Make no mistake about it: Adobe really needs to get this completely right.
They need to, considering the harsh criticism it has been given for the shipment delays and claims regarding its stability, security, resource usage and whatnot, the majority of the deriding notably coming from Apple chief Steve Jobs.
Adobe can prove Apple's decision to bar Flash from running on some of the world's most popular and capable smartphones and the iPad wrong, but only by doing what it is doing now: by actually shipping Flash for Mobile and showing that it knows how to make it an integral part of the mobile experience, without slowing things down.
Running a bunch of ads, pre-approved demos and canned ‘industry feedback' won't cut it. If Adobe thinks Apple is wrong for blocking Flash from their mobile devices and referring to it as a technology only fit for “PCs and mice”, let them prove it where it really matters: in the hands of phone users all across the globe.
Flash Player 10.1 for Mobile should be available for download today on devices using the latest iteration of Android, version 2.2 aka Froyo (no surprise there). As Adobe writes, devices supporting Android 2.2 and Flash Player 10.1 are expected to include the Dell Streak, Google Nexus One (that one actually already does), HTC Evo, HTC Desire, HTC Incredible, Motorola DROID, Motorola Milestone, Samsung Galaxy S and others.
Once upgraded, smartphones, tablets and other devices can be updated with Flash Player 10.1 over-the-air in a variety of ways, including content triggered downloads, system software updates and on-device app catalogs such as Android Market, Adobe Labs and others.
Adobe says it has shipped also Flash Player to its other device partners, readying its roll-out on BlackBerry, Palm webOS, Windows Phone 7, LiMo, MeeGo, and Symbian phones.
All eyes are now on Adobe. Soon, the real testing will commence and it will continue for a couple more years as Flash Player makes its way to mobile platforms other than Android 2.2. By 2012, Adobe plans to have Flash 10.1 on more than half of all smartphones shipped – assuming no major market share changes.
If Adobe manages to deliver a great product, consumers will be better off and Steve Jobs will become pretty much the only person who continues to badmouth Flash for being a technology of the past rather than the future. If it doesn't, Adobe stands to lose credibility, and face.
That may not sound like much, but it makes a world of difference in the software industry.