Adobe’s recent announcement on its Open Screen Project is a move the graphics software maker is making to get its Flash Technology deeply entrenched in the mobile internet experience. The stupendous success of Apple’s iPhone and the great mobile internet experience that it delivers have accelerated Adobe’s decision to bring major changes to its Flash Model by way of the Open Screen Project.
The salient points of the initiative are (Adobe):
* 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
The project is backed by major technology and mobile equipment makers such as ARM, Chunghwa Telecom, Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Verizon Wireless.
That Apple does not support Flash on its iPhone has been cause for some disappointment for internet users but in no way has it hampered the use of internet on the device. The new initiative could see Flash as a part of the next release. Adobe desperately wants to gain a foothold in the mobile devices space akin to what it enjoys in the desktop front. While 98% of desktops support Flash, on mobile devices it comes to around 30% only.
Am important part of the initiative it to roll out updates to devices as and when available so that the most uptodate runtime environment is made available. This seeks to address the issue of fragmentation on the mobile platform as well. With Microsoft’s Silverlight and Google’s Android also coming to fruition, it is being questioned whether the move from Adobe may be a tad too late.
An excerpt from Yahoo News:
Admittedly, Adobe’s Open Screen program falls well short of making Flash an open-source technology, but the elimination of licensing fees and access to some of the program’s specifications will make the software more attractive even to the geeks behind Android.
Far from solving the issue of fragmentation, it will have to be seen who manages to get the backing of most developers.
An excerpt from ZDNet:
“The strategic decision to base the iPhone/Touch SDK on XCode is going to turn out to be a real boon for Apple’s platform strategy as even more engineers get on the bandwagon,” he continued.
Will Apple and Mozilla (and maybe Google) be able to stand up to the Adobe Flash/Air combo and Microsoft’s Silverlight? Will this consortium tip the balance towards one or the other directions?
What is most certain is that Adobe is eager to grab a big share in the mobile internet devices experience and entrench its AIR/Flash platform at the heart of the mobile internet. But from a developer’s perspective, will this really put an end to the question of fragmentation?