Adobe Systems has launched Flash Player 10.1, a new version of the technology that marks the company's move to make the full Flash Player as ubiquitous on mobile devices as it is on desktops.
With the new Flash Player 10.1 software for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other Internet-connected devices, Adobe is moving to push out Flash to a number of popular mobile platforms-except for the Apple iPhone thus far.
At the Adobe MAX 2009 conference in Los Angeles on Oct. 5, Adobe officials will announce that a public developer beta of the browser-based Flash Player 10.1 run-time will be available for Windows Mobile, Palm webOS and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux later this year. Meanwhile, public betas for Google Android and Symbian OS are expected to be available in early 2010, said Adrian Ludwig, Adobe's group product marketing manager for the Flash Platform, in an interview with eWEEK. Ludwig also noted that general availability of Flash Player 10.1 and first devices in the market are expected in first half of 2010.
In addition, Adobe and Research In Motion announced a joint collaboration to bring Flash Player to BlackBerry smartphones, and Google joined close to 50 other industry players in the Open Screen Project (OSP) initiative. Adobe gave no indication of when or whether Flash will be supported on the iPhone.
Flash Player 10.1 is the first consistent run-time release of the Open Screen Project that enables Web browsing of expressive applications, content and high-definition (HD) videos across devices, Adobe said. Using the productive Web programming model of the Flash Platform, the browser-based run-time enables millions of designers and developers to reuse code and assets and reduce the cost of creating, testing and deploying content across different operating systems and browsers, Adobe officials said. Flash Player 10.1 can be easily updated across all supported platforms to ensure rapid adoption of new innovations that move the Web forward.
Ludwig also gave updated figures regarding the momentum of the Flash Platform. Ludwig said the Flash Player has 98 percent adoption on the desktop, about 75 percent of videos online are delivered in Flash, more than 70 percent of Web games are built using Flash, and 40 percent of new mobile devices ship with Flash. Moreover, there have been more than 1.2 billion feature phones and devices shipped with Flash support, and Flash Player 10 has achieved 93 percent adoption on the desktop in only 10 months, Ludwig said.
He said the Flash Player 10.1 run-time leverages the power of the graphics processing unit (GPU) for accelerated video and graphics while conserving battery life and minimizing resource utilization. New mobile-ready features that take advantage of native device capabilities include support for multitouch, gestures, mobile input models, accelerometer and screen orientation, bringing new creative control and expressiveness to the mobile browsing experience, Adobe said.
Flash Player 10.1 also will take advantage of media delivery with HTTP streaming, including integration of content protection powered by Adobe Flash Access 2.0. This effort, code-named Zeri, will be an open format based on industry standards and will provide content publishers, distributors and partners the tools they need to utilize HTTP infrastructures for high-quality media delivery in Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0 software, Ludwig said. He also said the MAX 2009 conference will host Adobe's first public showing of its new Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) Version 2.0.
"With Flash Player moving to new mobile platforms, users will be able to experience virtually all Flash technology based Web content and applications wherever they are," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Adobe, in a statement. "We are excited about the broad collaboration of close to 50 industry leaders in the Open Screen Project and the ongoing collaboration with 19 out of the top 20 handset manufacturers worldwide. It will be great to see first devices ship with full Flash Player in the first half of next year."
"Adobe Flash technology provides a key experience on new Windows phones, enabling people to enjoy rich Flash-based games, videos and other interactive Web content on the go," said Stephanie Ferguson, general manager, Product Management, at Microsoft, in a statement. "We look forward to bringing in the new capabilities of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 to the Windows phone browser when it becomes available."
"Motorola is excited to be one of the first handset manufacturers to ship Android-based devices with Flash Player support early next year," said Christy Wyatt, vice president of software applications and ecosystem at Motorola, in a statement. "As the No.1 platform for video on the Web, uncompromised browsing of Flash technology-based content is essential for a rich mobile experience and something users expect from Motorola today."
"As a longtime partner of Adobe, and more than 400 million Nokia phones shipped with existing Flash technology to date, we are excited to see Flash Player becoming a reality for mobile phones and other mobile devices," said Purnima Kochikar, vice president of Forum Nokia, in a statement. "Nokia is excited about full Flash Player coming to devices, and we are committed to supporting Flash Player 10.1 on mobile devices in 2010."
Said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google: "We are excited to join Adobe and other industry leaders in the Open Screen Project. This initiative supports our common goal to move the Web forward as a platform and to spur innovation in the industry through technology such as Adobe Flash."
Led by Adobe, the Open Screen Project includes close to 50 industry leaders working together to provide a consistent run-time environment across mobile phones, desktops and other consumer electronic devices, Adobe said. The initiative addresses the challenges of Web browsing and stand-alone applications on a broad range of devices, and removes the barriers to publishing content and applications seamlessly across screens, company officials said.