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Home Article Listing Flash Beta Coming to WebOS in October

Flash Beta Coming to WebOS in October

In a recent investor relations earnings presentation, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen stated that he expects a beta version of the Flash 10 player to be released to developers in early October of this year. This release will coincide with the Adobe Max conference in LA running between 10/5 and 10/7. Narayen also stated that several partners have already recieved copies of the Flash 10 player for mobile devices and noted specifically that Palm and WebOS are included in that list.

There is a Pre-Conference tutorial on mobile development on Sunday 10/4 before the conference. Perhaps they will make the announcement and release the beta there. It is scheduled to be a conference on Flash Lite - will they change that? We shall see.

This seems to be a much different approach to mobile devices than Adobe has taken in the past. For many years developers for mobile devices have had to develop for a crippled version of the player dubbed "Flash Lite". Clever name, but the truth of the matter is a nightmare of restrictions and legacy code that was placed on the development environment. Not entirely Adobe's fault - mobile devices just don't have the power to run applications like a desktop or laptop.

The following are some thoughts on this and specualtive answers. I have no real inside knowledge, just what I've read from Adobe, the WSJ, CNET, and several years experience developing with Flash.

Will the webOS version of the Flash player be a fully functional version?

Hard to say. Adobe has recently combined the department responsible for the Flash Lite development with the rest of the Flash developers, so there is hope. But again we have to look a processing power - and mobile devices are still the little cousins to the more powerful computing platforms. I will be surprised (plesantly) if it supports all the bells and whistles Flash 10 can offer such as HD video (The bandwidth it would eat. And how will we see that on such a small screen?), and 3D (too much CPU power). But more than likely we will be able to program in ActionScript 3 - which opens up a whole set of opportunites not before seen on mobile devices with Flash.

So what does that mean for webOS users?

Games. Video (think Hulu). Applications. The sky's the limit. Sure there is a bunch of REALLY bad Flash out there. But there is a lot of good Flash as well. When done well, Flash has no equal.

Will Flash developers be able to access the same webOS services and methods that they can with JavaScript?

I would venture to guess yes. From everything we are seeing in the last couple of weeks, Palm has been very open with allowing people to tinker with the OS. Hopefully, Palm will release a set of APIs to give Flash developers this type of access. If not, perhaps they will allow the ExternalInterface class that ActionScript 3 has to communicate to Javascript in the OS.



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