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Ever since Apple omitted Flash from the iPhone back in 2007, the future of Flash has been on borrowed time. Since then, the online world has been slowly migrating to HTML5 By Default (HBD) for the delivery of web elements and media to offer a faster more acceptable user experience.

Google’s Android operating system was initially launched with embedded Flash for media delivery but issues with battery life and a poorl user experience forced Google to re-think their position. In August of 2012 Adobe pulled Flash from the Google Play Store and announced they were ceasing development of Flash for mobile platforms. At that time, Adobe also recommended that users uninstall Flash Player on devices running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

Fast-forward to July 2015 and both Mozilla (Firefox) and Google (who cited vulnerabilities) announced they will no longer support Flash or the Flash plug-ins used within their browsers. Just under a year after that announcement, Apple pushed an update to Safari turning off the default Flash plug-in for their MAC OSX browser also stating that they will be taking similar measures for Java, Silverlight and QuickTime thus opting to force HBD for media element delivery.

In recent months Google and Mozilla have announced that as of Q4 2016, their browsers will no longer tell websites that common legacy plug-ins like Flash are installed (in their browser) and will be forcing the user to enable it as needed. By forcing HBD these browsers will initiate media element delivery first thus providing improved overall performance, page loading and enhanced battery life.

So what does this mean for organizations that are delivering video and feature rich media experiences to their websites and online campuses? From a users perspective, when a particular browser loads a page that requires flash, depending on the state of the plugin in that browser, they may be prompted to enable the Flash Plugin for that particular media element (Video player or online gaming element) to load into the browser.

For organizations looking to deliver the best possible viewer experience, your video players and media elements must be modeled or configured to push an HTML5 version of the content first and, if possible, offer up a Flash version in the off chance that a browser still supports the traditional Flash experience through a pre-installed plug-in. This of course seems simple enough until you start to think about the amount of different browsers, versions and variants out in the wild, not to mention how those browsers interact with all the different operating systems also still in use globally.

In Summary, the majority of mobile device operating systems have already migrated off of Flash delivery with the exception of some legacy Android, Amazon (garden walled Android) and various other devices (Nook etc…). There will continue to be a certain amount of flux around media delivery to end users via web browser as Flash continues to be sun-setted in the public domain browsers.

Organizations looking to ensure 99.999% delivery and the fastest load times possible across all browsers and devices should fully investigate their OVP offerings to ensure they can deliver HLS/M3U8 via HTML5 and eventually MPEG-Dash and HEVC codecs.

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