Android Getting Flash Support

Bsquare will port the technology to Google's platform, and having Flash could give Android a leg up on Apple's iPhone.
Google's Android platform soon will be getting support for Flash.

Adobe's Flash is a near-ubiquitous Web technology that's prominently used on popular sites like YouTube and Hulu, but it's generally considered too resource intensive to work well on mobile devices and smartphones. Adobe does have a Flash Lite product for phones, but it's not as robust as the full version. The software company Bsquare said it would be porting the technology to Google's mobile platform.

"Integrating Adobe Flash technology with the functionality of Google's Android platform will afford consumers the rich content and unprecedented applications they demand and is key to achieving success for our OEM and ODM customers," Bsquare CEO Brian Crowley said in a statement. "We believe that our value-added products and services can improve the Android experience for users and help our customers get their devices to market faster."

The move could give Google's Android platform a significant leg up on rival Apple and its iPhone platform. While iPhone users tend to surf the Web more than any other phone user, the lack of Flash support is still a sticking point with some users. Many industry watchers think it's a business issue rather than a technological one: Apple may not want to be tied to another company's proprietary technology, even if it's one as widely used as Flash.

After much public back and forth, it looks like Apple may go another route as the iPhone 3.0 software will enable developers to stream video to iPhones using HTML5. Apple will likely be by itself if it ignores Flash, as Adobe said it would soon bring the full version to major mobile platforms like Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Palm's new webOS.

As smartphones become equipped with more desktop-like capabilities, road warriors may soon be able to ditch their laptops. InformationWeek looked at how smartphones could potentially become replacements for laptops, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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