Tag Archives | Adobe Flash

Adobe Cozies Up With Kongregate For Android Flash Gaming

Even if the Android Market never blossoms into a gaming powerhouse, online Flash gaming portals such as Kongregate may fill Android’s void.

I’m not at Google’s I/O conference, but the folks at Kongregate tell me their site will be one of the headliners when Adobe shows off Flash on Android 2.2. Kongregate has already set up a mobile Web site with Android in mind, containing over 100 games optimized for the touch screen. That’s nothing compared to the 28,000 games hosted on Kongregate’s full Web site, but it’s a start.

Kongregate co-founder Jim Greer said eight developers optimized 30 of their own games for the mobile site by reformatting text and icons for the small screen and in some cases adding touch-based substitutes for keyboard input. The remaining 70 games are basic ports of their PC counterparts. None of the games were designed specifically with the smartphone in mind, but that will probably change if Flash 10.1 for Android launches smoothly.

Kongregate’s mobile site is also missing some of the main site’s extra features, such as achievements, community chat and the ability to donate money to developers. There’s no advertising, either. Greer said he’s not worrying about revenue yet, though I’m sure developers who make money on Kongregate will want answers soon.

As for offline play, Greer said he’s looking into possibilities for native apps, but he’s waiting to see what Google does for the Android platform. This led me to ask him the extent of Google’s involvement with Kongregate. As I’ve said before, a strong social glue across all games is one way to boost Android’s status as a gaming platform. Greer clammed up when I pressed further, stuttering for a moment and falling back on “no comment.” It’s my opinion that Google is planning some sort of Android gaming network, but I couldn’t pry anything solid out of Greer.

For now, the important thing is that when Android 2.2 goes over the air, users will immediately have more than 100 free games to play. Steve Jobs is free to deflect the argument by talking about how many games are in the iPhone’s App Store, but it’s just not the same.


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"Think Different, As Long As You're Apple"

John Nack is Adobe’s most eloquent, interesting blogger. Here’s his latest on the Flash-iPhone-iPad mess.


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Flash: What Happened?

The first time I saw Flash, I was a freelancer writer getting a demo from its creators on my dining room table. I was immediately impressed. But it wasn’t yet a Web animation/video/interactivity plug-in from Adobe. The year was 1994, and the software that knocked my socks off was a Windows drawing app called FutureSplash SmartSketch. The Web, animation, video, interactivity, and ownership by large companies (Macromedia, and then Adobe) all came later.

SmartSketch was cool because it was simple, fast, and hassle-free–and as much as as the software changed once it morphed into a Web tool, it maintained those virtues for a long time. Back in the dial-up era, it was a joy; years later, it was the first technology that made Web video make sense.

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Adobe Strikes Back, Sort of

Two weeks ago, Steve Jobs published a withering memo explaining why Apple has prevented Adobe’s Flash technology from arriving on the iPhone in any form. Today, Adobe is responding in a big way. The company has launched an ad campaign in print and on the Web with an accompanying Web portal addressing Jobs’ points about Flash’s openness, security, performance, and compatibility.

Adobe’s response doesn’t match the blunt specificity of Jobs’ piece. The ads say that Adobe loves Apple (sadly, it seems to be unrequited–but it’s an improvement over “Go screw yourself, Apple“).  And for the most part, its defense of Flash doesn’t address Apple’s stance head on. Except at the end of an open letter from Adobe cofounders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke:

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Three Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Demos

On Friday, Adobe evangelist Ryan Stewart demoed FlashPlayer 10.1 for Android at a Seattle conference. It crashed repeatedly and couldn’t deal with one site (Hulu) that an audience member asked to see. Given Flash’s already-shaky reputation at the moment, it wasn’t surprising that this led to some withering comments.

Stewart has published a sheepish blog post saying he was using an interim build of the software that wasn’t up to the stress test of a public demo. The post includes an embedded video of Stewart demoing several Flash sites on a Nexus One phone. And it…works. Quite well.

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Scribd: Goodbye Flash, Hello HTML5 (and Google Docs)

Jared Friedman, cofounder and CTO of Scribd–the site that lets anyone upload almost any document and publish it to the Web–was among the last keynote speakers at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco today. And he had big news (teased yesterday on TechCrunch): Scribd is dumping Flash and converting the millions of documents it hosts to HTML5.

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Steve Jobs's Cogent Flash Takedown Needs a Response From Adobe

Why won’t Apple allow Flash on the iPhone and iPad? If you want to read all the reasons all in one place, check out this post. It’s by a guy who knows what he’s talking about: Steve Jobs.

The reasons, as he states them:

  • Flash is closed, and Web technologies should be open
  • Most of the video people really want to watch is available in iPhone/iPad-compatible HTML5 anyhow
  • With 50,000 games for the iPhone and iPad, who cares if they won’t play Flash games?
  • Flash is too unreliable and insecure
  • Flash for mobile devices has been delayed too often
  • Flash kills battery life
  • Flash was never designed for touch interfaces
  • Flash is an additional layer that lets developers create cross-platform apps, but at the expense of building apps that truly leverage the platforms they run on

It’s easy to poke holes in certain parts of Jobs’ arguments–for instance, he says that “iPhone, iPod and iPod users aren’t missing much video,” which will be news to anyone who’s traveled around the Web on an Apple mobile device and found more giant empty blocks than video players. And lots of people–me included–would rather have the opportunity to choose for themselves whether to use Flash and Flash content on their mobile gadgets. (It’s possible to opt for a Flash-free PC or Mac; hardly anyone does.)

Overall, though, Jobs’s piece is pretty cogent. I came away from it feeling that Apple’s stance on Flash is controlling–but not nefarious. It’s the latest in a long list of instances of Apple getting to the future a little ahead of everyone else, in ways that are problematic at first but work out okay in the long run.

I hope that Adobe responds. The company has some good bloggers, including Mike Chambers and John Nack. Unfortunately, though, the most prominent Adobe employee who blogs about Flash is an evangelist named Lee Brimelow who seems to specialize in being kinda childish. His blog is called The Flash Blog, and has included a rant that ended “Go screw yourself, Apple” and  another post which seems to criticize the iPad for not supporting Flash-based porn. I get why an Adobe staffer–especially one charged with being passionate about Flash–might be irate about all this. But Brimelow isn’t the guy to take on Steve Jobs directly.

Brimelow says that The Flash Blog isn’t the official Adobe Flash blog. Given his position with the company and the blog’s title–and the fact there isn’t an official Flash blog as far as I can tell–I understand why people might be confused.

There’s a case to be made for Flash on Apple platforms, and Adobe ought to make it–calmly, coherently, and soon. Even if it’s a lost cause. Which it is…


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Google Working With Adobe on Android Flash and AIR

The saga of Flash on the iPhone may be ending–at least for now–but Google is announcing that it’s collaborating with Adobe on the Android versions of Flash and AIR. It’s not clear what that means, exactly (details are to come at next month’s Google developer conference). But if there’s one prominent phone OS with no Adobe stuff, and one with the best possible Adobe stuff, consumers will get to decide just how big a selling point Flash and AIR are. And that’s good news.


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Adobe Abandoning iPhone Flash App Plans

The white flag is being raised by Adobe in its latest battle with Apple, which could spell the end of the companies attempts to bring Flash to the iPhone overall. The company said that it will no longer persue the ability to allow developers to create Flash apps intended for the iPhone/iPad, pointing to Apple’s chokehold over development for the platform.

“As developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at anytime, and for seemingly any reason,” Flash product manager Mike Chambers wrote on his blog Tuesday.

Chambers continued by all but saying Adobe’s efforts had caught Apple in a lie, proving that Flash could work on the iPhone. He also said the company would now focus its efforts on competing operating systems like Android.

Working with Google could also get Apple’s goat considering the two companies’ relationship has soured considerably over the past year. Android is an open platform, and Google has not done much (if anything) to exert control over who is developing for it.

“We are at the beginning of a significant change in the industry, and I believe that ultimately open platforms will win out over the type of closed, locked down platform that Apple is trying to create,” he wrote.

I’d now venture to guess that we’ve come to the end of the line when it comes to Flash on the iPhone period. It may not matter much now however, considering the dramatic uptick in use of HTML 5. That said, many major websites still do not support HTML 5 fully, so iPhone and iPad users will contine to have a broken experience when it comes to the Web.

Who does that benefit — Apple’s own interests, or the interests of its growing customer base? Neither, I’d say.


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Google Chrome to Integrate Flash

What if Flash felt less like a browser plugin and more like a browser feature? Google and Adobe intend to try and answer that question. They’ve announced that future versions of the Chrome browser will come with an integrated version of Flash. Download Chrome, and you’ll get a preinstalled, ready-to-go copy of Flash; update Chrome, and you’ll get any available Flash updates.

I know that some folks reading this post will have an instinctive negative reaction to this idea–there are definitely those who dislike Flash enough that they want nothing to do with it. But ardent Flash avoiders are a tiny minority, judging from the fact that the vast majority of the world’s PCs and Macs have Flash installed. (They’ll be able to disable the preinstalled Flash if they want.)

Conceptually, I like the idea–but only if it makes Flash more or less transparent. Over the years, I’ve wasted a fair amount of time reinstalling and updating Flash, dealing with odd errors (like demands for more storage), and recovering from Flash crashes. If the integrated version results in a Flash that’s just there, it’ll be a good thing. And it would help make Flash more palatable in a world in which it’ll compete with open, browser-native HTML5 technologies–which is presumably part of the idea.

In related news, both Adobe and Google are working with Mozilla and other players in the browser community to build a new API for plugins–one which will allow for better integration than existing techniques. Again, good idea if it helps us forget we’re running plugins at all…


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