Category Archives: Flash Lite

The future of the Flash Player

I think many will agree that 2010 is going to be the year of mobile and devices. With Android becoming a serious contender and Apple reportedly coming out with some innovative new hardware its no surprise to me that there’s a lot of buzz around the Flash Player and whether or not Adobe will be able to deliver a good experience on mobile platforms.

Enter Flash Player 10.1 – a few years in the making, the engineers are specifically targeting this release for mobile consumption and added critical features like hardware video decoding, GPU graphic acceleration and serious CPU and memory optimizations.

Its fundamentally flawed to compare this Flash Player release with previous versions which were primarily built for use on personal computers with very different constraints in terms of CPU and memory usage. We’re finally seeing the first results of the Open Screen Project — call it a marketing effort if you must — but partners like Google, HTC, Intel, Nokia, Palm, Sony Ericsson and many others have no incentive to support and invest in a sub par technology.

Will it be perfect? Probably not, but we’re getting a hell of a lot closer to a full web experience on the majority of mobile devices.

Enter Flash CS5 – with Apple not playing nice with supporting a Flash Player initiative (or any other plugins for that matter) on the iPhone browser, we’ll now get the next best thing. Exporting native applications from Flash CS5 is going to be an easy way to port Flash content (including accelerometer, geolocation and other new APIs introduced for mobile) to iPhone ARM binaries for distribution on the iTunes store.

 


 
My prediction is this will be good as a way to port typical Flash content to the iPhone, not necessarily an IDE you would want to use for developing iPhone application where you need fine grained access to the underlying code. Objective-C will still be a good choice for your iPhone development, though Flash CS5 will now open up a very approachable development environment for the iPhone to Windows users.

Moving beyond just mobile phones, the Flash Platform is reaching out and the Flash Player is being used on set top boxes, digital television, on board computers on cars and boats, even user interfaces for refrigerators and microwaves.

 
What bothers me is how all sense of pragmatism seems to be lost on some bloggers. Wanting the Flash Player to die because of the unfounded believe that its not supportive of an “open web”, not SEO friendly or claiming that its been made obsolete by HTML5 (which will incidently take at least half a decade to come even close to being supported on the percentage of web users that the Flash Player can target now). A full decade of Flash content out on the web and 90% of video is not going to go away.

I am not an Adobe employee (though I am involved in their community programs), call me biased but I’m incredibly excited about what is in store for Flash support on mobile and what it promises for user experience. But more importantly I’m not ready to dismiss new technology before getting a chance to play around with it, a view I wish more people would share.

 

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Flash on Android

This morning Adobe announced that the HTC Hero phone will be the first Android based phone to support Flash. Adrian Ludwig did a nice video showing off some of the features.

 
http://tv.adobe.com/Embed.swf
 

Its important to note that, while it is not explicitly said, this is in fact Flash Lite 3.1 running on the phone not a full version of Flash Player 10. Last week, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen did announce there will be a developer release of Flash Player 10 for mobile made available at the MAX conference in October.

Initial platforms that they want to target is smartphones running Symbian, webOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

This is all part of the Open Screen Project, which HTC has now also signed up to. The Open Screen Project is a collaborative effort between different hardware, software and distribution partners to bring a single unified platform across mobile, devices and desktop.

I think its worth setting expectations, while we might be moving towards a unified cross-device runtime that does not mean you will necessarily be able to just run anything you have on the desktop on any mobile device. I’m sure there will still be a need in many cases to optimize for different platforms.

A “developer release” as is scheduled in October will likely still be very rough around the edges. More likely 2010 will be the year where we’ll get the real breakthrough with Flash on mobile and devices.
 

Flash Platform Round Table Discussion

What do you get when you put Stefan Richter, Mike Jones, Dave Williamson, James Whittaker, Bola Roibi and Andrew Shorten in the same room?

An interesting discussion on the power of the Flash community and some of the new challenges the Flash Platform faces, that’s what!

 
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3924836&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

(via Serge Jespers)
 

Adobe's Rich Internet Applications Roadmap

There’s quite a bit of interesting info in this video recording on Adobe’s Rich Internet Applications Roadmap. Particularly note the focus areas for 2009 with Flash Player “Argo” and “Stratos”, the plans for mobile and devices and ideas for AIR extensibility.

  
http://tv.adobe.com/Embed.swf

  

Adobe MAX Awards 2008 – Milan

Congratulations to Thomas Joos and Boulevart for winning in the develop category of the European Adobe MAX awards. There was some serious competition but they pulled it off with their “Rock Werchter Mobile Guide” Flash Lite mobile application, ported to the iPhone.

In case you weren’t there, here’s a recording of the develop section of the award show.
 

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2415697&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1
 

The full MAX awards recording will soon be available on www.actionscripthero.org.
 

Adobe MAX Milan Flash Lite Game

Thomas “the Flash Lite wiz” Joos and the guys at Boulevart created a great little game for MAX Milan. Be sure to check it out and you might even win some really cool prizes!

More information here: http://labs.boulevart.be/index.php/max-milan-shooter/
 

SWFPack beta released

Kuneri SWFPackI was happy to hear the Kuneri SWFPack beta has been released to the public today, a web-based tool that allows you to very easily package up Flash Lite content to a SIS (NFL, CAB and DRM support is planned).

All basic Flash Lite packaging features are free of charge, they do plan on adding some extra commerical options later on. SWFPack allows you to generate signed or unsigned SIS files, you just upload a SWF or ZIP file (for projects that include multiple files and folders) and press Done.

I’ll definitely be giving this tool at try really soon, packaging has always been one of the major obstacles holding me back from doing more Flash Lite authoring.

www.swfpack.com