Schedules of Open Screen Project

There was lot of attention given at Techmeme today to the HTC Hero announcement. I saw a few headlines with ambiguous titles, though, which could confuse readers.

Mobiles with regular Adobe Flash Player 10 capability are expected to begin shipping in volume in 2010. Adobe expects to provide a developer preview version of this engine at the MAX conference in October. Manufacturing partners in the Open Screen Project have already received earlier versions of this work. Current shipments will be using the current version of the mobile-specific profile, Flash Lite 3.1.

We’re in a transition year. Adobe combined mobile and desktop Player teams to pursue this effort early in 2008, and publicly announced the Open Screen Project in May 2008 (more info).

This year we’ll be seeing more mobile Flash capability delivered in the existing mobile profile. (It’s shipping, release-quality software.) Towards the end of this year we’ll start seeing real results of having a common engine across desktop and mobile. But it’s really next year when the volume of this mobile integration starts to become significant.

It’s hard to know precise schedules. Look at the manufacturers involved in the Open Screen Project — their release schedules are their own, and they each make different decisions on when they need to lock down their production schedules, when they make public announcements. I was surprised by the Internet television announcements made in January. These partners have a wide range of interests. We’ll see specific news on their schedules. Best advice may be “Be prepared to be surprised.” ;-)

Some asked today “Why did it say Flash, instead of Flash Lite?” That’s because it’s all now, at base, just “Flash”, whether mobile or desktop, Flash or Flex or AfterEffects or whatever. The ecology is far bigger than a single development workflow or a single delivery channel… we’ve seen a grand unification of the different niches over the past year. The “Flash Lite” version basically boils down to a versioning difference, one which we’ll soon erase. It’s all the same Flash Platform.

But the above is the general schedule. We’re significantly along in development now, working closely with a variety of important partners, and expect to have a public preview later this year, with widespread deployment next year. Until then most shipments will be of the existing mobile version.

The goal is to make it easy to publish to any screen. SWF is first, rendered by Adobe Flash Player, and the goal is to follow this with HTML in AIR. Whichever way you wish to construct a screen, a presentation, an application, a service — it should just run, on any type of digital display device.

Should be a fun ride. :)