Flash To Hit Smartphones By 2010

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With the launch of Flash 10.1 Adobe is boasting Flash support soon to be added to a number of smartphones and mobile devices.

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The BBC is reporting that Adobe is to push a full-featured version of Flash to most “higher-end” handsets by 2010, which means the next couple of months should see those manufacturers who manage to be ahead of the curve touting Flash compatibility on their various smartphones.

If nothing else, this will open up a rich world of web-based applications and video to users with devices capable of handling the content. It’ll also stand as one of the biggest points against Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch lines. While the iPhone and iPod Touch both support YouTube, Flash support in Apple’s mobile version of its Safari browser has been a noticeable omission.

For now, some of the most compelling evidence for the latest version of Flash has been in a video demoing the new version of Flash on Palm’s Pre, which you can check out over at Engadget. The Pre won’t be the only big name either, with Google and Nokia already signed up for mobile versions of Flash.

With so many competitors supporting the new plugin, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds to the fact that iPhone users will be finding the Flash cupboard bare, so to speak, while other smartphones are having Flash support rolled out over the coming months. While it might not seem too big a deal, there are plenty of uses for Flash outside YouTube, and unless something changes then a lack of Flash support could be one area where Apple starts to feel the pinch acutely.

Still, the folks at Adobe seem optimistic about it, with Adobe’s Anup Muraka telling the BBC that, “As momentum builds, I think Apple will have little choice but to embrace it.”

For us, the real question is how well Flash can be kept up to date on mobile platforms where people, especially given the standard of data plans in the Irish market, will be understandably shy of downloading updates. If the process of updating Flash plugins on mobile devices is as disruptive on the desktop, it could well be the case that mobile Flash users end up using dated versions of Flash quite quickly, especially given the volume of desktop users who find themselves in the same situation. It’ll be interesting to see how Adobe handles the update process for mobile Flash, but there’s been no word on it yet.

If you’re interested in more details you should check out the BBC’s article on the upcoming mobile versions of Flash for smartphones.

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