Adobe demos route to Flash for iPhone

Adobe Systems last night let the other shoe drop when it said that it was developing a limited way for Flash programs to run on the iPhone. 

To date the popular Web application format has not be available on Apple's flagship phone, with many believing that this is because the availability of Flash would undermine the control that Apple maintains over applications running on its phone through the approval process for the App Store.

Adobe has now said that its latest development tool, Adobe Flash Professional CS5, will enable developers to create applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. A public beta of the tool is expected later this year.

The tool will enable developers to export applications to run on the iPhone, using the same source code that runs on Adobe AIR and Flash Player 10.

Although the move will widen the iPhone developer base, it seems unlikely to wrest control of which apps can run on the iPhone from Apple. Because the iPhone SDK licence terms do not allow runtime interpreted code, Adobe cannot deliver a true Flash player for the phone's Safari web  browser without support from Apple. This means that applications for the iPhone built with Adobe's new development tool will not include any runtime interpreted code.

Adobe has also unveiled Flash Player 10.1, which provides a consistent runtime across screens, and is supported by close to 50 participants in the Open Screen Project, an industry-wide initiative to enable consumers to engage with rich Internet experiences seamlessly across any device. Flash Player 10.1 support is expected to be available for mobile platforms including Google Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Palm webOS and Windows Mobile.

A public developer beta of the browser-based runtime is expected to be available for Windows Mobile, Palm, webOS and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux later this year. Public betas for Google Android and Symbian operating systems are expected to be available in early 2010.

The new mobile-ready version will take advantage of native device, such as multi-touch, gestures, mobile input models, accelerometer and screen orientation

“With Flash Player moving to new mobile platforms, users will be able to experience virtually all Flash technology based Web content and applications wherever they are,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe.

* Palm is taking steps to increase the number of applications that run under its Palm webOS operating system by providing two routes to market for developer's programs.

Palm will provide a web commerce site through which users can buy applications, so developers can control the marketing of their applications themselves. Distribution in the Palm App Catalog built in to every Palm webOS device will be subject to review by Palm, and developers will pay an application fee of $50. Palm will also auction prominent spots on the Catalog.

Palm is waiving the $99 program fee for developers interested in distributing open-source Palm webOS apps to the web.

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