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Perspectives on building technology businesses and AcceleratorIndia from Cartezia

Adobe announces Flash for Mobile

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Adobe is one of the companies battling for control of the mobile web agenda, but it has been hampered by the exclusion of its Flash technology from the iPhone and the Android-based G1.

It is now trying to make it simpler for handset makers to incorporate fully blown Flash on to their devices, to deliver a unified experience across PCs and mobile products. It has also started working more closely with ARM, the dominant processor maker in handsets.

Adobe hopes its new developments will quieten the claims of hostile parties, like Apple, that Flash Lite, which is installed on the bulk of the world’s smartphones, is not sufficiently fully featured for high end mobile web applications; and that full Flash is too difficult to integrate and too resource hungry.

Adobe is preparing a version of Flash Player 10 for higher end mobile platforms, and recently demonstrated the product on Symbian, Android and Windows Mobile products. The team is also working on an iPhone version, though of course this will need to be approved by Apple, which has its own political reasons for limiting Adobe’s power.

Adobe has also released version 1.5 of its AIR 1 cross-runtime platform, a release that inherits Flash Player 10 abilities such as better text rendering, support for right-to-left text scripts such as Arabic, multichannel audio, and 3D effects. This will also come in a mobile version and has now been demonstrated running on an Aigo Linux-based MID.

ARM and Adobe are to collaborate to optimize both Flash Player 10 and AIR 1.5, which Adobe aims to establish as a de facto standard by opening APIs through its Open Screen Project, for mobile devices. In particular, the partners will work on API support for graphics chips and hardware accelerators, and lower power consumption. ARM partners like Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia are also expected to participate.