Adobe Releases Flash 10.1 for Mobile Devices

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Adobe is pushing out its new Flash Player 10.1 for mobile devices, which was designed to create a common experience for video and interactive applications between the desktop, smartphones and tablet devices. The company has finally released its Flash player 10.1 source code, as well as a software development kit (SDK) that will allow its current partners, as well as any new mobile partners that want to use the code, to roll out the new player on their devices.

The new Flash Player also supports a number of mobile-specific features, such as support for accelerometers, smart zooming, and multitouch controls. In addition to those features, Adobe has worked to improve the performance of the Flash Player on mobile devices, over concerns that it’s a resource (and battery) hog. That includes adding a “smart rendering” feature that limits Flash processing to only happen when it is visible on screen, a sleep mode that slows down processing when a mobile device enters into screen saver mode and advanced out-of-memory management that is designed to more efficiently handle non-optimized Flash content.

Those performance enhancements have greatly improved the amount of time users can spend with their Flash-ready devices. According to Anup Murarka, Adobe’s director of technology strategy, the new Flash Player 10.1 gets about three-and-a-half hours of video playback and more than four hours of Flash-based gameplay on some mobile devices.

Flash Player 10.1 has already been made available on mobile devices running the latest version of the Android mobile OS, version 2.2, codenamed “Froyo,” but Adobe is still waiting on its mobile partners to get the software pre-installed on their devices. In addition to Android, BlackBerry, webOS, Windows Phone 7 Series, LiMo, MeeGo and Symbian OS will all support the player.

While adoption of the new Flash Player is currently being constrained by new OS rollouts, Murarka said, Adobe expects a ramp up in the number of devices that support the player over the next few years. According to Murarka, Adobe estimates that Flash Player 10.1 will be available on about 9 percent of mobile devices this year, but that will grow to more than 50 percent of the market by the end of 2012. That estimate comes despite the fact that Apple refuses to support Flash on its mobile products, including its iPhone and iPad.

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