updated 08:15 am EST, Mon November 17, 2008
Adobe Flash for ARM in 2K9
Adobe today said it would develop optimized versions of its AIR and Flash 10 apps for ARM11 and Cortex processors. The update will be part of the Open Screen Project initiative and is meant to bring both complex Internet apps as well as more advanced web video to more than desktop computers. The partnership specific to ARM includes a combination of chipmakers such as Broadcom, Freescale, NVIDIA, Samsung and Texas Instruments and should use both a newer, faster generation of ARM processors as well as OpenGL ES 2.0-capable graphics hardware to handle tasks that were previously impractical for lower-performance devices.
The technology is specifically being aimed at smartphones using technology such as Samsung's ARM processors or NVIDIA's Tegra lineup but is also described as applying to larger devices such as GPS units, mobile Internet devices (MIDs), netbooks, set-top boxes for TV and other hardware likely to be used for media playback.
Adobe plans to drive adoption by offering AIR and Flash royalty-free to developers and plans to make the software available in the second half of 2009.
The move is likely to have the greatest impact on smartphones, which until now have often been limited to Adobe's Flash Lite and thus only a subset of Flash; AIR as a whole has also been unavailable on these phones.
No mention is made of Apple, though the optimizations are specifically tailored to the processors and visual technology of the kind used in the iPhone. The touchscreen phone currently uses a Samsung ARM 1176 processor and relies on OpenGL ES 2.0 for accelerating its visual effects. Adobe has said it was developing Flash for iPhone but that it couldn't release the software under the current terms of the iPhone SDK, which forbid plugins and interpreters.
Company chief Steve Jobs has expressed a desire for Flash but has wanted a balance between the full demands of the desktop-level software and the low demands but significant restrictions of Flash Lite.