Adobe Prepping Flash For Smartphones

Adobe introduced Flash Player 10.1 Monday and the latest version of the software places a stronger emphasis on extending the technology to smartphones.

Flash technology is nearly ubiquitous around the Web and it is used by popular sites such as YouTube, Hulu, and MLB.com. But one of the main criticisms of Flash on smartphones is that it is too resource-intensive and can slow down a device or drain its battery.

Adobe has released Flash Lite on a variety of smartphones and feature phones, but it offer limited functionality.

Acknowledging performance issues, Adobe is using graphical hardware acceleration to ease mobile processing demands for the full version of Flash. The company said this has increased rendering performance on mobile over 87%, and it has reduced memory consumption on mobile over 55%. The latest version for mobile has strong device integration which allows Flash developers to use device-specific features such as multi-touch gestures, virtual keyboards, and accelerometers.

Adobe will be releasing a public developer beta for Windows Mobile, Palm webOS, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux later this year. The company also said public betas for Android, BlackBerry, and Symbian mobile devices will hit in early 2010. Adobe expects mobile devices to be released with full Flash support in the first half of next year.

The only major smartphone platform missing from Adobe’s roadmap is the iPhone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said Flash is not good enough for the touch-screen device because of its resource requirements. Additionally, Flash on the iPhone potentially represents a threat to the popular App Store because it enables developers to bypass Apple’s software development kit and just create content with Adobe’s technology. Apple appears to be backing HTML 5 for its mobile platform, which can provide some Flash-like abilities such as video streaming.

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