At the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 in Barcelona, Adobe Systems made a series of moves aimed at extending the reach of its Flash platform, including joining forces with Nokia to promote the Adobe-backed Open Screen Project.
Indeed, Adobe and Nokia announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund designed to help developers create applications and services for mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices using the Adobe Flash Platform, said Anup Murarka, director of partner development and technology strategy for Adobe’s Platform Business Unit, in an interview with eWEEK.
The new fund is focused on the Open Screen Project, which is an industrywide initiative of more than 20 industry leaders set to enable a consistent experience for Web browsing and stand-alone applications. Additional Open Screen Project partners are expected to join the fund in the future, Murarka said.
“This is an effort to foster the creation, distribution and marketing of applications,” Murarka said. “It is a vehicle for grants; it is not a VC [venture capital] fund.”
Adobe and Nokia officials said they invite developers to submit concepts for applications that are based on the Adobe Flash Platform, will run on Nokia devices and will work on multiple screens, including mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices. Applications will be reviewed for how innovative and compelling the user experience is, how robust the application or planned implementation is, and how well it exploits the capabilities and features of Nokia devices, Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR, which enables developers to build applications that extend outside the browser.
“We are excited about the Open Screen Project Fund and the possibilities it offers to designers and developers worldwide,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “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.”
“The Open Screen Project Fund encourages the use of Adobe tools and existing developer skills to create exciting and unique Flash applications for millions of Nokia devices,” said Tero Ojanper???, executive vice president of Nokia Services, in a statement. “Our end goal is to support these developers with resources, build awareness around the creative possibilities with Flash and help bring these innovative experiences to market through Nokia distribution channels.”
Projects submitted for development will be reviewed by a group of multiscreen application and services experts from Open Screen Project partners, including Adobe and Nokia, the companies said. Areas include entertainment, social networking, productivity, gaming, and news and information. Developers retain all rights to their applications while Adobe and Nokia have the right to evaluate, test and promote the content. For more information and details on how to apply, visit
Adobe led the way in announcing the Open Screen Project last May. The effort is designed to enable a consistent run-time environment across screens. The initiative is focused on enabling Web content, stand-alone 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.
Palm Joining Open Screen Project
In other Open Screen Project news, Adobe announced Palm is joining the Open Screen Project. The work of the Open Screen Project will help deliver Adobe Flash Player for smartphones on the new Palm WebOS platform. The unique capabilities of the Web-centric Palm WebOS, combined with Flash Player, will enable WebOS device users to benefit from the vast amount of Flash-based Web content for a richer, more complete Internet experience.
“We’re excited that our customers will benefit from the creativity and broad range of Flash content and applications created by the millions of designers and developers using Adobe’s popular tools and technologies,” said Pam Deziel, vice president of software product management at Palm, in a statement.
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. He said the company is working to get it ready for delivery by the end of the year.
In addition, Murarka 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 1 billion devices by 2010. And Flash will ship on an additional 1.5 billion devices within the next two years.
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. The new player enables developers and content providers to create Flash technology-based applications that target the latest version of the run-time, and directly distribute their applications with the run-time 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 and builds on the momentum of Adobe Flash technology in the mobile market.
Moreover, the Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 Distributable Player provides new delivery and monetization options for Flash-based mobile applications, Murarka said. For instance, using the new run-time, leading aggregators–including GetJar, Thumbplay and Zed–enables content creators to deliver their applications to mobile users via their Web catalogs.
Content creators can also choose to distribute their applications via their own promotional vehicles or their existing distribution channels, Adobe said. Brands and content providers already using the Distributable Player include AccuWeather, Dolce & Gabbana, Digital Chocolate, Disney, Finetune, Gazzetta dello Sport and Hachette Filipacchi.
“AccuWeather is delighted to work with Adobe as part of our ongoing effort to bring users the weather they need, however and wherever they want it,” said David Mitchell, director of wireless services at AccuWeather.com. “Flash Lite Distributable Player enables developers and content providers to give users direct access to the latest version of the mobile run-time through the download of Flash-based applications. With this solution, our application can reach anyone with a mobile device, distributing services such as current weather conditions, 15-day forecast calendars, radar and satellite maps, as well as severe weather alerts.”
The Distributable Player is the first step toward delivering a run-time that can be updated over the air, a vision set by the Open Screen Project, Adobe officials said. The Distributable Player supports over-the-air downloads for consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and India. More countries will be added over time, Adobe said.
Developers around the world can get started developing Adobe Flash Platform applications with the free public beta release at
Now Available: Adobe Reader Mobile SDK
In another move, Adobe announced the availability of its new Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, a software development kit designed to enable companies to deliver mobile phones and handheld devices that can easily download, manage and display PDF content and e-books. The new software engine delivers support for reflowable PDF technology, Adobe’s content protection technology, as well as the EPUB file format, an X M L-based e-book standard with broad support from the publishing industry.
A number of companies announced plans to ship devices or applications in 2009 that integrate the new Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, including Bookeen, iRex Technologies, Lexcycle, Plastic Logic, Polymer Vision and Spring Design. The Adobe Reader Mobile engine is already integrated into the Reader Digital Book by Sony.
The Adobe Reader Mobile SDK delivers new support for reflowable PDF technology, where text is able to adapt automatically to the screen size, enabling readers to consume digital content on a variety of devices while preserving layout integrity and enhancing the reading experience, Murarka said.
Moreover, the support for the new EPUB file format is expected to accelerate the availability of e-book content on mobile devices worldwide, Murarka said. Consumers can acquire content with Adobe Reader Mobile-enabled devices over the air (OTA) and via PCs and Macintosh systems through the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe’s popular desktop application for reading and managing digital publications.
“With Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, Adobe is expanding the reach of PDF content, making it easier for mobile users to engage with rich digital publications on the go,” said Kevin Lynch, vice president and general manager of the Acrobat family of products at Adobe. “Consumers are demanding content that looks great on a small screen, and publishers want to ensure a viewing experience that enhances their brand and, where appropriate, protects their content. This new software engine delivers on both expectations.”
“With support for reflowable PDF and the new EPUB format, we are able to deliver richer reading experiences to digital book lovers,” said Steve Haber, president of the Digital Reading Business Division at Sony Electronics, in a statement. “The Reader ships with support for Adobe Reader Mobile SDK today and allows consumers to acquire e-books from a variety of sources, including public libraries. Our goal is to foster an open content environment that enables our customers to maximize the use and enjoyment of their Readers.”