Adobe is planning to launch a version of its Flash software that will work with smartphones by the end of this year, revealed the firm’s chief technology officer, Kevin Lynch, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week. Lynch said that the firm has made deals with chip designers and phone makers and offered incentives to developers to write programs for mobile devices that use the software. “Smartphones are where the game is now,” commented Lynch. Adobe will launch a trial version of Flash that works with smartphone operating systems from the likes of Palm, Google (Android) and Nokia this year. However, the firm has yet to announce a timetable to support Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry platforms. In the case of Apple, Lynch noted that the hold-up was not for technical reasons. “We need to have Apple’s agreement before we can do it,” Lynch said. Apple CEO Steve Jobs had reportedly earlier said that Flash was “too slow” to run on the iPhone.
The new initiative will allow the same version of Flash that works on PCs to work on smartphones, rather than via ‘Flash Lite,’ the version of Flash for mobile devices developed by the firm some years ago. The report notes that tapping the smartphone market is now increasingly vital for the company, which has been hit hard by the recession with sales dropping 12 percent in the first quarter. In May 2008, Adobe launched the Open Screen Project, a group of more than 25 companies including handset makers and content creators, which committed to making Flash run on different devices, while – in February – Adobe and Nokia created a US$10 million fund for developers who create applications for mobile devices using Flash.