Adobe's Flash software is widely used for everything from browser video playback, interactive Web sites and video games. But why is a full version still not available for smart phones? The San Jose software company has been trying to expand into this flourishing market for over a year, and still cannot offer an iPhone or Blackberry version of this ubiquitous tool. Adobe has been collaborating with chip designers and cell phone manufacturers while offering cash to developers to use the Flash platform. "Smart phones are where the game is now," says Kevin Lynch, Adobe's chief technology officer, in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. "Our chips are on the table. We've made our bets."
Its an important move to concentrate on the handset format: the PC market has dropped 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, while smart phones sales have increased thirteen percent to 36 million units. Previous efforts in the form of Flash Lite made $115 million in the 2008 fiscal year, a fair amount but still just a fraction of Adobe's $3.6 billion in annual sales.
Later this year, Adobe will be releasing a trial version of Flash for phones running Palm, Google, or Nokia operating systems. But Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry still have no Flash version queued up.
According to Ben Worthen's article , this effort to move to the smaller screen comes at a critical time for Adobe. Sales have dropped twelve percent, and Flash has been a dependable revenue generator for the company, as well as for Flash's previous developer, RIP Macromedia.
Apple's lack of support is a contributing factor to Flash absence on the iPhone: Steve Jobs deemed it too slow and Flash Lite too limited, but its glaring omission has been met with consistent customer objection.
The Open Screen Project launched by Adobe in May 2008 is made up of 25 companies that are working to bring Flash to as many operating systems as possible.