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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Open Screen Fund Pays Off

October 25, 2009

Kirk Ballou, CEO of Flash Widgets, can't say enough good things about the Open Screen Project Fund. That's because his start-up company was recipient of an Open Screen Fund grant that made it possible for Flash Widgets to develop the software they wanted to create, not the software they had to develop.

The software that Ballou, who spoke at Nokia's Media Day (part of the Symbian Exchange and Exposition), wanted to develop was Twittle, a robust Flash Lite Twitter client. Twittle lets you access your Twitter account on the go and view Replies, Profile, Messages, Favorites, and your Main timeline. But, according to Ballou, "Twittle had to sit on the back burner while the company developed software to keep the lights on." That is, until they caught up with the Open Screen Fund.

The $10 million Open Screen Project Fund was developed jointly by Adobe and Nokia (each pitching in $5 million) to do exactly what it did in Ballou's case -- help developers create applications and services for mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices using the Adobe Flash Platform. The Open Screen Project is designed to enable a consistent runtime environment across screens. The initiative is dedicated to enable web content, standalone applications and full web browsing across televisions, set-top boxes, mobile devices and other consumer electronics that take advantage of Adobe AIR and Adobe Flash Platform capabilities.

According to Forum Nokia's Bill Perry, more than 800 developers have submitted applications for grants since the fund was launched in February 2009. Of that, 35 applicants, including Ballou's Flash Widgets,  have received funding to the tune of approximately $50,000 each.

"We are excited about the Open Screen Project Fund and the possibilities it offers to designers and developers worldwide," said Adobe's David Wadhwani. "With close to 40 percent of all new mobile devices shipped with Flash Lite in 2008, the fund will enable more developers to bring their rich content and services to a large number of mobile users."

Yes, Wadhwani may well be excited about the fund and it's possibilities for developers -- but not nearly as excited as developers like Ballou.

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