updated 07:55 am EDT, Mon October 5, 2009
Adobe unveils Flash 10.1 without iPhone
Adobe at its MAX show launched Flash 10.1, a major update to its plugin that promises video on devices that normally haven't been capable. The release adds hardware graphics acceleration on computers and should make HD Flash video possible on netbooks and ultraportables and standard definition possible on smartphones. NVIDIA already promises that its GeForce, Ion and Tegra chipsets will speed up the Flash update when available.
The 10.1 revision should also be the first official, non-Lite version of Flash intended for smartphones. Besides using hardware acceleration through platforms like Tegra, the platform is the first explicitly aware of touchscreens and can support multi-touch gestures as well as accelerometers for motion and screen auto-rotation.
Notably, Adobe says it has the cooperation of "19 out of the top 20" smartphone makers and has added the BlackBerry's creator, Research in Motion, to the Open Screen Project meant to bring Flash and other standard web technologies to many devices. Android, Symbian, webOS and Windows Mobile are also slated to get the software, Adobe said.
Demos have already been shown of Flash running in the Palm Pre's web browser with as many as three separate windows, while Toshiba's Windows Mobile-based TG01 can also run advanced Flash thanks in part to its 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
Public betas of Linux, Mac and Windows clients on desktop operating systems, as well as webOS and Windows Mobile devices, are due before the end of the year. Android and Symbian betas are due in early 2010, while the formal release of Flash 10.1 is due in the first half of 2010.
The lone exception among phone developers is likely to involve Apple, whose iPhone SDK policies prevent Adobe from installing a Flash plugin of its own or writing a stand-alone app with a code interpreter. Apple chief Steve Jobs has been receptive to the possibility of an official update to Safari with Flash inside but has said he would wait until there was an in-between product that would render a site properly, like desktop Flash, but have the battery-saving measures and lower performance overhead closer to Flash Lite. Flash 10.1 is the first release that might qualify, but neither Adobe nor Apple has discussed whether it will be an option on the iPhone platform.