Is Flash on the iPhone FINALLY arriving?

On March 18, Adobe revealed its plans to begin development on an iPhone ready version of its proprietary media player, Flash. This came after Apple’s release of an iPhone software developer’s kit or SDK. There has been an ongoing controversy over how and when Flash, a now internet staple, would be supported by the popular handheld device.

Current Flash technology is said to be “too slow to be useful” by Steve Jobs, and no faster or lighter version exists which will provide much value to the Web experience on an iPhone. So the question arises, how will this middle man solution affect not only iPhones but the technology used on PC’s and Mac’s currently? If a faster, lighter version can be created for iPhones, why not create it for traditional Web browsing? Also, if Apple continues to demand only standalone applications in its guidelines, how will they handle the long agonized over Flash plug-in? There are many more questions to be answered before the iPhone can compare to traditional internet browsing in terms of interactivity and impact; all the things that Flash enables on the Web.

2 thoughts on “Is Flash on the iPhone FINALLY arriving?

  1. As I understand it… If Adobe’s Flash Player is brought to Apple’s iPhone using the SDK, it will not be integrated in the Safari Web browser. The SDK allows applications to run independently on the iPhone, but not in conjunction with any other application. Once the user leaves that application by switching to another application, answering a phone call, going over to the iPod functionality on the phone, that application is immediately shut down by iPhone’s OS. Therefore, it is possible you could get Flash to run through an application such as Adobe AIR, but not something that is integrated with the Safari Web browser.

    Another issue deals with the SDK license which prohibits an application that executes other code. This is the same issue Sun is having when trying to bring Java to the iPhone. Assuming Adobe and Apple can work out the licensing issues and Adobe can build a version of the Flash Player that runs on the iPhone, they would still have to tackle the Safari plug-in issue. Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a way around this issue without Apple proving a firmware update that directly incorporates a Flash Player plug-in.

  2. The Open Screen Project is dedicated to driving consistent rich Internet experiences across televisions, personal computers, mobile devices, and consumer electronics. The Open Screen Project is supported by technology leaders, including Adobe, ARM, Chunghwa Telecom, Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Verizon Wireless, and leading content providers, including BBC, MTV Networks, and NBC Universal, who want to deliver rich Web and video experiences, live and on-demand across a variety of devices.

    The Open Screen Project is working to enable a consistent runtime environment – taking advantage of Adobe® Flash® Player and, in the future, Adobe AIR™ — that will remove barriers for developers and designers as they publish content and applications across desktops and consumer devices, including phones, mobile internet devices (MIDs), and set top boxes. The Open Screen Project will address potential technology fragmentation by allowing the runtime technology to be updated seamlessly over the air on mobile devices. The consistent runtime environment will provide optimal performance across a variety of operating systems and devices, and ultimately provide the best experience to consumers.

    Specifically, this work will include:

    * Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
    * Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
    * Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
    * Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free

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