Monday, March 17, 2008
Microsoft to license Adobe's Flash Lite
Support for Flash videos has been pretty disappointing on mobile devices. This is because Adobe's support is not at the same level as on the desktop, so Flash sites on your PC browser don't look exactly the same as on your mobile phone. Flash Lite for mobile devices has been around for a while, but only the latest version 3 supports FLV, the most popular format for video streaming on the Internet, including everyone's favorite video site, YouTube.
Even though Microsoft has its own mobile video-viewing software, Silverlight, it has decided to bite the bullet and license Adobe's Flash Lite and Reader software. This means future generations of Windows Mobile devices will be able to view and interact with a wider range of mobile Web sites -- ones that the iPhone can't view.
The mobile version of Internet Explorer in its current form is an "OK" mobile browser. It gets the job done, but other mobile browsers do it better. I'm talking about Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, the S60 browser, and, yes, Safari on the iPhone (even without Flash support, it bests Pocket IE). But this new licensing agreement between Microsoft and Adobe will put mobile IE on more even footing.
More and more, mobile Internet users are demanding the full Web experience. That means being able to see videos and animations that are embedded on Web sites. Right now, Safari on the iPhone doesn't support Flash or Flash Lite. Steve Jobs even recently said why, exclaiming that neither version of Flash is good enough for the iPhone. I happen to disagree with this statement, but can anyone really argue with his Steveness? Even Flash Lite would be a nice compromise on the iPhone, but it appears that it's not to be. Apparently less is more, as far as Apple is concerned.
Microsoft, on the other hand, is taking the angle that more is more. It's decided that users of Windows Mobile deserve a better mobile browsing experience. Licensing Adobe Flash Lite and Reader will lead to that end.
Scott Rockfeld, group product manager at Microsoft's mobile communication business, said the decision was about providing more choice to its customers, even though Windows Mobile already offers 18,000 applications for everything from picking a wine to go with dinner to watching videos. "Obviously, it's one of the things that customers are asking for. Flash is something that is very prevalent on the Web," Rockfeld said.
The financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, and Microsoft didn't provide any details on when or the software support would become available to users.
Adobes Licenses Flash Lite to Microsoft
The agreement will allow Adobe's mobile Flash player to operate with Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile devices.
In a surprise announcement on Monday, Adobe revealed that it had licensed Flash Lite, a software package for playing Flash files on mobile phones, to Microsoft, which offers a direct competitor to Flash in the form of Silverlight. The licensing agreement will allow Microsoft to include the software in future distributions of Windows Mobile.
While Microsoft’s own Silverlight package is not yet available for mobile phones, reports from earlier this month suggest that a mobile version will be available by the end of this year, leaving some spectators puzzled as to why Microsoft would license a competitor.
Microsoft will also license Adobe Reader LE, a software package to read PDF files on mobile devices, for which it has no direct competitor. It offers features designed to enhance the readability of PDFs on smaller screens.
“People want vibrant web experiences and access to entertainment and information anywhere, anytime,” said John O’Rourke, Microsoft’s general manager of mobile communications business, in a statement. “Bringing Flash Lite and Reader LE to the Windows Mobile experience will give consumers more of their favorite websites on the go.”
Adobe’s press release did not mention when consumers could expect to see both programs available, and Microsoft has yet to make a corresponding press release with more details.
Posted by SANJIDA AFROJ at 8:29 PM