Evi one of our techies attended ‘Adobe Flash Camp 2010 in Bucharest’ last Thursday and has come back with some thoughts he wanted to share…
Last week I attend the Adobe Flash Camp in Romania and I received some interesting hints about what to soon expect from Adobe and what effects this would have on our industry.
Flash Player on Mobile device
Mike Chambers, Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform at Adobe, has confirmed that development of Flash for iPhone is dead. (Read more: Adobe throws in the towel on Flash for iPhone).
Adobe Platform Evangelist Lee Brimelow indicated Monday that Adobe’s efforts to bring Flash capabilities to Smartphone’s are a result of substantial support from Apple’s major rivals.
“We are able to get tremendous performance on Android devices because Google and the various handset manufacturers have chosen to work closely with us to provide the best possible experience to the end user,”
Though Brimelow declined to give a precise release date for Flash Player 10.1, recent comments from Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen indicate that it will come in time to help developers release compatible products in the second half of 2010. For example, he told Fox Business News last week that Adobe has a number of excited partners who are working aggressively with the company to bring Flash to their mobile devices.
“So companies like Google and RIM and Palm are going to be releasing versions of Flash on Smartphone’s and tablets in the second half of the year,”
(Ref.: Top Tech News)
Adobe has pretty amazing plans for its Flash Player, especially for its mobile version, it’s not just about actual platform coverage, but development tools that will have new features like hardware accelerated processing, multi-touch and so on, you can already have an idea about new ActionScript language additions if you looking at recently published beta docs. One of the biggest announcements Adobe did last week here is that Flex for Mobile devices would be available somewhere this year, as understood we should expect it somewhere this summer. Adobe obviously had to make this move, especially now when it’s rival Microsoft came up with new Silverlight version and development tools for Windows Mobile 7.
Changes in Video processing
While we are all expecting proper flash video support on mobile devices to appear this summer, Google are to open source On2’s $124.6m video codec (Source: The Register). For so long, video on the Internet was pretty straight forward; you used Adobe Flash, with its 95% plus market share, and that was that. Then things changed. The next Web standard, HTML 5, came along, but it didn’t spell out that Flash or anything else would be the video codec standard.
Then, Apple refused to have anything to do with Flash on its ‘i’ family of devices. Now it seems Google may be open-sourcing the VP8 video codec. Internet video is about to get a lot more complicated (Ref: ComputerWorld).
Whatever its intentions with the On2 codec are, when it comes to the issue of free and open video playback, Google has spent the past few months playing both sides of the fence. Along with Opera and Mozilla, Google attempted to include the free and open Ogg Theora codec as a requirement of the HTML5 video tag. But its Chrome browser uses both Ogg Theora and the patent-tied H.264 codec, and Google has received criticism from the likes of Mozilla for continuing to use Adobe Flash and H.264 on YouTube.
Google could at least balance out its Flash play by open sourcing VP8, a higher quality codec than Ogg. OggTheora is actually based on an earlier incarnation of the On2 codec, VP3. In 2001, On2 opened VP3 under an irrevocable free license.
But that still leaves Apple and Microsoft. Apple uses H.264 with its Safari browser, arguing that Ogg is burdened by scant hardware support and an “uncertain patent landscape,” and one wonders if the “Jobs” cult would apply the same arguments to an open source VP8. Meanwhile, Microsoft just announced that the upcoming Internet Explorer 9 will lean on H.264 as well.
According to company open source guru Chris DiBona, Google has continued to use Flash on YouTube because Ogg can’t match the performance of H.264. But presumably, an open VP8 would solve this alleged performance issue. When On2 introduced VP8 in 2008, it promised “50 per cent bandwidth savings compared to H.264.”