updated 02:55 pm EDT, Tue September 30, 2008
Adobe iPhone Flash Enroute
Adobe today at the Flash on the Beach expo said the company is actively developing a port of its Flash animation plugin for the iPhone and iPod touch, potentially bringing the phone's web features up to par with certain rivals. Senior Director of Engineering Paul Betlem noted in a presentation at the event that the Flash group was developing a port but that Apple's mobile operating system is a "closed platform" and so is out of Adobe's control; it's at Apple's discretion if and when the port becomes available, Betlem says.
He adds, however, that a greenlight from Apple would result in a quick launch, although no interval has been given. It's also not known whether Flash would represent a true plugin for Safari or would require a separate software container to work correctly; to date, Apple has avoided running third-party code in its handhelds' built-in programs.
The company has had an off-and-on relationship to Apple regarding Flash on the iPhone. The company first claimed it could develop Flash using the official software development kit but later retracted the statement after noting the limitations set into the kit. Apple itself has expressed interest in Flash but has declined to use Flash Lite, calling it too great a compromise over the desktop version to be useful for the generally faster iPhone processor and graphics chip.
The absence of Flash has been regarded by some as a significantly limiting factor in winning converts from other platforms. Symbian Series 60 devices such as Nokia's N95 have long had support for Flash Lite and with recent updates have had the option of watching videos directly from YouTube without needing a dedicated client or a downscaled version of the videos.