable or disable plugins from there).

Clearly, the plugin architecture is disabled or user is prohibited from accessing it or is being migrated to something else(Pepper?). (I am sure some reader can access Jelly Bean code and confirm this).

Now, we know that Google has migrated to Pepper plugin architecture on Linux Chrome and that has changed Flash plugin distribution model. Instead of Adobe distributing Flash, Google is now integrating Flash plug-in with Chrome and distributing along with browser.  It was not clear how that would translate into mobile world, but it is clear now that either the plugin architecture is either disabled or not available on JellyBean. Therefore, even if Flash plugin was available in the marketplace, users would not have been able to use it.

I did look on the marketplace for Flash and could not find plug-in. This was expected as Adobe has already announced that they’ll remove Flash from market place. AIR is well and alive - and this is consistent with Adobe’s messaging that they want users to consider using AIR rather than Flash. Now whether (or when) HTML5 will fill that gap is anyone’s guess.

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