Video support will be provided in the next version of Flash Player for mobile phones. The Flash video format is widely used on web sites such as YouTube. Compatibility with mobile phones could further reinforce its importance as a de facto cross-platform standard.
At the 3GSM World Congress mobile phone convention in Barcelona, Adobe announced that support for video will be integrated in the next generation of its Flash Lite profile which is designed for mobile phones. Video support in Flash Lite is currently limited and does not support streaming.
The Flash FLV video format, now owned by Adobe, is widely used for making hit television shows such as Lost and Desperate Housewives available online. It is also used by sites such as YouTube and Google Video.
Although the video compression schemes supported by Flash are not necessarily as advanced as other industry standards, the format is attractive to developers and distributors because it is widely supported by browsers and allows user interfaces and interactive elements to be seamlessly integrated with video.
Flash Lite 3, expected to be available in the first half of 2007, will bring the Flash Player video format to mobile phones and other portable devices. Mobile handsets and other consumer electronics devices with support for Flash Lite 3 are expected to be available by the end of 2007.
“Video support in Flash Lite will revolutionize the way users engage with mobile content and open up new revenue opportunities for developers worldwide,” said Al Ramadan of Adobe. “This release will allow users to view vibrant video content from popular internet sites like YouTube or MySpace and enable developers to create new, dynamic applications across a variety of mobile and consumer electronics platforms.”
Flash Lite will support the same video formats as Flash Player on personal computers and will directly support video streams delivered by Flash Media Server.
More than 200 million Flash-enabled mobile devices have shipped worldwide in over 300 different models. It runs on multiple platforms, including the latest versions of Symbian, Qualcomm BREW and Microsoft Windows Mobile, in addition to embedded operating systems on a variety of other platforms. This allows consistent content delivery across device types, broader distribution and simpler publishing, testing and selling of Flash Lite content for developers.
Adobe is also engaged in trials of its FlashCast technology. NTT DoCoMo in Japan has over eight million subscribers able to access i-channel, a rich news and information delivery service powered by FlashCast.
“Japan was the early adopter of mobile Flash technology, but today it is a worldwide phenomenon with some of the hottest mobile devices, like the LG Prada phone, relying on Flash to deliver compelling user experiences,” reported Al Ramadan. “Unlike some technology companies, we’re betting on the infinite creativity of content creators and software developers and look forward to seeing how their creative vision enables millions to discover new ways to interact with news, information and entertainment.”