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11/17/2008
04:54 PM
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Adobe Positions Flash For Multiple Devices

Adobe sees its technology as the interface layer that can take content and format it for use on screens of all sizes.

Adobe is going to great lengths to show how its software can adapt to displays of all shapes and sizes.

The company's MAX 2008 conference opened in San Francisco on Monday with a brief performance by DJ Mike Relm. His turntable scratching spun video loops forward and back on the Moscone West auditorium wall in time with the music.

"This is the 'wow' moment," one person in the projected montage explained in an attempt to convey the communicative might of video technology.

It was more of a "why" moment: Why would Adobe want to subject anyone to looped amateur videos without the alcohol necessary to appreciate onscreen people repeating sentences over and over to a mechanical beat?

But Adobe was aiming for a "how" moment: How the company's software can help designers and developers create content for a world with many screens.

"We're in a time of great change around the world," said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, pointing to shifts in demographics, technology, economics, and climate. "...Consumers are demanding a consistent experience across multiple devices, at work and at home."

The PC, in other words, is no longer the only game in town. Mobile phones and mobile Internet devices became more numerous than computers last year, said Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch. And Adobe expects them to become even more important in the future, as people in developing countries opt for smartphones rather than more expensive PCs.

"We need to start thinking about mobile first," he said.

Adobe sees its technology as the interface layer that can take content and format it for use on screens of all sizes. Toward that end, it introduced Adobe Flash Catalyst, a design tool for creating application interfaces without coding, a preview build of Flex Builder 4 called "Gumbo," AIR 1.5, and Flash Media Server 3.5.

It also said that it's working with chipmaker ARM to optimize Flash 10 and AIR for mobile devices, set-top boxes, and automotive platforms.

Adobe had planned to have Flash on 1 billion mobile phones by 2010, but Lynch said the company will reach that goal by the end of 2009.

He demonstrated Adobe's ongoing effort to bring Flash 10 to mobile phones by showing several phones that were "hot out of the oven." An assistant brought out several sample phones in a metal container as if they were actually hot to the touch. There was a Nokia N85 running Symbian with a Flash-based graphic from The Wall Street Journal, an HTC phone running Windows Mobile with LastFM in an Opera browser, and another Windows Mobile phone running YouTube.

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