Flash finally coming to iPhone--more or less

Adobe Systems announced its Adobe Flash Platform is finally coming to Apple's iPhone, although it will not arrive in its customary web browser plug-in format--instead, Adobe will enable coders to create iPhone and iPod touch applications via its Flash Professional CS5 developer tool. According to Adobe, Flash Professional CS5--scheduled to be released in public beta later this year--leverages the same source code used to deliver applications across desktops and devices for Flash Platform runtimes, enabling developers to create applications using Flash authoring tools for subsequent export to the App Store. "When Apple is ready to bring the full web browsing experience to iPhone users, we'll be ready to bring Flash Player to Safari," said Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch in a prepared statement. Flash Professional CS5 is additionally slated to include a new text engine, enhanced capabilities for team collaboration, prebuilt code snippets for to enable interactive features and integration with Adobe Flash Builder for advanced ActionScript editing.  

Adobe has long aspired to bring Flash to the iPhone--this summer, Lynch told The Wall Street Journal that the software firm has assigned engineering teams to all major smartphones, but its absence from the iPhone platform had little to do to with technological challenges: "We need to have Apple's agreement before we can do it," Lynch said. In March 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs contended the iPhone requires a media player more robust than the existing Flash mobile solution.

In related Adobe news, the company announced the introduction of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other web-connected devices, promising a consistent runtime release enabling uncompromised web browsing across multiple platforms. According to Adobe, the browser-based Flash Player 10.1 runtime uses the productive web model of the Flash Platform to enable designers and developers to reuse code and assets, effectively slashing the cost of creating, testing and deploying content across different operating systems and browsers. In addition, it leverages the power of the Graphics Processing Unit to accelerate video and graphics while conserving battery life and minimizing resource utilization. Flash Player 10.1 also boasts support for smartphone features including multi-touch, gestures, mobile input models, accelerometer and screen orientation.

Public developer betas of the browser-based runtime optimized for Windows Mobile, Palm's webOS and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux will surface later this year--public betas for Android and Symbian will follow in early 2010. In addition, Adobe and Research In Motion announced a joint collaboration to bring Flash Player to BlackBerry smartphones, while Google will join close to 50 other industry players in the Adobe-led Open Screen Project initiative.

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