Tuesday, 16 February 2010 12:33

Adobe bringing Flash to LiMo

Adobe has joined the LiMo Foundation and will develop a version of Flash for the mobile platform.

The LiMo Foundation aims to provide an open and consistent Linux-based mobile platform for phones and other devices.

The founder members are NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Panasonic, Samsung and Vodafone, and the roster has grown to include other carriers, hardware manufacturers and software developers including ARM, Ericsson, Huawei, LG, Marvell, McAfee, Motorola, Mozilla, Opera, and Verizon.

More than 40 handsets have been launched.

Demand for Flash on handsets comes from two directions. Content creators already familiar with Adobe's tools would like to be able to extend their reach to as many devices as possible. Indeed, one of the key messages behind Adobe's Flash marketing to developers was the very high proportion of desktop and notebook PCs that were equipped to run Flash content.

The other side of the coin are the users that expect to be able to use Flash content on their phones so they get the same view of the web as they do from a PC.

What form will Flash support for LiMo take? Please read on.

The pro/anti Flash argument is probably most obvious among iPhone owners. Apple seems to be holding out against Flash on the iPhone, though last year Adobe announced tools for building standalone iPhone and iPod touch (and now presumably iPad) apps using Flash.

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch also promised the company would deliver the ability to run Flash web content directly on the iPhone "when Apple is ready to bring the fill Web browsing experience to iPhone users".

But back to LiMo. Foundation executive director Morgan Gillis said "our objective is to empower large communities of developers to flourish freely on LiMo Platform as it is deployed widely by leading operators and vendors."

"We are extremely pleased that Adobe as a true leader in application platforms that are enabling developers to bring rich new cinematic experiences to users across a range of screen formats has decided to join LiMo," added Gillis.

It sounds as if Adobe may be taking a similar approach to LiMo as it has with iPhone OS: company officials said the plan is to "enable application developers and designers to leverage Adobe Creative Suite and other Adobe authoring tools to create applications that will run on diverse handsets powered by LiMo Platform."

No specific indication was given of when LiMo support would arrive in the Adobe toolset.

Existing LiMo partners welcome Adobe - see page 3.

David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, of Adobe's Flash platform business said "Bringing the Flash Platform to LiMo opens up a significant opportunity for Adobe to further its goals of open standards and multi-screen interoperability of rich mobile content."

Existing LiMo Foundation members welcomed Adobe.

Samsung Electronics vice president SP Yoon said "Samsung welcomes Adobe's decision to join LiMo in order to contribute to the evolution of the LiMo Platform."

Noting the growing importance of the viewing experience on mobile devices, Yoon added "I expect that LiMo can strengthen its multimedia capability thanks to Adobe's participation."

Similarly, NTT DoCoMo's Kiyohito Nagata (who is also the Foundation's chairman) noted "Adobe's technology shall enable the LiMo Platform to provide consistent runtime environment across a variety of LiMo devices, allowing millions of developers and designers to distribute content to consumers worldwide much more easily than they can today."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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