For last few years Adobe is trying hard to enable Flash content inside mobile browsers, it’s been not a big success because of lack of processing speed on mobile devices, complexities of mobile operating systems and of course, Apple.
Personally I think Flash inside mobile browser is only good for video, and that’s it. In last 3-4 years, I have hardly seen any Flash content inside browser (other than video) optimized for mobile on my Flash enabled Nokia devices which include Nokia N95, N78, N96, 5800XM and so on. And even I tired once to make something myself, but the performance and interaction complexity of in-browser Flash content was completely non-acceptable, at least for me. However, I managed to make some cool projects using Flash Lite which allows out-of-browser apps using SWF2Go.
I have been using Google Nexus One for some time now, and viewing Flash content inside browser is just a cool experience and performance is great as well. But interacting with Flash content is still not really a nice experience, except Flash content which only have one or two big clickable buttons, i.e. ads :)
Welcome to Installable Flash Apps, a.k.a. AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime)
This is where Adobe is going to win big time. There are many good reasons why, but I’d like to share some important ones which will make a greater overall difference.
1) Today there are many mobile OSes out there including Android, iOS, Symbian, WinMo, WinPhone, MeeGo, QNX, webOS and many more. Every OS have different programming language and set of APIs, and mastering them all is really a hard task.
AIR for Mobile is going to ease this by providing familiar development tools we have been using for years, Flash Professional and Flash Builder (Flex) and single programming language, ActionScript 3 with consistent set of APIs.
2) When I first started playing with Android SDK, I was completely disappointed because of lack of GUI designing tool. You have to write everything via code, be it JAVA or XML representation of GUI.
Now with AIR for Android, you have those GUI designing tools, Adobe Flash Professional CS5 and Flash Builder 4. With Flash Pro there are millions of developers who can now reuse their skills and tweak thousands of games and applications to run on Android based devices within days. Time to market is a lot quick for applications developed on AIR, so it will also make a huge impact for sure.
Expect Android Market to flood really soon with tons of cool games and applications. Apple, get ready for real competition ;)
3) This is perfectly the right time for AIR on mobile devices. We see every day there’s a new mobile device released. Even I read couple of Tweets saying "another day, another Tablet" :)
Just today, I was invited in launch of Samsung’s mobile devices Wave II, Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab for Pakistan region. I tried Galaxy Tab firsthand, it gave a really pleasant experience. Performance of UI and interactions were real smooth, but the browser showed a little lag when scrolling. It wasn’t deal breaker, so it’s all sweet I can say :)
The good thing was, I took my laptop and Nexus One along to demo a fun online collaboration game-application I developed a day ago. So, one user was on Nexus One, another on Galaxy Tab and one on my laptop, and it was pure fun when we all were able to play around with the application, it worked flawlessly!
I will be posting a sneak peak demo of this new collaboration game-application done in AIR over the weekend, so stay tuned ;)
And finally wrapping up this post, I can see Adobe is getting lot of traction in coming days and tons of games and applications for Android. This is all good news for owner of the cool new devices, and developers who are going to make some cash ;)
AIR for Android is a really big milestone for Adobe and millions of Flash developers around the world. Excellent job Adobe!
// chall3ng3r //