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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adobe To Demo Flash On Mobile (But Only Windows). Still “Working” On The iPhone.

by Erick Schonfeld on November 16, 2008

Adobe’s Flash Player is on 98 percent of all desktop computers, but it is still struggling to make the jump to mobile phones. If you want Flash on a mobile device, right now you have to settle for a compromised version: Flash Lite. But Adobe is committed to bring the full Flash Player experience to mobile phones, as evidenced by its Open Screen Project. On Monday, at its Adobe MAX developer conference, it will demonstrate Flash Player 10 running on a Windows Mobile phone. (However, Flash won’t actually ship on Windows Mobile until late next year). Product manager Michele Turner tells me:

We will be showing the first delivery of Flash on mobile phones, on other platforms. You will see it on Windows Mobile.

Microsoft, if you recall, was also early to adopt Flash Lite for Windows Mobile, despite its parallel development of Flash-competitor Silverlight. So it’s not too surprising that it would be the first to run Flash 10 on Windows Mobile. Turner also indicates that an “Android port” is coming. (Update: In fact, it looks like the Android port is well underway. During today’s announcement, a demo of Flash running on the G1 was shown.)

But what about the iPhone, which famously doesn’t use Flash? (Although there’s been some talk of that happening). Turner will only say:

We are working on Flash on the iPhone, but it is really up to Apple

One of Apple’s objections to Flash is that it is a CPU hog and is not optimized for the ARM11 processors that power the iPhone. In what seems to be an effort to address that concern, Adobe will also be announcing a closer collaboration with ARM to accelerate the adoption of both Flash Player 10 and Adobe AIR on ARM-powered devices.

Once that collaboration bears fruit, maybe we’ll finally see Flash on the iPhone. But I’d be willing to bet my iPhone that we’ll see it on Android phones first.