Flash hitting smartphones second half of year, says Adobe [Update]

In a bit of a delay, Adobe is now saying that it expects smartphones to hit the market with full Flash 10.1 capabilities in the second half of 2010.

The company had previously said it hoped we’d see full version on devices in the first half of this year and the delay – even a relatively slight one – only gives Apple more ammo in its war on Flash.

“We have a number of excited partner who are working aggressively with us to bring Flash to their devices, whether they be smartphones as well as handsets, and so companies like Google or RIM or Palm are going to be releasing versions of Flash on smartphones and tablets in the second half of the year,” said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen in an interview with Fox Business.

What’s the deal? Well, pulling off Flash successfully on a mobile device does take some work and hardware acceleration. Otherwise, you’re looking at a choppy, power-draining mess. On the Android side, we know that it will require an ARM Cortex-A8 or higher, so only the Nexus One, Droid (and probably Droid Incredible and EVO 4G) will be capable of this.

I’m conflicted on this one. I don’t think getting a poor-performing version out there early will do anything to bolster Adobe’s point about the importance of Flash but Apple is quickly winning mind share. Big hitters like Netflix, Virgin America, The New York Times and others have tailored its content away from Flash in order to reach the highly-coveted iPhone OS demographic (to be fair, it also reaches the other smartphone platforms right now).

Apple is also going after the hearts and minds of developers, as the new iPhone OS 4.0 terms of service says content creators have to use Apple’s tools to make apps. This is a major shot at Adobe, which was pushing a cross-compiling tool that enables developers to write in Flash and then convert for the iPhone. This move really pissed off some at Adobe, as a Flash evangelist blogged, “go screw yourself Apple.” Check out the video below for a preview of what to expect when Flash 10.1 hits a smartphone near you.

[Update: Just got a note from Adobe saying this is still consistent with their previous statements as the runtimes are shipping this half, with devices coming next half. So, it’s not as much of a delay as I made it out to be. The need to get it out quickly – before iPhone OS gains too much traction – remains the same.

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