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Adobe's Flash/Flex 4.5 Supports Apps for Android, BlackBerry and iOS

Adobe recently unveiled an update to its Flash Builder and Flex tools designed to enable developers to build apps for iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry's PlayBook tablet. (Support for Android devices was released in April 2011.) As the company put it, Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 give developers "a single platform for building highly expressive mobile applications that can be distributed via the Android Market, Apple App Store, and BlackBerry App World."

Adobe's senior technical evangelist Christophe Coenraets demoed the new tools for me, and I talked with him about Adobe's strategy.

"People are facing the reality of a fragmented market that no one owns, and in which they have to deliver their applications on multiple platforms," he said. "It's a problem for which we now have a solution."

Adobe sidesteps the fact that Apple doesn't allow runtimes on iOS devices by creating a self-contained executable that links to the runtime library, Coenraets explained. "This creates a totally legitimate application that doesn't rely on the Flash Player at runtime, because we linked the Flash Player libraries as part of the application," he said.

If the crackling blogosphere buzz accompanying this announcement is any indication, the prospect of building apps on a single platform for on these devices -- including iOS gear -- is enormously appealing. But skeptics remain to be convinced that the performance will be there. Cross-platform tools exploit common denominators and sometimes fail to make the most of the native platform.

Coenraets claims that the performance is good, of course, and his demo of two applications -- the PolitiFact Mobile application and a two games from HD Interactive: a spin-based matching game called Mr. Mixit and the Pyramix word game -- supported that claim. The PolitiFact app took about three weeks to build and runs on Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and iPhone. The two games are available on Android, BlackBerry, Tablet OS and iOS devices.

You can check out those apps and several more on the Adobe Developer Connection  Web site.

Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 are being offered as standalone products, but also as part of Adobe's Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium and Master Collection.

Posted by John K. Waters on June 30, 2011