More phone software news from Mobile World Congress: Adobe announced AIR for Android and FlashPlayer 10.1, fleshing out its “everywhere but iPhone” strategy.
Tag Archives | Adobe Flash
Did irritation with Adobe Flash reach some sort of tipping point over the past few days? Probably not. But the heated debate about the near-pervasive plug-in for video, animation, and interactivity has made for fascinating reading.
When Steve Jobs sat on stage using an iPad that clearly didn’t support Flash, the discussion of Flash and iPhone OS instantly shifted from “Will Apple ever allow Flash on iPhone OS?” to “What does it mean for Flash that Apple will never allow it on iPhone OS?” to, in some cases, “What does it mean for the Web that Flash is on its way out?”
Over the weekend, dogpile on the rabbit syndrome set in. Adobe employees blogged in defense of Flash, but if the software got a stirring defense from anyone else, I didn’t come across it. Even the thoughts from Flash supporters tended to be bleak.
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The iPhone may be the only major smartphone in the known universe that’s unlikely to get Adobe’s Flash Player anytime soon, but there is a bit of iPhone/Flash news today. At Adobe’s MAX conference in Los Angeles, the company announced that Flash Professional CS5, the next upgrade to the Flash developer package, will be able to create native iPhone applications for distribution through the App Store.
This has nothing to do with Flash Player, and won’t let iPhone users view Flash content on the Web–it’s just a way for developers who are comfortable with Flash to build iPhone apps. It’ll presumably be useful when a company’s putting together an app in Flash for multiple devices, and wants to get it onto the iPhone without starting from scratch.
It sounds like a smart way for Adobe to jam its foot into the iPhone door even if Flash Player for the iPhone remains an iffy proposition–but if these tools are worth using, iPhone users should see no signs whatsoever that there’s anything unusual about the apps that developers build with them.
Adobe’s MAX developer conference is underway in Los Angeles, and the big news is Flash (almost) everywhere–and especially on phones. The company is announcing Flash Player 10.1, due in beta form on Windows Mobile, Palm’s Web OS, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux later this year, and on Android and Symbian in 2010; in addition, Adobe and RIM are announcing that they’re working together to bring Flash to BlackBerries and that Google is joining Adobe’s Flash-everywhere Open Screen project.
On a conceptual, forward-looking level, this is good news: The more options that developers have for building cool stuff, the better, and it’s best when the cool stuff they build works on as many devices as possible. The notion is that Flash will let them design functionality that’ll work on multiple computer and phone platforms without having to be reworked from the ground up–which will be an interesting challenge given how very different smartphones tend to be from each other in terms of factors such as screen resolution, graphics oomph, and connectivity.
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The Boy Genius Report says that it is “pretty much confirmed” that Research In Motion will integrate full Flash and Silverlight run time support into its BlackBerry Web browser. If true, that would be a significant step in the transformation of smart phones into functional mini computers.
Flash and Silverlight are not just about games and streaming videos; the run times power Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Adobe is promoting Flash to be used as a front end for business applications, and Microsoft is positioning Silverlight for business apps.
At SD Times, I have covered component makers that are releasing Silverlight controls (data grids, charts, UI controls) for line of business applications. After all, Silverlight is a subset of the .NET Framework, which is used for business applications.
With HTML 5, Web applications will become even more common, because it will have a built-in application container. Other techniques such as AJAX will also enable Web applications to run within a phone’s browser. (Nokia is betting that standard AJAX Web applications will become popular across its entire portfolio of S60 devices.)
Supporting Flash and Silverlight, assuming it happens, will bring a greater variety of applications to BlackBerry devices. Developers will be able to run their applications on Blackberries using the skills that they have today –without having to learn any specialized RIM technologies. That’s the way it should be; skills should be portable.
By embracing Flash and Silverlight, RIM would break out of the walled garden that smartphones have existed in, making itself more attractive and accessible to application makers. Consumers will win by being able to do more with their devices.
Microsoft is rolling out version 3 of Silverlight, its competitor to Adobe’s Flash, and the Expression tools used to create Silverlight content in San Francisco today. The new version of Silverlight can smoothly stream live HD video, supports hardware graphics acceleration, does 2-and-a-half-D effects involving moving flat objects in 3D space, and can be used to build applications that run outside of a Web browser as well as inside it. Basically, it looks pretty cool.
Steve Ballmer doesn’t seem to be here, but another Microsoft exec invoked his Developers, Developers, Developers mantra at the keynote this morning. And every Microsoft employee I’ve chatted with has stressed the notion that Microsoft is about helping developers build applications. (They keep bringing up the fact that Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975 to sell their version of the BASIC programming language–call me paranoid, but I think they may have discussed the talking points they wanted to hammer home.)