Adobe launches Flash Player 10.1 to a myriad of Android devices

22 Jun 2010

It must be no small coincidence that as Apple begins the rollout of its iOS4 mobile operating system, once upon a time friend and collaborator Flash has introduced its new Flash Player 10.1 to devices based on Android 2.2, ‘Froyo.’

In the aftermath of a heated public battle of words with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Adobe has trumpeted Flash Player 10.1 as the first release that brings the full web across desktops and devices.

It says mobile users will now be able to experience millions of sites with rich applications and content inside the browser, including games, animations, rich internet applications (RIAs), data presentations and visualisations, ecommerce, music, video, audio and more.

Already one of the top free apps on Android Market today, Flash Player 10.1 will be available as a final production release for smartphones and tablets once users are able to upgrade to Android 2.2 ‘Froyo.’

Devices supporting ‘Froyo’ and Flash Player 10.1 are expected to include the Dell Streak, Google Nexus One, HTC Evo, HTC Desire, HTC Incredible, DROID by Motorola, Motorola Milestone, Samsung Galaxy S and others.

Flash Player 10.1 was also released to mobile platform partners to be supported on devices based on Android, BlackBerry, webOS, future versions of Windows Phone, LiMo, MeeGo and Symbian OS, and is expected to be made available via over-the-air downloads and to be pre-installed on smartphones, tablets and other devices in the coming months.

“We are thrilled that more than 3 million Flash designers and developers are now able to unleash their creativity on the world of smartphones, tablets, netbooks, televisions and other consumer electronics,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice-president, Platform Business at Adobe.

“The combined power of the leading rich media technology platform with millions of passionate creatives is sure to impact the world in ways we haven’t even imagined yet.”

Partner support

Device and technology partners including ARM, Brightcove, Dell, Google, HTC, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, RIM, Samsung, Texas Instruments and others announced more specifics around their support for Flash Player 10.1 today.

Content publishers including AgencyNet, AKQA, Armor Games, Blitz,, HBO, JustinTV, Kongregate, Mochi Media, Msnbc Digital Network, Turner, Nickelodeon, Odopod, Photobucket, RAIN, Roundarch, Sony Pictures, South Park Studios, USA Network, Viacom, Warner Brothers and many others have also started to optimise Flash content to deliver the best possible experience within the context of smaller screens, which includes larger buttons for interactions, layout adjustments for mobile screens and more.

New features

Completely redesigned and optimised for mobile, Flash Player 10.1 delivers new interaction methods with support for mobile-specific input models. Support for accelerometer allows users to view Flash content in landscape and portrait mode.

With Smart Zooming, users can scale content to full screen mode, delivering immersive application-like experiences from a web page. Performance optimisation works with virtually all major mobile silicon and platform vendors and makes efficient use of CPU and battery performance.

The new Smart Rendering feature ensures that Flash content is running only when it becomes visible on the screen, further reducing CPU and battery consumption. With Sleep Mode, Flash Player automatically slows down when the device transitions into screen saver mode. Advanced Out-of-Memory Management allows the player to effectively handle non-optimised content that consumes excessive resources, while automatic memory reduction decreases content usage of RAM by up to 50pc.

Flash Player pauses automatically when events occur, such as incoming phone calls or switching from the browser to other device functions. Once users switch back to the browser, Flash Player resumes where it paused.

Industry reaction

“Although it is labelled a dot release, Flash Player 10.1 is a significant update that includes a number of new performance and mobile-specific features,” said Al Hilwa, program director of the Application Development Program at IDC.

“This allows consumers to see a much bigger part of the web and allows developers to bring their Flash Platform skills to a much bigger swath of devices.”

“For the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to test an Android Froyo device loaded with a beta of Flash Player 10.1,” said Ben Bajarin, principal analyst at Creative Strategies.

“The overall experience and performance of Flash has been impressive. Mobile users now have access to full web pages with rich Flash content on millions of sites. With the new mobile specific features, developers also have an important opportunity to help shape the way web content, games, touch capabilities and more are presented across platforms and devices as Froyo and other platforms deliver full Flash support,” Bajarin said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years