Tag Archives | Adobe Flash

Adobe Helps Turn Flash Into HTML5

Flash vs. HTML5. HTML5 vs. Flash. Whatever your take on the respective merits of the two high-profile technologies for creating splashy Web content, you can’t deny that the rivalry between Adobe’s venerable Flash and the assortment of evolving open-source standards collectively known as HTML5 is intense.

But what if Flash could become HTML5?

Starting now–in certain limited instances–it can. First demoed at Adobe’s MAX conference last October, Wallaby is a free new app from Adobe using its AIR platform that sucks in Flash content created with the Flash Professional authoring software, then spits out an HTML5 version designed to work well in WebKit browsers.

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Mobile Flash: Always Exciting, Always Not Quite Here Yet

Motorola’s Xoom tablet–the first one to run Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb–goes on sale on Thursday.  It packs more features than any other tablet from a major company to date. But for the moment, one of them apparently won’t be support for Flash. As Engadget is reporting, Verizon’s Xoom site says that the gizmo is “fully Flash-enabled,” but then it says that Flash is “expected spring 2011.”

(Why the gap between Xoom’s debut and the debut of Flash on the Xoom? I don’t know the specifics, but I assume it’s because Motorola has yet to, well, fully enable it for Flash.)

I got a hint that Flash for Honeycomb was still a work in progress back on February 2nd, when I attended Google’s Honeycomb event and saw a demo of a third-party app that requires Flash–but which was presented on a Xoom that didn’t have Flash installed, rendering the demo meaningless.

Spring 2011 starts on March 20th, so it’s possible that the wait for Flash on the Xoom will be brief. But the fact that the tablet is shipping without Flash is entirely in keeping with the history of Flash on mobile devices to date. Hardware makers keep arguing that Flash is exciting and essential–and they raise the issue of its absence on Apple devices, either explicitly or by implication.

Here, for instance, is Motorola using Flash as a selling point back at CES in January:

Adobe hasn’t been shy about promoting Flash for mobile gadgets before it was ready, either: At the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, it showed off versions of Flash Player for BlackBerry, Web OS, and Windows Mobile that aren’t still yet available on any devices. And I’m not talking about the Mobile World Congress held last week–I’m referring to the 2010 edition of the show.

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Adobe to Bring a Better Flash to Mobile Gadgets

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona–which I’m not attending this year–Adobe has announced that it’s planning to bring Stage Video, the FlashPlayer 10.2 feature that permits fast video playback that doesn’t kill the battery–to mobile devices. It’ll be available on Android and for RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet; the Android version will require Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which means it’ll work on tablets such as the Xoom but not on any currently-available Android smartphones.


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Kongregate Arcade Saga Concludes With Crippled Android App

Hopefully this will be the last story I write about Kongregate Arcade, the Flash game compilation that Google removed from the Android Market last week.

The background: Kongregate Arcade is a portal for roughly 300 of the Kongregate website’s mobile-friendly Flash games. It has user reviews, recommendations, offline play and badges that carry over to the desktop version of the site. Almost immediately, Google yanked the app from the Android Market because it looked too much like a competing app store.

Now it’s back with a couple crippling changes.

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More on Google's Puzzling Decision to Oust Kongregate from the Android Market

Kongregate Arcade’s rejection from the Android Market just got more interesting now that Google has explained itself.

Earlier this week, Flash gaming portal Kongregate released an Android app that’s basically an extension of the full website. Kongregate Arcade provided recommendations and user reviews for more than 300 phone-friendly Flash games, along with badges for in-game achievements.

It also allowed users to cache Flash games for offline play. And that, apparently, is what upset Google enough to remove the app. (You can still get it from Kongregate’s website.) The Android Market does not allow developers to distribute their own app stores, and offline caching led Google to view Kongregate Arcade as a self-contained app storefront.

But in explaining its logic to GigaOM, Google has exposed both a double standard for video games and an instance where Apple, oddly enough, is more liberal.

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Kongregate Gives Android a Proper Flash Gaming Portal

[UPDATE: Google has pulled this app from the Android Market for “unknown reasons.” You can now get it directly from Kongregate’s website.]

The arrival of Adobe Flash games on Android phones last May was dampened by two factors: Most of the games weren’t that great, and there was no obvious way to filter the good stuff from the bad.

Kongregate, the Flash game portal owned by GameStop, hopes to change all that with Kongregate Arcade, an app for Android phones running version 2.2 and above. It’s kind of like OpenFeint’s awesome game discovery app for iPhone and Android, with recommendations, user ratings and screenshots, but instead of routing users back to the App Store or Android Market, it links to Flash games on Kongregate’s own mobile site.

Other perks include badges (with user profiles that sync between the desktop and mobile sites) and offline support for a select number of games.

Without the app, Kongregate’s mobile site is just a running list of games, with no descriptions or added features. It isn’t much different from competing sites, such as Armor Games, and certainly isn’t very inviting. The native app, by comparison, looks more like Kongregate’s full website, and it could be just what Kongregate needs to make Flash gaming more popular on Android phones.

I haven’t had a chance to try the new app yet (it’ll have to wait until my wife gets home with her Droid Incredible). I’d love to add some impressions when I get a chance. In the meantime, I hope Kongregate users start helping the good mobile Flash games rise to the top.


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Hate Flash? Try DivX HiQ

A recently released version of the DivX player comes with DivX HIQ, a plug-in that works with any browser. It’s a replacement for the Flash player that’s used to play videos on YouTube and at other sites–and boy, does it boost performance.

You’ll see the DivX HIQ option right below YouTube’s Start and pause button.

Among other things, DivX HIQ:

• Reduces dropouts indicated by that rotating circle you often see when Flash is downloading the streaming video. The stream is definitely smoother.

• Reduces CPU use, making it ideal for notebook and netbook users, because you’ll save battery life.

• Has a better looking maximized viewing window, plus a nifty, smaller pop-out window you can move to anywhere on your screen.

• Optionally saves YouTube videos automatically to your hard drive.

One thing not to try is DivX’s offer to permanently substitute itself for YouTube’s default player — at least until DivX HiQ is out of beta. For now, I’ve noticed that YouTube’s player sometimes starts first and runs for a few seconds before DivX HiQ kicks in.

 

Click on DivX HIQ for a smoother ride.

 

Watch the DivX HiQ product manager take you through an introduction and demo some features. [Thanks, Roger.]

[This post is excerpted from Steve’s TechBite newsletter. If you liked it, head here to sign up–it’s delivered on Wednesdays to your inbox, and it’s free.]


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Flash on Macs: Birthright? Curse? Something Else?

I’ve been using a new MacBook Air which Apple loaned me for review–thoughts coming soon–and it didn’t take me very long to discover that it didn’t have Adobe’s FlashPlayer preinstalled. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether there was anything noteworthy about that–I couldn’t remember whether any Mac I’d ever used came with Flash, or whether I’d just installed it myself. In this case I did the latter (although–odd coincidence–going to the Flash download page got me an error message at first, and I had to come back later).

But as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber writes, the lack of Flash is a new twist in the Apple-Adobe squabble. Apple says that it’s still cheerfully supporting Flash, and that downloading it from Adobe is the best way to get the safest, most current version. Others, of course, may draw more conspiratorial conclusions. (The timing is probably a coincidence, but it’s an interesting one: The news is hitting right before Adobe’s big, news-filled conference MAX kicks off.)

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Rise of the YouTube Video Games?

YouTube is a wonderful promotional tool for video games, among other things, but as a gaming platform itself? A couple creative examples show that it’s possible.

To promote both the Chrome Web browser and Adobe Flash, which is now integrated into the browser, Google put together Chrome Fastball. It’s a set of simple mind games using APIs from other websites, all strung together by video clips of a Rube Goldberg device. So, at one point you must answer a trivia question on Twitter (anonymously), and at another point choose the best way to travel between two points on a map. Each successful answer moves your ball along the contraption towards the finish line. It’s a cute little game that actually works just fine in other browsers, too.

The funny thing is, Chrome Fastball isn’t the only YouTube game I played today. To celebrate the premiere of Twilight: Eclipse, Benny and Rafi Fine created Twlight Eclipse: The 8-Bit Interactive Game. This series of YouTube videos is actually a choose-your-adventure with NES-style animations and audio. At the end of each clip, players must make decisions that send them on multiple branching paths. It’s a nice way to waste an afternoon even if you’re not into young adult vampire drama (I still can’t believe that’s a genre).

Obviously, YouTube can’t have full-blown games with controllable avatars, because it just wouldn’t be YouTube anymore at that point. But there’s potential to do some clever things with the interactivity YouTube does allow, as these games show.

One last note: Both games back up Google’s point that Flash is still relevant; neither one works on the iPhone’s HTML 5 version of YouTube.


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