Social Networking Drives Adobe Flash Lite Adoption

The popularity of social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace is driving the success of Adobe's Flash Lite technology on mobile handsets, says Strategy Analytics.

Social networking applications are driving the use of Adobe Systems' Flash Lite technology, according to a study by Strategy Analytics. The company said in a news release:

"The popularity of social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace is driving the success of Adobe's Flash Lite technology on mobile handsets.Flash Lite's Version 3.0, which enables mobile users to access the popular sites, helped the total number of Flash Lite enabled handsets to reach more than 960 million by the end of 2008, according to the latest figures from the Strategy Analytics report, "Flash-Enabled Handset Forecast." By the end of January 2009, one billion Flash Lite-enabled handsets had been shipped worldwide."

In an interview with eWEEK, Anup Murarka, director of partner development and technology strategy in Adobe's Platform Business Unit, said Flash is expected to have shipped on 1 billion devices by the end of this quarter, which will beat Adobe's projections of having Flash ship on a billion devices by 2010. Flash will ship on an additional 1.5 billion devices within the next two years, Murarka said.

And despite the global economic downturn, Flash Lite adoption among handset vendors is expected to grow strongly throughout 2009, Strategy Analytics said. The total number of shipments almost doubled in 2008. Shipments are currently running at over 40 million units per month and show no signs of slowing, proving that the right "carrot," in the shape of the added functionality provided by newer versions of Flash Lite, can still attract attention, the market research company said.

"Version 3 and subsequent versions are setting the standard for high-performance Flash Lite applications, although there is continuing high demand for Flash Lite v2.0 and 2.1 in Asia," said the report's author, Stuart Robinson, director of the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies Practice.

Stephen Entwistle, vice president for the Strategic Technologies Practice at Strategy Analytics, said, "High-end, high-fashion handsets like the LG Prada and Viewty, although supporting Flash Lite, are not 'addressable,' and thus do not support the highest and most desirable functionality of the technology, i.e., the ability to support third-party applications or Web browsers."

Meanwhile, Murarka said Adobe would be showing an early preview of Flash Player 10 for smartphones and demonstrating it on Nokia Series 60, Android and Windows Mobile platforms at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, held Feb. 16 to 19. He said the company is working to get it ready for delivery by the end of 2009.

Also at the Mobile World Congress, Adobe announced the availability of the Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 Distributable Player, "a new, over-the-air mobile run-time." Adobe said in a news release:

"The new player enables developers and content providers to create Flash technology-based applications that target the latest version of the runtime, and directly distribute their applications with the runtime installer to millions of devices for a better on-device user experience."

The Distributable Player is available immediately as a public beta, and initially supports Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile devices, Adobe said.