Forget the debate over desiring Adobe Flash on Apple’s mobile platform — Flash isn’t landing on existing Windows Mobile (s msft) handsets, either. The news is an about-face on Adobe’s (s adbe) part, as it originally planned to deliver Flash 10.1 to Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. Adobe’s Open Screen Project kicked off last October and promised multiplatform mobile Flash support this year. Microsoft’s phones were part of that promise, and while Adobe couldn’t have known the details of Microsoft’s next-generation devices back then, it does now. The company has reportedly reworked its Flash strategy and is now deferring mobile Flash support to Windows Phone 7 Series devices.
Adobe is the second major developer in two days to abandon current Windows Mobile devices — just yesterday, Skype pulled its mobile client because it says it can’t offer a proper experience to its customers. Since the Skype reasoning is easily backed up by a horrendous issue out of the company’s control — the app can’t natively access the standard ear speaker of a phone — I’m inclined to understand its move. I don’t necessarily agree with it, since the issue is several years old and there’s no harm in leaving the download out there, but I do understand it. However, I’m baffled by the Adobe rationale — something just doesn’t wash. Here’s the quote that IntoMobile attributes to an Adobe representative:
“As for WinMo, we have made the tough decision to defer support for that platform until WinMo7. This is due to the fact that WinMo6.5 does not support some of the critical APIs that we need.”
The second statement only makes sense if Adobe just started coding Flash 10.1 for the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform. Clearly, that’s the not the case because early public beta developer builds of 10.1 were seen running on Windows Mobile devices last May. Here’s a refresher if you didn’t see it — note that the device is a Toshiba TG01 which debuted with Windows Mobile 6.1.
So if there are some critical APIs that Windows Mobile 6.5 doesn’t support, isn’t it likely that Adobe would have known about them months ago? The answer is yes.
[related-posts align=”left” tag=”Smartphones”]I’m starting to believe that Microsoft’s clean break between the old — but current — Windows Mobile and the new Windows Phone 7 Series runs the risk of an Osborne effect on developers, not to mention potential customers. Yes, Microsoft has said that Windows Mobile 6.x will be supported for some time and that the two platforms will co-exist, but can developers afford to dedicate limited resources to both systems? And although many mainstream consumers may not yet fully understand the difference between Windows Mobile and Windows Phone, at some point soon, they surely will. Once they find out that new and improved handsets running Microsoft’s mobile platform are coming soon, might they simply wait on a purchase?
At this point, I’m keenly interested in news from next month’s MIX10 event, where Microsoft will educate developers on the Windows Phone 7 Series framework. Armed with more information, I expect one of two things to happen: Developers will either voice their support for a two platform approach or we’ll see more announcements like those from Skype and Adobe — shops waiting on the new mobile train before boarding the platform.
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