Watch out Java; Adobe wants a bigger bite of your mobile-device market share pie. The company yesterday said it will drop its licensing fee for including its Flash Player on handhelds and unveiled alliances with some of world’s largest telecom carriers, content providers and chip and handset makers.

It’s all part of the Open Screen Project, Adobe’s grand plan to provide a consistent platform and runtime for development across PCs, phones, mobile internet devices, televisions, set-top boxes and other platforms, according to a company news release published yesterday. Companies already on board include ARM, the BBC, Intel, Motorola, MTV, Nokia, NTT Docomo, Sony Ericsson, Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless. Absent from the list are Apple, Microsoft and Sun.

As part of Open Screen, Adobe says it will:

  • Remove restrictions on use of SWF and FLV/F4V file format specifications
  • Publish the device porting-layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
  • Publish its Flash Cast media delivery and AMF data services protocols

Adobe for the first time will remove licensing fees from what it says is the “next major release of Adobe Flash Player.” The project will build on Flash Lite, which Adobe says is already on millions of phones; it gave no indication of when a free release might be available. Zero cost of software is a critical factor for device makers, for which every fraction of a penny saved during design helps build advantage in the ultra-competitive device market.

The company also plans to give away the device version of Adobe AIR, its forthcoming RIA runtime that will support Ajax, Flash, HTML and PDF. It has launched an Open Screen Project Web site with areas dedicated to developers and businesses.

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

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