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Avo Reid

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Adobe Flash for Mobile Devices

September 29, 2008

Adobe recently released its earnings report for FQ308 (Qtr End 08/29/08) report stating record revenue based on strong OEM sales of the mobile version of Flash, Flash Lite.  According to  Adobe, the desktop Flash Player  is the world's most pervasive software platform, used by over 2 million professionals and reaching 99.0% of Internet-enabled desktops. Now, Adobe reports more than 800 million mobile devices have shipped with Flash Lite, representing more than 150 percent growth over the last year.  This kind of growth sets the stage for Adobe to increase its penetration of creative tools and data services for mobile devices, leveraging its increasingly ubiquitous Flash platform.In fact, all major handset manufacturers worldwide license and ship mobile devices with Flash Lite today including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and many others. New devices like the Nokia N95, the Nokia N96, the Sony Ericsson C-Series, the NTT DoCoMo’s 905i series, and the Sony Mylo support Flash Lite 3, the latest version of the software. Flash Lite runs on multiple platforms, including Windows Mobile, Symbian™ S60, and Qualcomm® BREW®, in addition to embedded operating systems on a variety of OEM platforms. And Azingo, a leading provider of open mobile phone software, recently announce that it has integrated Adobe Flash Lite into its advanced mobile browser enabling the display of animated web content and videos and making Adobe Flash available on a Linux mobile platform.

What is missing here is Apple’s iPhone, but there may be some news on the horizon. At the Flash on the Beach conference in Brighton, England, Adobe Senior Director of Engineering Paul Betlem, responding to a question from the audience, confirmed that Adobe is working on a version of Flash player for the iPhone. Paul Betlem went on to say that if Apple approves it, it will be available “in a very short time”. This seemed to confirm what Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said earlier this year during an FQ208 earnings report “We have a version that’s working on the emulation. This is still on the computer and you know, we have to continue to move it from a test environment onto the device and continue to make it work. So we are pleased with the internal progress that we’ve made to date.”

Flash Lite 3 is similar to Flash 8 with less functionality to make it lite and mobile, this will probably change as convergence of the desktop and handheld happens over time, but today it does have support for games, Youtube, live video and audio.  For Flex developers developing Rich Internet Applications this is a problem, because Flex 3 produces applications that require Flash 9, and currently there is no support in Flex Builder to build to a Flash Lite deployment.  But there is hope of getting the full Flash player onto a mobile device to open up the mobile market for Flex developers. For example, Skyfire has developed a free, downloadable mobile web browser designed to allow mobile users to experience the internet exactly as they experience it on their PC.  Skyfire includes full support for Flash Player 9, as well as Java and QuickTime.  Check out their site and sign up for a beta if you’re interested.





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