Adobe and ARM Partner to Bring Flash to ARM-based Mobiles (Like the iPhone?)

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Adobe and ARM have jointly announced that they are collaborating to optimize and enable Adobe Flash Player 10 and Adobe AIR for ARM Powered devices.
    This optimization is targeted at the existing ARM11 family (used in the iPhone) and will be available in the second half of 2009. Details are rather sparse, though the implication appears to be that this "optimization" will deliver Adobe Flash to existing mobile devices that are based on the latest ARM platforms.

    PCMag further specifies that "devices with at least 200 MHz processors, more than around 16 Mbytes of RAM and a 'completely capable [Web] browser' will be able to render Web-based Flash content." Apple's iPhone, of course, fits into all these categories, which raises the question whether or not this could finally deliver Flash functionality to the current iPhone.

    In March, Steve Jobs claimed that the iPhone was not capable of supporting the full version of Flash.
    Still, in the end, it will be left to Apple to decide about allowing Flash onto the iPhone. At present, the iPhone SDK terms prevent Adobe from launching a fully integrated version of Flash for the iPhone on its own.

    Article Link: Adobe and ARM Partner to Bring Flash to ARM-based Mobiles (Like the iPhone?)
  2. miketcool macrumors 6502a


    Jun 24, 2003
    Adobe getting around to tackling their INBOX...
  3. DaveTheGrey macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2003
    It's good to see that they work on this, but to be honest, I don't really miss flash support. I didn't had a single situation in which I did't got the information I needed because of flash... But perhaps I'm the only one :D
  4. PocketGamer macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2008
    I agree DaveTheGrey. That said, I think it will come down to whether Steve Jobs thinks it fits the quality threshold.

    If you look at other decisions (such as not allowing poor quality video recording through the camera, which you can do via a jailbreaking) you can see that technical capabilities aren't the start and end with Apple, as we all know.
  5. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    Second half of 2009? Seriously? The iPhone has already been out for well over a year... By the time this comes around, the iPhone may no longer use ARM11 chips.
  6. retroneo macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    It's also optimised for Cortex.
  7. rols macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    You're not the only one. I'd be perfectly happy not to see it on there. Anything which reduces the amount of stuff a page needs before it loads is great, especially on the iPhone which loads slowly enough and doesn't appear to cache anything. I can do without java too.
  8. PocketGamer macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2008
    Flash sometimes makes pages slow-to-load now, but the trouble is when do you agree that a web-enhancing format is ready? I remember when sites only including 20k screenshots for fear of slowing down folks on dial-up. (As I'm sure you do, too). Flash is clearly going to be trivial on most devices in 12-18 months, IMHO.
  9. Lone Deranger macrumors 68000

    Lone Deranger

    Apr 23, 2006
    Tokyo, Japan
    Not only that, but flash also taxes the CPU a lot. Particularly on laptops it's really quite noticeable. One very good reason for AdBlockers like SafariAdBlock.....

  10. philoscoffee macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    No contradiction

    Adobe's statement doesn't contradict Apple's at all. Steve Jobs made the point was that of the currently available Flash options, the fully featured player is too slow to run on the iPhone (although this is somewhat surprising). Adobe have announced they are working on an optimized player to remedy this.

    Apart from a few web sites that rely heavily on Flash content, I don't really miss it much. The main application seems to be advertising content, which is mostly annoying anyway and an unnecessary drain on the battery. Let's hope that Flash will be a user installable option and not shipped with the iPhone as standard (something I don't think Apple is keen on anyway given their preference for open standards).
  11. pmoeser macrumors regular

    Vote No for Flash

    I don't miss it at all.
    I also agree with other posters here, surely by the time they have it ready, the iPhone will be shipping with PA Semi processors that may or may not be ARM based.
    I've only been inconvenienced once with no flash support during the Rugby League finals when someone asked me what a progress score was. It didn't load and he was unhappy.
    I don't care, I follow The World Game
  12. Masklinn macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2006
    Erm no it doesn't, if anything it bolsters Job's claim: the current Flash Lite player isn't able to handle a lot of content on ARM processors (and mobile platforms), and the current full-fledged Flash client is dog slow, which is why Adobe now states they're working with ARM to improve the performances of the Flash player on ARM in order to allow full-fledged Flash clients on arm-based mobile devices.
  13. rdas7 macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2002
    London, England
    Speaking as a Flash developer with almost 10 years experience, I cringe at the thought of Flash Player for the iPhone.

    The reasons are twofold: first of all, when comparing performance of native Cocoa apps and ActionScript programs running through the Flash runtime engine, speed is certainly an issue. A mobile device has limited resources (power, cpu cycles, etc.), where every cycle counts. An app that does the exact same thing (eg. animate a box around the screen) will consume more power under Flash than a native Cocoa app. So, show me something that you can do in Flash that you can't do in Cocoa.

    Secondly, while there are a fair number of applications written for Flash that run fine on the desktop (required resources and speed aside), the poor debugging and drag-and-drop nature of the majority of Flash development, means memory leaks, infinite loops, and general inefficient code practices are rife (eg. like loading things into memory, using them once, and then leaving them there).

    If a poorly written flash banner crashes your web browser (or tab), you can close it, relaunch your app, and barely notice. If a poorly written flash banner runs on your iPhone, it'll suck your battery dry.

    To every developer who wants to bring their app to iPhone, Apple has clearly given the answer: learn Cocoa.
  14. fteoath64 macrumors regular


    Nov 16, 2008
    @rdas7, that is full PC based flash you are talking about.

    But I recall, Adobe had Flashlite, do you know how crippled that is ?. There were little info about FlashLite but I believe it was on Symbian mobile OS, 2 years ago. Wonder what happened to it ?.
  15. funnyent macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2007
    Cool, i lke flash, but every advertiser online uses flash adds... :( could we have it to where we click on what flash enabledd part of the website we want to play. Like how the Youtube link is now?
  16. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    'Bout time we got the ability to play Flash video. The iPhone is crippled as a multimedia device without it.

  17. AriX macrumors 6502


    Jan 8, 2007
    Wow, if this new optimized version can run on 16MB of RAM at 200Mhz, it should run pretty well on the iPhone's 128MB with a 400Mhz processor.
  18. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
  19. rdas7 macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2002
    London, England
    FlashLite is alive and well (sorta). It's basically a pared down version of the Flash runtime environment. Think of it as regular Flash, but with certain bits missing (for programmers). It's never taken off because of the locked-down nature of the majority of smartphones, coupled with the sheer diversity of handset capabilities. It's suffered the same fate as any other app for non-smart phones.

    The argument still stands that Flash interpreted code running through a Flash Player (be it the desktop Flash Player, Flash Lite Player for mobile, or some "future version" of Flash Player that Adobe is dreaming about for iPhone), will never match the native performance of Cocoa, as it must run at a higher level.

    There will always be a "Flash Player" layer between the OS and the application code. And Flash/Actionscript is an inherently bloated runtime, compared to Cocoa/Objective-C.

    Adobe are desperately trying to position Flash as both a serious developer tool, and "easy enough for designers". With many of the advantages of Flash being taken over by advancements in AJAX for the web, the result is Adobe is doing neither. Flash apps continue to be buggy and bloated, and the results of drag-and-drop application development poor.

    Having said that, there are *some* really nice web apps/Flash sites out there, but for the majority of Flash on the web, it's used as an excuse to make things slide around and animate. Seeing as you can do that already HTML and Javascript in any modern browser, it's becoming less compelling to install and support a proprietary runtime (Flash).

    Check out the sort of thing that can be done in Safari with canvas and HTML5, and you'll see Apple's stance on the Flash issue quite clearly: why support an Adobe runtime layer, when Safari does it already and better and cross platform (desktop pc, mac and iPhone)?
  20. Rybold macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2008
    California, USA
    It says "available in the second half of 2009," which means it won't be ready until the next version of the iPhone comes out. :(
  21. PocketGamer macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2008
    Don't say that Rybold, I'm already wondering whether it's too late to recommend the current gen 3G iPhone to friends/family. :rolleyes:
  22. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    Less than optimized video playback - hmm
    Annoying intrusive adverts - hmm
    Annoying, less than truly accessible website designs -hmm

    Why do we want Flash again?
    By the time it gets to Windows Mobile, Apple might have ported Quicktime X to the iPhone version 3. Developers already have a system in place for games for the iPhone, and most people i'd say enjoy not having too many obstructive adverts, especially with respect the iPhones screen size.
    I think Apple can rest on this till at least WWDC...
  23. leonstafford macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2007
    Kyoto, Japan
    First article submission~


    This is like my second post but my first article submission - woohoo!

    Big fan of, heard you on one of Leo Laporte's shows the other day - keep up the great work!

    My 2yen on the story, from a Flash developer's perspective and a hopeful iPhone developer's perspective:

    If I had a choice of Flash or no Flash on an iPhone, guess I'd want to have the ability to use and develop for Flash on the iPhone.

    That said, it's very easy to get away with bad, heavy code in Flash for the web, which can bring down browsers and computers easily, let alone an iPhone.

    Rather than a "crippled" version of Flash on the iPhone, a very memory and CPU-protected Flash player is really something they should be able to do even now. My guess is Apple knows how much better the experience will be and decided for us that we want to wait for it :p

    Another 2yen conspiracy theory:

    Apple has announed Snow Leopard to not be introducing new features but getting a real tune-up to run well on it's hardware. Could that mean it will be a very scalable OS able to be run from little iPods, iPhones, netBooks all the way to enterprise servers? Still a couple free hours for new product announcements in January...
  24. walnuts macrumors 6502a

    Nov 8, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    You know, I think there is some good use to flash, and at the same time everyone seems to agree that it is poorly written. It is also really strange that apple is completely uninvolved here. You would think that if adobe were really doing this for the iphone (even if the iphone were just one of many other devices), that they would have kept it secret and apple would announce it at WWDC. Seems to me like there is a lot going on behind the scenes here.

    It looks as though, perhaps in part due to the iphone, and all of the fancy flash-blocking ad sites, that adobe is moving to prevent losing their market. No end user wants flash for flash, they just want the sites that use flash to work. Iphone ready sites reduce the need for flash and thus adobe loses their market as sites are made accessible sans flash.
  25. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    Please, please no.

    Flash is a steaming pile of ****. It's absurdly slow on non-x86 platforms, memory hungry on all platforms, and has an annoying habit of locking the browser when it hangs.

    There's no need for it nowadays -- Javascript and CSS are advanced enough that Flash is, quite simply, unnecessary. It's most common use nowadays is for video streaming. That one puzzles me even more: it is pretty much the least efficient tool for the job, esp. considering that all modern OSs have a variety of native players that can play video with a mere fraction of the CPU usage of Flash.

    I really, really hope that Flash doesn't make it to the iPhone. I don't use it on the desktop (I refuse to install it), and I sure as hell won't use it on my mobile device. If it is shipped by default on the iPhone, I'll figure out a way to remove it. If I can't, I won't get an iPhone. It's that simple.

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