Adobe took the wraps off its latest and most versatile version of its Flash Player to date earlier today. The newly announced Flash 10.1 software will be available “for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other Internet-connected devices, allowing content created using the Adobe Flash Platform to reach users wherever they are.” It’s kind of a big deal.
Version 10.1 represents the first Flash iteration that will work on just about any computing device floating around meatspace. More importantly (at least to us) is the freshly announced support for just about every mobile OS platform on the market, except you know whose (more on that below).
According to the official release:
A public developer beta of the browser-based runtime is expected to be available for Windows® Mobile, Palm® webOS and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux later this year. Public betas for Google® Android™ and Symbian® OS are expected to be available in early 2010. In addition, Adobe and RIM announced a joint collaboration to bring Flash Player to Blackberry® smartphones[.]
In other words, by the end of Q1 2010, we should see Flash running on WinMo, webOS, Android, Symbian, and BlackBerry mobile devices. This is pretty huge. Regardless of what anyone thinks about Flash, it has clearly become a major Web standard over the years. Its presence has been noticeably absent from mobile browsers, forcing developers to create workarounds or avoid including particular features from their mobile sites all together.
But with 10.1, these issues should become history. Not to mention, the upcoming Flash Player has purportedly been designed to maximize today’s (and tomorrow’s) cutting-edge mobile hardware.
New mobile-ready features that take advantage of native device capabilities include support for multi-touch, gestures, mobile input models, accelerometer and screen orientation bringing unprecedented creative control and expressiveness to the mobile browsing experience.
However, once all the dust had settled earlier this morning, there was still one mobile platform that had not yet joined the party – iPhone OS. But then again, we already knew that to be the case. Until Apple learns to play nice with others (er, at least Adobe), it should no longer claim to offer access to the “full Internet” via its iDevices.
In any case, like any new hardware or software claims made these days, the jury is definitely still out until we see some solid evidence to support Adobe’s puffery. The promise of mobile access to “virtually all Flash technology based Web content and applications wherever they are” sounds fantastic. Now we’ll just have to wait and see.