Flash for smartphones: Still coming soon

Unable to find love from Apple’s iPhone or Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series, Adobe’s taking Flash to the loving arms of Android, Nokia and Palm, and it’ll be ready for primetime this year.

According to ComputerWorld, Flash 10 will finally reach consumers’ smartphones by year-end. Windows Phones will eventually include Flash as well, but not at first.

The road to running Flash on smartphones has been a long one. Last October, Adobe announced that Flash 10.1 would be smartphone-friendly, but one Adobe employee speculated that Web applications such as Hulu wouldn’t be possible on smartphones for another six months, as developers test Flash and gather feedback. Now, a full release of Flash seems even further away. Adobe’s Anup Murarka told Computerworld that there’s still a lot of engineering work to be done.


Flash has also been under a lot of scrutiny lately due to its omission from Apple’s iPhone and iPad, which launches next month. After revealing the iPad, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs reportedly dissed Flash at a company event, calling it buggy and saying Adobe was lazy. The result was a debate in the tech blogosphere over Flash’s relevance as Web developers create alternate sites to accommodate the iPhone, and as new multimedia standards, such as HTML5, become more popular.

Still, much of the Web uses Flash, and that’s hard to ignore as Adobe and other companies show off what it can do. For example, NVidia has been demonstrating Flash on Android tablets this week using its Tegra chip. In one video, the popular Facebook game Farmville runs pretty smoothly. Google product manager Eric Tseng also demonstrated a Flash video on an Android phone at Mobile World Congress this week. PC World says he had trouble at first, as the convention’s jammed Wi-Fi made for long buffering times, but eventually a movie trailer played on the phone without issue.

I hope Adobe can work out whatever hurdles they find in bringing Flash to smartphones, and that the platform gets better and less buggy as a result. There’s just too much Flash content out there that smartphone owners should be able to see.