Adobe, Microsoft Make Mobile Technology Deal

Flash Lite and Reader LE will appear on Windows Mobile-based phones before 2009, Adobe officials say.

Microsoft will license Adobe Systems' Flash Lite and Reader LE software for use in future versions of Windows Mobile-based phones.

Adobe and Microsoft announced the deal March 17.

However, there is no time frame for when such phones will appear on the market. An Adobe representative said the company hopes to see Windows Mobile phones with Flash Lite and Reader LE available by the end of 2008.

Both Flash Lite and Reader LE will operate within these phones' Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile Web browser. Flash Lite, a subset of the Flash Player used on desktop operating systems, is intended to allow the mobile browser to run Flash-enabled Web pages, while Reader LE will let users view PDF documents.

"We haven't finished the integration engineering work," the company representative said, referring to whether the integrated Reader LE will allow users to store PDFs in addition to viewing them. "The plan is to save locally for viewing later."

According to Adobe, there are more than 500 million Flash-enabled devices sold around the world to date, with more than 305 million of them using Flash Lite. Phone handsets so enabled include models produced by Samsung, Motorola, LG and others, running platforms ranging from Symbian OS to BREW. Some phones use Flash to present their user interfaces.

Adobe stated that various content providers, such as MTV, Nasdaq, eBay and Reuters, announced in February that they will start presenting Flash-based content designed for viewing on mobile phones.

The timing of this announcement, with the technology unfinished and product release dates uncertain, is curious. Adobe representatives declined to comment on why they're raising the topic now, but perhaps recent comments by Apple CEO Steve Jobs about how he does not see Flash appearing on his company's popular iPhone could have something to do with it.