The State of Flash on Mobile Devices

Today, Macromedia is announcing the availability of Macromedia Flash lite 1.1 on KDDI handsets in conjunction with KDDI’s “au Service”. Flash Lite will power several applications in KDDI’s “au Service,” including the browser-based EZ Portal, screensavers, and portions of the phone’s user interface. Manufactures including SonyEricsson, Sanyo, and Kyocera will deliver Flash enabled handsets for the au Service in July.

But that’s not all. Macromedia is also announcing the availability of a Flash Lite 1.1 Content Development Kit (CDK) for au Service. Developers can use the kit to start creating and testing content for the upcoming platforms. The CDK also includes examples and tutorials.

But wait, there’s more! Macromedia has also just published several Developer Center articles on Flash Lite development:

So where does this announcement leave Flash on devices? In a pretty good position, I think. Check out the Macromedia Mobile and Device Developer Center for details on supported platforms, and tons of articles, tutorials and developer kits. And personally, I think this is just the beginning.

10 Responses to The State of Flash on Mobile Devices

  1. Uhm… “pretty good position”? There’s still only Flash 6 support on the pocket PC.

  2. I actually think Flash Player 6 support is pretty good. The mobile players are always a little behind the desktop players since we obviously want to start with our biggest audiences (just like the Linux player is always behind the WIndows player, but eventually it always gets released). You’ll find the same thing with other mobile platforms like Java.

  3. i’m pretty skeptical. I think the lack of any recent updates for the flash player combined with the hefty price on the stand alone player are driving people toward .NET for pocket pc app development.

  4. Alias Cummins says:

    Any sign of a Symbian series 60 player?

  5. Nick Gerig says:

    There is actually not much difference between Flash player 6 and 7 when it comes to features. So I dont think its a massive problem when it comes to PPC. The only big one would be the performance issue. It took about a year from the release of FP6 to the release of FP6 for PPC anyway.As for Flash Lite its still only in Japan!! I wish MM would stop showing flash lite on Nokia 3650 – its been happening for over 2 years and there is still no player available for nokia 3650 users. The state of Flash Lite is that you cannot use it at all unless u live in Japan – end of story. Hopefully that will soon change.

  6. “Hopefully that will soon change.” – Nothing is going to change until Macromedia changes the way they are distributing the player. Flash-Lite in Japan has been big news because of the content developed for it but there is a HUGE divide between how the Japanese mobile market and the rest of the world operate. For instance, i-mode traffic in Japan is worth an estimated $8 billion per year – that’s some incentive to licence third party players such as Flash-Lite… But anywhere else, and particularly in the US, the mobile data market isn’t so well developed.And with no player being released for this market (because no-one has licensed it) there are no compelling reasons for people to develop for it, or other operators/content owners/handset manufacturers to license it. If we (as developers – remember us?) had something amazing to go and show our contacts at Vodafone or Orange or Nokia then you may find a superb uptake in licensing said player – but that isn’t going to happen until the player license model changes…I don’t know what Macr’s ideas are behind this. I’d like to think that it’s not just paranoia about not exploiting the potential as much as possible by licensing the player in this way. Certainly, this model isn’t the one that put them into the position they are now with regard to the main PC OS players and gave them a 97+% player ubiquity. I think it would have been much smarter to release the player non-commercially, let the developers (I’m sure someone remembers us…) build content and show it off to our buddies in the above mentioned industries (we do have friends outside of Flash you know…) and wow them with the whole potential of what can be achieved with this amazing product thus leading them to license the player on a commercial basis for a major roll-out of content on their particular homestead in the mobile internet…After all, the kind of people we’re talking about here – Nokia, Orange, Vodafone, Hutchinson, Sony/Ericsson, Sagem etc, etc – aren’t likely to abuse a non-commercially licensed product are they? But given the Flash community’s prowess at developing really cool apps and stuff that would end up being shown to the big guys and, in turn, standing a chance of becoming a commercial reality, I simply can’t work out why it’s been released like this.Sorry, but until someone clearly demonstrates to me otherwise, I’m convinced that Macr has completely shot themselves in the foot with this one. The HUGE potential of having this new space being dominated from day one with their player technology is on the verge of being wasted. Clearly, having a department (Mobile and Devices etc) headed up by someone who ‘should’ have a clear understanding of the mobile space outside of Japan hasn’t injected enough thinking into this process to make it the worldwide success it could be.And, as a LONG-time friend of Macr in both Europe and the US you have no idea how much it pains me to write this stuff, but as someone who wants to use my skills and knowledge of mobile usage I’m far more turned on by SVG Tiny opportunites than Flash Lite ones since the recent release of all of this by Macr.:(

  7. Thanks for the comments, Pete. I am going to pass these along to the mobile team. I’ll post the response here.Christian

  8. thanks Christan, sorry to rant here – I know this probably isn’t the right place, but I saw your post about the Japan launch and kinda jumped on it…

  9. iS says:

    I couldn’t agree more Pete. MM has wasted a very good opportunity to make Flash become the application of choice when building interfaces for mobile devices.J2ME had time to mature and will become the best technology to build mobile applications. Much more powerfull that this crippled Flash for devices.Flash Lite should have been released when the P800 was launched (end of 2002). We need more than flash 4 actionscript to build real applications for mobile devices today.Do we really need Flash Lite so that we will be able to watch little animations on mobile phones? Seems to me that this will bring back the “Flash: 99% bad” motto

  10. leocrawf Stewart says:

    I recently found a program called GoDB 3.4. it allows developers to develope serious data driven applications that can run on the pc, pocket pc, palm, even the linux based pda. i think that is a good thing for deveopers who have serious data projects in mind, and a bad thing for flash and mobile devices, seeing that one application can run on any device without problems without any embedded player such as flash player. I must say however that flash has more to offer because it can integrate data plus multi media like content. The only draw back is supported devices(Only pocket pc and some sony pda support flash at this time).