Flash Player (Still) in the Works for Apple’s iPhone

According to appleinsider.com, "Adobe has started development of a Flash player suitable for use on Apple Inc.'s iPhone." The reason for the delay, according to CEO Steve Jobs, was technological limitations. Jobs said the Flash player is "too slow to be useful" on the iPhone and that Adobe's Flash Lite is "not capable of being used with the Web." While Flash Lite is very limited compared to the power of the desktop Flash Player, Jobs' statement can be interpreted as something other than underhanded. Should we just accept it at face value, though? I'm not so sure. Microsoft announced recently that it has licensed Flash Lite so that Flash applications can run on Windows mobile devices along side Microsoft's own Silverlight player. Verizon is working with Adobe to create a developer center for developing Flash applications on Verizon mobile devices. In fact, according to adobe.com, 500 million mobile devices have shipped with Adobe Flash Lite software to-date. The efforts and progress seem to shed a slightly different light. There has been much speculation since the release of the iPhone in June 2007 as to whether there was going to be a Flash player at all. YouTube videos, normally streamed with the Flash player, are streamed on the iPhone through a special player that forced YouTube to convert most of its library to the Quicktime player's standard h.264 format. Recently, many developers have become frustrated by the limitation of the Apple SDK. While developing the player, Adobe ran into many dead ends with the already tightly limited developer SDK. According to Adobe, the only way they will be able to get the player working is to collaborate with Apple directly. Why is there so much buzz over whether the iPhone, with its roughly 6 percent market share, will adopt the Flash Player? Perhaps it is because the iPhone, with its sleek look and brilliant UI, promises little to no technical limitations. We need to remember, however, that the iPhone is still a phone, and, as such, requires different thinking and approaches. We also need to remember, emotions aside, the outcome of this could produce a better piece of technology that will ultimately improve the Flash player, iPhone, and web experience as a whole.
Erik Olson

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Posted in Article Category: #Design & Content
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