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Adobe player to debut first on Palm Pre

Oct 5, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

[Updated: Oct. 6] — Adobe has announced Flash Player 10.1, multimedia software that will run on a bevy of smartphones, smartbooks, PCs, and other connected devices, starting with Palm WebOS (Palm Pre) and Windows Mobile later this year. Early next year, the “full desktop” media player will reach Android and Symbian platforms, says the company.

Not to be confused with the Flash Lite version that's already available on smartphones — see later in this story for background — Flash Player 10.1 will "enable uncompromised Web browsing of expressive applications, content and high definition (HD) videos across devices," according to Adobe. The company says beta versions of the software will be available for smartphones running Palm WebOS and Windows Mobile "later this year," alongside revisions targeting Linux, Windows, and Macintosh, desktop computers.

The Palm WebOS Flash 10.1 implementation, available for the Palm Pre, Palm Pixi, and whatever other devices Palm may announce that support its Linux-based WebOS, is previewed in a YouTube video farther below.

Adobe added that early 2010 will bring Flash Player 10.1 betas for the Android and Symbian operating systems, and announced a "joint collaboration" with RIM that will bring Flash to BlackBerry devices. No timetable for the latter was announced, but it's a safe bet that Flash will be on BlackBerry before it's on Apple's iPhone. Adobe's announcements made no mention of the iPhone, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly regards Flash with disfavor, considering that the multimedia framework overstresses the resources of mobile devices. (After its main Flash Player announcement, however, Adobe did cite one way Flash content will come to the iPhone — see later in this story for details.)

According to Adobe, Flash Player 10.1 is a browser-based runtime that leverages the power of GPUs (graphics processing units), where present, providing "accelerated video and graphics while conserving battery life and minimizing resource utilization." New mobile-ready features are said to include support for multi-touch, mobile input models, accelerometers, and multiple screen orientations. Meanwhile, a new HTTP streaming format, code-named "Zeri," will employ open industry standards but will also allow content protection via Adobe Flash Access 2.0, the company adds.

Flash 10 Background

Apart from the forthcoming BlackBerry support, which was not previously disclosed, today's announcement merely adds incremental information to what Adobe has already discussed. A "desktop class" implementation of Flash Player 10 for mobile devices was first announced by ARM and Adobe last November, reportedly previewed behind closed doors at February's Mobile Word Congress in Spain, and promised in a June presentation to investors in June by Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.

In addition, word of Flash Player 10's forthcoming multi-touch and accelerometer support was leaked by Adobe executives via analyst events and comments on Twitter in July. ARM, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments all have the Flash Player 10 code and are busy optimizing it for their processors and platforms, says Adobe.

Open Screen Project tops 50 members

In today's announcement, Adobe credited the development of Flash Player 10 to the continuing success of its Open Screen Project (OSP), announced last year with a charter to deliver a consistent runtime environment across multiple devices using Flash. Now, the company added, Google has joined the "close to 50" other industry player who are part of the project.

Sundar Pichai, VP of product management at Google, stated, "We are excited to join Adobe and other industry leaders in the Open Screen Project. This initiative supports our common goal to move the Web forward as a platform and to spur innovation in the industry through technology such as Adobe Flash."

David Wadhwani, GM and VP of Adobe's platform business unit, stated, "With Flash Player moving to new mobile platforms, users will be able to experience virtually all Flash technology based Web content and applications wherever they are. We are excited about the broad collaboration of close to 50 industry leaders in the Open Screen Project and the ongoing collaboration with 19 out of the top 20 handset manufacturers worldwide. It will be great to see first devices ship with full Flash Player in the first half of next year."

Flash Lite

Adobe's Flash 10 for mobile devices will apparently require an ARM11 or Cortex-A processor to run. However, Adobe also continues to offer Flash Lite, a mobile version of the Flash Player that's said to support .FLV video and .SWF vector graphics formats, and to run on hardware as modest as a 200MHz ARM9 processor. More than one billion devices now feature Flash Lite, according to Adobe, and plug-in versions have been licensed by companies including Opera Software, for Opera Mobile 9.5.

The Flash Player 10.1 beta running on Palm's WebOS-based Pre

Source: Adobe (clock to play)

iPhone support

As noted earlier in this story, Adobe has been unable to say when its Flash Player will become available on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices. "The Apple iPhone SDK license terms do not allow runtime interpreted code, so Adobe is not able to deliver Flash Player in Safari on the iPhone without support from Apple," Adobe stated today.

However, Adobe added, it will soon be possible to use a version of the company's Flash Professional CS5 authoring tool to create stand-alone iPhone/iPod Touch applications using Flash. Developers will be able to take the same code that would run in Adobe's AIR or Flash Player runtimes, and export it as a compiled iPhone app at the push of a button, the company promises. 

Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe, stated, "The engineering teams at Adobe have succeeded in bringing the latest Flash technology to the iPhone, opening the way for the Flash community to deploy to the App Store. When Apple is ready to bring the full Web browsing experience to iPhone users, we'll be ready to bring Flash Player to Safari." 


Beta versions of Flash Player 10 will be available for the Palm WebOS (Palm Pre and Palm Pixi) "later this year," with Android support available in early 2010, according to Adobe. More information on the Flash platform may be found on the company's website, here.

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