Adobe Launches Mobile Flash for Android

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Adobe Systems, Inc. the San Francisco-based software company, that has been heavily criticized recently by Apple, Inc CEO Steven Jobs, announced yesterday they were releasing a mobile version of Flash, starting with Android cell phone OS.

Adobe states in the press release that Flash is already one of the top free Android apps and it will be supported by a variety of Adobe partners. One of the big criticisms of Apple's highly successful iPad and iPhone has been its lack of support for Flash, which appears on countless web sites. When you encounter one of these sites on an Apple device, you simply can't run the site.

Anthony Ha reporting on Venture Beat said his experience last month using Flash on a Nexus One was mixed, with sites optimized for mobile Flash giving a better experience than just generic Flash sites that had not had the mobile treatment.

Adobe is effusive in its press release, but it still remains to be seen if mobile Flash can produce as they hope it will. Al Hilwa, program director of the Application Development Program at at IDC believes it's a lot more than interim release. "Although it is labeled a dot release, Flash Player 10.1 is a significant update that includes a number of new performance and mobile specific features," he said. Hilwa added that it fills in holes in the mobile experience on the Web. "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.”

Google and Adobe made a big splash at the Google I/O conference last month, even taking the time to stick it to Apple a bit (as I wrote in Google Bloodies Apple on Technology Playground). So it makes sense that they have chosen to launch it on the Android platform first. Whether Adobe has answered critics with this mobile release remains to be seen, but it certainly raises the stakes in the ongoing battle between Adobe and Apple.