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Adobe Details Flash For Smartphones

Gordon Kelly


Adobe Details Flash For Smartphones

If you pick a fight with Apple you generally suffer a humiliating and financially painful loss - unless you're Adobe...

The software giant today detailed (and rubbed in) what it gleefully announced in July: Flash on smartphones is soon to become a reality - unless you own an iPhone. This functionality will come with the arrival of 'Flash Player 10.1' and will support Google Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Palm webOS. RIM is also in talks with Adobe, but not Apple for the iPhone OS.

Atom-ically challenged netbooks will also get a boost since Flash Player 10.1 will bring GPU acceleration to nVidia GeForce, ION and Tegra platforms as well as Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets. Like Apple, ATI looks to be out in the cold here and it seems a daft decision given - love or hate Flash - 75 per cent of web videos and 70 per cent of web games are still delivered via the Flash Player.

Furthermore, Adobe claims Flash Player 10.1 will increase software rendering performance on mobile by more than 87 per cent and reduce memory consumption by over 55 per cent. This would go a significant way to ease previous Apple fears that Flash support will simply see handsets grind to a sticky halt.

As yet Adobe hasn't put a hard release date on Flash Player 10.1, but "expected in early 2010" is the latest phraseology. If you want to know more, a live Adobe keynote webstream will be delivered online at 9.20am PST (4.20pm GMT).

Now personally, I can understand the dislike of Flash compared to open standards and why some may wish to boycott it altogether. Then again, good or bad, surely it is better to give your customers the choice...

Update: Adobe has opened the door to Flash on the iPhone, but only as part of third party apps right now not full Safari integration. Well I guess it's a start (and yes, that's five paragraphs!).


Press Release

Adobe Webstream


October 5, 2009, 8:12 pm

Big news, but this news could have been presented without all the silly iPhone talk. Six paragraphs, and four has reference to Apple! What the hell? It may be trendy, but it still represents a very very small percentage of all phones sold.


October 5, 2009, 8:30 pm

@farki80 - very true, but since this is a smartphone centric announcement the iPhone does not represent a very very small percentage of all smartphones sold. Furthermore, it is the most high profile smartphone on the market, there has been a long term and vociferous campaign for Flash support from users and Apple continues to ignore there calls.

The reasons why a company would not sign up to something so beneficial are actually more interesting than the logical ones as to why they would.


October 5, 2009, 9:04 pm

It still represents a very small percentage of all smartphones sold. Stop with the UK/US-centric viewpoint and look at the bigger picture. It may be high profile, but it isn't market leading. It certainly does not deserve the number of mentions in a news article that was supposed to be about Adobe...

notbenjamin 1

October 5, 2009, 9:10 pm

Why exactly won't they sign up for it? I have an ipod touch that i primarily use for web browsing and the only thing that i ever have issues with is the lack of Flash support


October 5, 2009, 9:45 pm

@farki80 - whether you like the device or not (I do, as you'll probably guess), the iPhone has been a market changing piece of technology. It gave the smart phone market the competitive kick up the hoo-hoo that it had so desperately needed and has forced some creativity from those manufacturers who were starting to go stale.

I do, however, agree that four mentions of the iPhone may be considered over doing it here... But then, just one mention of an Apple product in an article here is enough to get the conversation rolling :)

So, are Apple quaking to the core? (bu-dum 'tsch) Naah. I'll agree, it can be irritating when I come across a clip embedded in a site that isn't hosted on YouTube that I just can't wait until I get back to my computer to view, but it really isn't a big deal. And while it's no consolation now, HTML5 will soon start dealing with that issue.

As for Flash games, it's pretty much a non-point. How many of these games are actually designed for a small touch screen interface? They're generally either keyboard commands - in which case, once you bring the keyboard up, there's not enough screen real estate to be able to view it properly - or they're cursor based - which will only occasionally be adequately designed to be able to use touch instead.

Can you imagine playing the fantastic Cursor10 (the precursor (bu-dum 'tsch) to many time based mini-games in this gaming generation) using finger prods? Desktop Tower Defence may work. Line Rider probably would. But I'd bet most wouldn't.

Which brings me to what is probably one of Apple's secret reasons. A lot of Flash games have been ported to the iPhone for *sale* in the App Store... They may only be 59p titles in most cases, but there's profit in them thar games!

Shift (http://armorgames.com/play/751..., for example, plays wonderfully as a Native app...

James Reckitt

October 5, 2009, 9:48 pm

Maybe they're cooking up their own equivalent to Flash to convert more people to use Apple branded products/software? That's the only reason I can think of. They're up to something for sure, or someone high ranking needs firing for overlooking this one!

Ben 3

October 5, 2009, 10:10 pm

I'm more annoyed with the lack of 64-bit support on Windows and OS X. It is still listed as a 'commitment' with no firm details as to when :(

Technology changes, and so sho

October 5, 2009, 10:19 pm

I have to agree with farki80, but for different reasons as highlighted by Ben's comment.

Mentioning Apple so often now opens this thread up to a stream of iPhone/iPod users whining about why they won't have it (even though they probably will at some point when the legal stuff is sorted - as that's all it can realistically be).

We should be seeing a list of comments from people glad that Adobe are actually supporting handhelds and portable platforms.

I, for one, can't wait to see it roll out.

Oh, and I don't think ATi(AMD) are out in the cold: Adobe mentioned GPU acceleration, not GPGPU acceleration. Even Intels GPUs (not the most powerful but far and away the most popular) will provide a modicum of performance boost.


October 5, 2009, 10:21 pm


Because then they can add it as a feature in OS4.0 and dazzle everyone with some great new features! I'm guessing Flash is currently a bag of hurt.

And in your case they can charge you for the privelige as well.


October 5, 2009, 11:40 pm

Why can't we have an open version of flash? Here's hoping Apple will push for a more open standard. Then again pigs might fly.


October 5, 2009, 11:47 pm

@James - Nope, they're not taking the Microsoft route and inventing a me-too proprietary internet animation technology. They're working, via web-kit, to extend the HTML and CSS standards so that anyone can create flashy looking websites without having to buy into one company's software. By increasing the scope of CSS and JavaScript, there really is no need for anything such as Flash...


October 6, 2009, 2:00 am

@Cub - However good HTML5/JavaScript/CSS is or will be, it has the rather big drawback of not being able to be used off-line. Flash (and Silverlight) isn't restricted to just the browser but can be run as desktop apps using the AIR runtime. I doubt it would take much to have a runtime that ran outside of Safari where you can start Flash games or apps that you downloaded earlier. And if that runtime ever supported the accelerometer, well then...


October 6, 2009, 6:24 am

I'm finding the constant references to Apple and iPhones in this comments section a bit over the top...


October 6, 2009, 11:04 am

@CaptNemo - Um, not quite. The new interactive extra content thing that Apple released as part of iTunes 9, that's all done using these open internet standards. You can quite easily store collections of HTML, CSS and JavaScript files in a collection on your computer and keep them there at your beck and call...

Maybe Apple would approve a Flash runtime outside of Safari for the iPhone. To my knowledge it hasn't been tried.

@Peter - It's because Adobe spent money making it... And because Adobe make oodles of money in licensing... Hence why Microsoft have jumped in on the game!


October 6, 2009, 12:57 pm


Why shouldn't TR have a UK/US centric view? It is an English language website, written in the UK!


October 6, 2009, 1:22 pm

Because Apple want to control where you get your videos/movies from. They do not want people viewing flash videos and movies from legal or illegal sites. They want you to buy movies from iTunes :)

Get use to it if you love your iPhone so much. You will always be restricted what you can and can't do. They also control exactly what goes into the Appstore.

I doubt you will get a browser capable of HTML 5 (for embedded videos) for the same reasons. There will be some type of restrictions in place.


October 6, 2009, 4:06 pm

@AlmostDone - You're AlmostThere. There's a bit of difference between you're average Flash video embedded in a site, and a full movie or TV episode downloaded from iTunes. You're right, they don't want people watching embedded Flash movies on their iPhone. However, they have no qualms with a site using HTML 5 to display it's media content.

It will obviously surprise you to learn that Safari, and any other webkit browser (read: all browsers apart from IE) either already do, or fully intend to, support HTML 5 and all of the media and animation goodness that comes with it, as soon as is possible.

So, yes. Apple do want you to buy movies from iTunes. The iPhone does have restrictions. Apple do control exactly what goes into the App Store (was that supposed to be a shocking truth to us?). But none of these points have any relevance to the story at hand...


October 6, 2009, 11:06 pm


But the world as we know it did not exist before the birth of the Jesus phone. Hence it's reference in relation to all matters.


October 7, 2009, 3:24 am

Quote{Cub}:"Apple do control exactly what goes into the App Store".

And they do so very, very badly...

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