Adobe Flash Player Coming To Smartphones

Adobe is preparing to launch Flash Player 10 for most mobile platforms later this year. Although widely used around the Web, Flash is often considered too resource intensive for smartphones. This new mobile version is set to change that.

Supported platforms will include Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and WebOS. Flash Player 10 for mobile devices will enable smartphones to deliver a richer Internet browsing experience. The platform will also support development of web-based applications, theoretically freeing developers from individual application stores.

During a recent earnings call, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said many partners have already received an early copy of Flash Player 10. Developers can expect to get their hands on a beta version of the mobile player later this year at Adobe's Max conference in October.

As you may have already noticed, there are two big names missing from the list of supported platforms: Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry platform. In February, Narayen said Adobe and Apple are working on Flash for the iPhone but gave no specific launch date. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has said in the past that Flash is not good enough for the iPhone because of its resource requirements. Jobs’ comments makes many wonder if Flash will ever come to the iPhone.

Adobe has also confirmed it is working with RIM, though the two companies aren’t far enough in the development process to announce anything. In the meantime, other smartphone platforms will be given the chance to boast about bringing a richer Internet browsing experience to mobile devices.

Google’s Android platform is set to benefit significantly from the release of Flash 10, especially since a handful of smartphones running on this platform are expected in the coming months. The second version of this OS (aka Donut) is also expected around the same time as the launch of Adobe Flash Player 10 mobile.

Even though Palm’s WebOS just came out on the new Palm Pre, Palm was involved with Flash 10 from the early stages. Palm has yet to release a software development kit for this new OS (it’s expected at the end of this summer), which means Flash 10’s ability to provide an additional avenue for creating WebOS applications will also be very important.

Given the way development cycles tend to work, we wouldn’t expect to see users benefiting from applications built on the new Flash 10 platform until early 2010. After all, developers will need time after the beta version is released to create, test, and launch the applications.