Adobe preps full Flash player for smartphones

Apple iPhone, RIM BlackBerry remain holdouts

One is technical. "Adobe wants Flash to run really well. To get high performance, you need to run in the lower layers of the OS or phone," Gold said. Windows Mobile, Nokia's Symbian and Googles Android are relatively open to that, but OSes such as those on the BlackBerry and iPhone are not, he said.

The other reason, at least with Apple, is business. "Apple wants to push its own technology, in this case, QuickTime," Gold said. "It has its own interests at heart. Look at how long it took to get Flash onto Macs. I honestly don't think you will see Flash on the iPhone anytime soon."

Adobe said last fall that it would bring a browser-based version of the full Flash player to smartphones for the first time.

The company has long developed a cut-down version of Flash, Flash Lite, for regular cellphones and their more powerful smartphone brethren.

Flash Lite is said to be spreading like wildfire, according to third-party statistics released by Adobe today.

Feature-wise, Flash Lite lags behind the desktop version of Flash by several years, especially with multimedia streaming features..

Jobs' criticism, combined with the increased power of modern smartphones, motivated Adobe to bring a full Flash player to smartphones.

Such mobile computing power also allows developers to bring applications they have written to run for Flash on a PC to a smartphone with fewer compromises.

To further encourage this, Adobe and Nokia plan to give away US$10 million to developers with ideas for Flash services and applications that can run on a smartphone as well as TV set-top boxes and PCs. (Developers can apply at the Open Screen Project Fund's Web site .

With more applications, Flash compatibility may become increasingly attractive to holdouts such as RIM and Apple.

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Eric Lai

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