updated 06:50 am EST, Tue February 17, 2009
Flash on smartphones
Adobe's Flash Lite multimedia player for mobile phones, while still lacking iPhone compatibility, has been growing in popularity and will have reached 1 billion phones by the end of March this year, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics. Reaching their desired mark one year ahead of the company's previous target, Flash Lite is said by Strategy Analytics expert Steward to have risen due to recent support for HD video as well as Nokia's agreements to install Flash Lite on its phones. Another factor mentioned by Robinson is the absence of real competition for Adobe's Flash Lite player, though he still predicts another 1.5 billion smartphones carrying the software within two years.
Although Microsoft Corp is currently developing a Silverlight for Mobile Player for release on Nokia's Symbian S60 devices and its own Windows Mobile Phones, Stewart is still confident the plugin won't make a significant impact on Flash Lite's current increases. To help continue with its progress, Adobe will be demonstrating a Flash Player 10 for smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. Along with the Flash 10 beta, Adobe will also be releasing the beta of a new Flash Lite distributable player based on Flash Lite 3.1.
Even with the increase in phones using Flash Lite, Adobe is still thought distant from getting an equivalent application onto the iPhone. Robinson claims that Adobe is working diligently to get Flash onto the iPhone and is looking to have it ready to go much later this year.
Independent analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates claims that performance and business are the chief obstacles. In order to get high performance, Flash must run in the lower layers of the OS, which Apple restricts as part of its iPhone SDK guidelines. Business-wise, Gold states that Apple will want to push its own technology, such as QuickTime, rather than depend on a third party's development.
To help increase the popularity and use of Flash on mobile phones, Adobe and Nokia plan to give away $10 million to developers in the Open Screen Project with ideas for Flash services and applications that can run on smartphones as well as on TV set-top boxes and PCs. [via Computerworld]