Flash video comes to (some) Kindle Fire tablets as Amazon tests streaming viewer

AllThingsD reports that Amazon has been quietly testing a way to offer Flash video on Kindle Fire tablets.

Since February, some Kindle Fire owners have been seeing an option to use an “experimental streaming viewer” when trying to watch video on sites such as NBC.com, CBS.com and Fox.com.

The effort is made possible by the fact that the Kindle Fire browser, known as Silk, divides work between the device and Amazon servers in the cloud.

Adobe stopped supporting Flash on mobile devices back in 2011, with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)  the last version to offer Flash. While most sites have now switched to HTML5 for mobile video, there are still some that require Flash, causing frustration for those accessing the sites on smartphones and tablets.

Although getting a server to convert Flash video to a format that can be viewed by a device without Flash is an approach used by a number of browsers, it has so far mostly been the preserve of geeks. If Amazon opens the service to all Kindle users – as seems likely from the company’s comments – it will turn it into a mainstream option.

“Because this feature is built on the AWS cloud, expanding our list of available sites is as simple as a configuration change that immediately propagates to customer devices and we can scale out elastically based upon customer demand,” said Kufeld, who heads Amazon’s Silk browser team. “It’s still early days but we’re very excited about this feature.”