Updated on October 5 at 2:00 p.m. PDT: adding information about support for iPhone
Adobe Systems has garnered the support of mobile heavy hitters such as Google, Motorola, Nvidia, Palm, RIM, and Qualcomm for its new Flash Player 10.1 software for smartphones, Netbooks, and other mobile devices. The company plans to announce the support Monday at its developer conference in Los Angeles.
Adobe's goal is to get Flash Player 10.1 accelerated directly on the chips in smartphones, Netbooks, and small laptops based on the ARM chip architecture, called smartbooks. To date, Flash video acceleration has not been available widely on mobile devices.
"It's critical to support in hardware because (Flash) video is really computationally intensive," Tom Barclay, Adobe senior product marketing manager for Flash Player, said in an interview. "Putting that on the hardware provides the ability to play it back fluidly...so you're not going to drain the battery on these devices."
Though Flash-based video is available on virtually all PCs, "the vast majority of mobile devices have been fundamentally closed," according to Barclay. "This means there is a single (device maker) or carrier or handset manufacturer that can stop technology from getting onto those devices. And that's one of the reasons why the Web as been so slow to be directly accessible from those devices."
Toward the end of getting Flash to run directly on small mobile devices, Adobe created the Open Screen Project. "The Open Screen project is about making more of those devices open. In particular, providing flash player for free in an open manner with the requirement that (device suppliers) make it open for developers," Barclay said.
Adobe also announced on Monday that Google has joined the Open Screen Project initiative. Handset manufacturers such as Motorola will ship Google Android based devices with Flash Player support "early next year," according to a Motorola statement. Companies such as Nvidia, Broadcom, Nokia, RIM, and ARM chip suppliers such as Qualcomm, are all participants in the Open Screen Project.
Conspicuous by its absence was Apple. "Flash is not available on the iPhone at this point," said Adrian Ludwig, group manager, flash platforms at Adobe. "So far, we haven't received the support that we need from Apple." (Note: Adobe announced Monday that programmers will be able to create native iPhone applications using Adobe's Flash Professional CS5 developer tool, currently in beta testing, then offer their programs as an Apple App Store download.)
Apple aside, this is all part of an aggressive push by Adobe to get acceleration on mobile devices. More than 75 percent of video on the Web is delivered through the Flash Player, according to Ludwig. "Having the Flash player on your device means you're able to access all the content out there on the Web," Ludwig said, referring to referring to such sites as YouTube, the video inside MySpace, and Facebook, as well as Fox News and CNN.
Games are also a target. Ludwig pointed to Flash-based games, such as Playfish and FarmVille, played on social-networking sites.
A public developer beta of Flash 10.1 is expected… Read more