Adobe has long talked up its ambition to have Flash running on all manner of screens, not just the humble PC, and today the company got a lot closer to walking the walk not just talking.
Through the Open Screen Project, Adobe was already known to be working with smartphone platforms from Palm (WebOS), Nokia (Symbian) and Microsoft (Windows Mobile), along with a raft of content providers, chip makers and consumer electronics companies. Today, the company added Google and Research In Motion to the list, with relation to Android and Blackberry-powered smartphones respectively, leaving Apple’s iPhone as the odd one out regarding planned support for full Flash (or any Flash support at all).
Historically, Apple has always defended iPhone’s lack of Flash support by arguing that it’s too processor and power intensive, and that the cut down mobile version of Flash (Flash Lite) just isn’t up to the job. With Moore’s Law kicking in (faster smartphone processors) and Adobe working hard to optimize Flash for the latest mobile chips, this argument is holding less and less water. In the video demo below, we can see Flash performing pretty well on Palm’s Pre smartphone, a device that shares much under the hood with the latest iPhone 3GS.
Instead, as I’ve argued previously, Apple has a very different motive for keeping Adobe Flash away from the iPhone.
… as we all should know by now, the real reason why Apple doesn’t want to embrace Adobe’s Flash is that it would offer third-party developers an alternative “runtime” on which to develop and, perhaps more importantly, distribute apps for the iPhone, bypassing Apple’s control (and that of its partner carriers) and the iTunes App Store itself. And we can’t have that, can we?
The other big win for the Open Screen Project are the latest Netbooks and future MIDS (Mobile Internet Devices) or so-called smartbooks, reports Engadget. “Flash 10.1 will take advantage of GPU acceleration on a number of key mobile platforms, including both nVidia’s Tegra and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon alongside ION for smooth (well, theoretically smooth) 720p and 1080p video on the latest generation of netbooks and smartbooks.”
Where all of this leaves Microsoft’s own Flash competitor Silverlight on mobile is anybody’s guess, although probably not in the best of shape. While Nokia is partnering with Redmond to bring Silverlight support to Symbian, Microsoft itself is simultaneously supporting Flash for Windows Mobile, such is the anbundance of exciting Flash-powered content on the Web.