Adobe (s adbe) today released developer betas of Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0 and said it plans to extend full Flash support to mobile devices next year. It’s a move that could go a long way toward improving the user experience on the wireless web.
Flash 10.1, which was unveiled last month, is designed to run on platforms including Google’s (s goog) Android, Research In Motion’s (s rimm) BlackBerry, Microsoft’s (s msft) Windows Mobile, Nokia’s (s nok) Symbian and Palm’s (s palm) webOS. Today’s beta releases are limited to devices running Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems, however. Flash 10.1 is expected to be available “across a broad spectrum of smartphones” and other connected devices next year, the company said.
“With the beta availability of Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 today, we are taking an important step toward realizing the Open Screen Project vision to enable rich Internet experiences across any device, anywhere,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “Content creators will provide multi-screen experiences with uncompromised Web browsing and standalone applications across desktops and netbooks, and in the near future across a wide range of mobile devices.”
While Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone was once again conspicuously absent from Adobe’s announcement, Adobe has consistently said it has a working relationship with the Cupertino company and would like to bring Flash to the iPhone. (Both of Adobe’s new beta releases support multi-touch input.)
Flash is the centerpiece of Adobe’s Open Screen Project, an 18-month-old initiative aimed at bridging the substantial gaps that remain between the “PC web” and other platforms such as mobile and consumer devices. The lack of support for Flash on mobile devices has been a substantial problem on the wireless web, leading to user experiences on phones that can be vastly different — and oftentimes inferior — from traditional computers. Bringing the technology to a wide variety of mobile phones would be a big step toward the “one web” that today is just a dream for most wireless users.