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Mobile Flash to tap multi-touch, accelerometers

Jul 22, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Adobe's “full desktop” Flash Player 10 for smartphones, including Linux-based Android and Palm Pre models, will offer support for multi-touch and accelerometer features, says an industry report. Flash Player 10 should be available in beta by the end of the year, says the story.

The news was leaked by Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch at an analyst event yesterday, says a story on ReadWriteWeb. The "full-featured version of Flash for mobile phones" mentioned in the story appears to be the same "full desktop" ARM-compatible Flash Player 10 that Adobe revealed last month. The software will be available in beta by the end of this year, with smartphones incorporating the technology early next year, according to author Marhsall Kirkpatrick.

Bits and pieces of an Adobe presentation were spilled over Twitter, with Redmonk's James Governor, whose firm consults with Adobe, tweeting as follows: "[Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch] says beta for mobile Flash, unmodified, by end of 09, for embedding in early '10 multitouch, accelerometer." Ted Patrick, Adobe's senior manager of Developer Communities, chimed in with his own tweet, writing, "I think we will see Flash on different devices support the soul of the device in capabilities and APIs (multitouch/accel/gps/etc)."

Kirkpatrick writes that he later spoke with Governor, and quotes him as saying that the technology will "really get interesting" when Flash Builder (previously called Flex Builder) integrates mobile features like accelerometer and multi-touch into its development environment.

Adobe has not publicly announced such a move, but Governor seemed to think it was a logical development, saying, "If Adobe can simplify access to this functionality for new interaction models then it can, through tools, democratize sophisticated development on these platforms."

As indicated in our previous coverage, Adobe revealed last month that ARM, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments all had the Flash Player 10 code and were optimizing it for their processors and platforms. Adobe also suggested that the technology was dependent in part on the continuing success of its Open Screen Project, announced last year with a charter to deliver a consistent runtime environment across multiple devices using Flash.

Palm Pre
(Click for details

Apple and RIM bide their time

According to Kirkpatrick, Adobe CTO Lynch used only Android phones for his demo, although Adobe stated a month ago that Palm's Linux-based Palm Pre, as well as Windows Mobile and Nokia's Symbian, would also be supported. RIM's Blackberry and Apple's iPhone were not on the list, and according to Kirkpatrick, Adobe executives indicated that at least with the iPhone, that decision was still "up to Apple."

Meanwhile DigitalBeat's Anthony Ha reports receiving received a confirmation from Adobe about the story, reiterating the same list of supported platforms mentioned above, and confirming that Flash Player 10 will include "multi-touch (to allow users to easily interact with dynamic content) and accelerometer support (to understand the orientation of the device)."

Ha went on to speculate that the technology could help shift the balance of power away from the iPhone's native app approach to a web-based paradigm, similar to the one being espoused by Google for Chrome OS. If a Flash app on a website knows how to interact with your smartphone's accelerometers and multi-touch capability, then users may not need to spend so much money at the Apple AppStore, suggests Ha. No wonder, then, that Apple, whose phone still has the only true multi-touch capability around, is mulling this one over.


The ReadWriteWeb story on Flash Player 10 may be found here, and DigitalBeat's confirmation story should be here.

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