Adobe Advances Mobile Efforts
Adobe Systems used this week's Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona to advance its effort to provide a common runtime across desktop, Web and mobile environments.
The company previewed its Flash Player 10 platform for smartphones and announced the public beta of its Flash Lite 3.1 Distributable Player over-the-air runtime. The beta initially supports Windows Mobile and Nokia's own Symbian-based S60 phone.
Adobe last year said it would release the Flash Player 10 browser plug-in for smartphones running on Google's Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile phone platforms in 2010. The runtime will provide the full functionality of the desktop to the mobile device, said Anup Murarka, director of partner development and technology strategy for Adobe's Platform Business unit, who added that it was demonstrated on 60 platforms this week.
Developers should see full compatibility for most high-end smartphones and desktops, Murarka said. "For smartphones in particular, we've seen them advance enough in hardware capabilities that we think it's actually possible," he said.
Also, in an effort to advance its Open Screen Project, Adobe said it has teamed with Nokia to create a $10 million market development fund for developers looking to build mobile applications across the company's Flash platform.
Adobe launched the Open Screen Project -- which it described as an effort to provide rich Internet applications over PCs, the Web, mobile devices and other consumer electronics -- last May. Among those who have signed up are ARM, Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell, Motorola, NBC Universal, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, Verizon Wireless and Palm.
The fund is intended to motivate companies to build Flash-based applications. Those who qualify may be asked for marketing consideration but it's not a venture or equity fund, Murarka said.
According to Murarka, Adobe is seeking a broad swath of application types ranging from enterprise productivity to social networking to media and games. "We are not so interested in guiding the content as we are in moving the goal in what the experience should be," he said.
That is also the goal of AccuWeather.com, which today launched its own desktop widget based on the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), according to Michael Sylvie, the company's director of business development. Sylvie, who oversees the company's application development efforts, said it is challenging to build widgets and other applications that are portable across the desktop, Web and mobile devices. "You really have to strip down the UI for mobile," he said.
Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of ADTmag.com and news editor of Visual Studio Magazine.