Posted on 06 October 2009
I have just been watching a very interesting video from the Adobe MAX 2009 conference. It’s the Keynote from Kevin Lynch, Adobe CTO, who demos Flash Player 10.1 for mobile devices, smartphones and netbooks.
You get to see flash on Maemo, WebOS, Android, an unknown upcoming Android phone, an HP Netbook with Nvidia ION and a smartbook (Mobinova) running Tegra. There’s also the HP Mini 110 running with its Broadcom Crystal HD module (which is interesting news from May that I completely missed.) The Broadcom solution is a PCI Express Mini slot-in module that offloads video decoding (no real 3D support here unlike the ION solution) and could be an interesting option for those with a spare PCI-Express Mini slot.
Anyway, back to the Adobe video. Check out some leveling of the Intel vs ARM playing-field below.
Don’t forget that the CPU is still needed for Flash code operations and that it’s only the H.264 video that can be offloaded to a co-processor. Running Flash code on even a Cortex based platform will still be a big task and will slow down your browsing performance and reduce battery life just as it does on the desktop. Even running flash on a 1.6Ghz Atom is a chore. On the other hand, YouTube fans should get better battery life from the hardware-decoded video.
Why doesn’t someone make a Flash 10 co-processor? (Flashable of-course!)
Posted on 05 October 2009
It has been clear for some time that Adobe were working with the ARM and Intel community and would eventually acknowledge that there are components on many devices that can decode H.264 better than a CPU. The Menlow platform has always supported H.264 decoding in hardware but the YouTube experience has been extremely poor because Flash doesn’t known about DXVA (Direct X Video Acceleration.) The same applies to many smarphone platforms too. OMAP 3 for example (as seen on N900, Archos 5, Palm Pre) has the silicon dedicated to this process but it’s not used. The CPU is left struggling, draining battery and giving the user a very poor experience.
Adobe finally made the official announcement today that Flash 10.1 is coming…
Adobe Systems Incorporated today unveiled Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 software for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other Internet-connected devices, allowing content created using the Adobe Flash Platform to reach users wherever they are. A public developer beta of the browser-based runtime is expected to be available for Windows® Mobile, Palm® webOS and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux later this year. Public betas for Google® Android™ and Symbian® OS are expected to be available in early 2010. In addition, Adobe and RIM announced a joint collaboration to bring Flash Player to Blackberry® smartphones, and Google joined close to 50 other industry players in the Open Screen Project initiative.
Windows Mobile, Palm, Windows, Linux and Mac get the public beta first with Android and Symbian getting betas in 2010. As for full releases, expect the desktop to get it first with handset manufacturers and carriers feeding it in later in 2010. The iPhone platform isn’t mentioned in the release so maybe Apple will double their efforts on HTML 5 and native video support.
You can bet that GPU-accelerated flash will be included in Moblin 2.1 in 2010 for the Pineview and Moorestown platform but Intel do lose a big advantage when the smartphone platforms get the same software. After that point it’s all about design and software.
Posted on 24 June 2009
We talk a lot about the FIE (Full Internet Experience) here on UMPC Portal. The reason many of us are using UMPCs is that there aren’t many non-x86 computers that have provided it. The FIE slowly finds its way onto smaller and smaller devices, and while I wouldn’t say that the new HTC Hero provides a true FIE, it is getting there.
The recently released HTC Hero is HTC’s second Android phone, and among other things, the unit is getting a lot of attention because its web browser can support some Flash content. Adobe has released a good video demo showing the Hero’s flash capable browser, and the implementation looks pretty good, but there are still challenges ahead. Even in through the marketing jargon, it is apparent that work needs to continue until full multi-device flash support has been worked out:
As the first Android device with Flash, the new HTC Hero represents a key milestone for Android and the Flash Platform. With close to 80 percent of all videos online delivered with Adobe Flash technology, consumers want to access rich Web content on-the-go.” said David Wadhwani, vice president and general manager, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “The collaboration with HTC offers people a more complete Flash based Web browsing experience today and presents an important step towards full Web browsing with Flash Player 10 on mobile phones in the future [my emphasis]
It is nice to Flash working on an Android based phone, but while most Flash video players will work fine, I wouldn’t (yet) expect to be able to play many of the Flash based games that are out there. The video demo shows an extremely basic game which works simply by clicking the mouse once to drop the penguin, and once more to swing. There isn’t much other input from the user. This basic interaction is currently supported, but some of the more advanced Flash games will be impossible to control until more is done. While the phone might technically have the ability to display the content of a Flash game, many Flash based games rely on keyboard based input and most (if any) certainly aren’t programmed to support multiple mouse inputs (multi-touch) at this point.
Providing some support for Flash is better than no support however, and initiatives like the Open Screen Project will help future devices of this type to inch close to the FIE.
[Adobe Press Release]
Posted on 02 April 2009
Adobe and ARM had already announced that they would work together to bring Flash 10 to smartphone platforms through the OpenScreen project so the news this morning from Ti really just shows that the commitment is still there and that we should still be looking at the early 2010 timeframe for deployment.
Adobe AIR is finding quite the success in the microblogging market where tools like Tweetdeck, Twhirl and Twibble make up some of the most commonly used AIR applications. Translating these to small screens will be a challenge but if you consider devices like the Mondi, the MID-like devices will provide some exciting high-speed,large-screen opportunities for developers.
This engagement furthers TI’s long standing commitment to supporting Flash technology and will make it easier for manufacturers to enable uncompromised web browsing on their devices. It also lets them quickly update and run Flash technology based third-party content and applications while reducing time to market on smartphones, mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and other mobile computing devices. TI will also provide Adobe Flash technology support on the ZoomTM OMAP34x-II Mobile Development Platform (MDP), with future support for additional planned OMAP processor-based reference platforms, allowing developers to create rich, Flash technology based content that enhances the overall user experience for a variety of markets. By optimizing Flash technology for the OMAP solution, manufacturers and developers can fully exploit offerings of the platform when accessing content developed with Flash technology. For example, leveraging the OMAP platform’s hardware acceleration capabilities allows for improved video and graphics performance at lower power.
Full press release from Ti.
Posted on 17 November 2008
Following through behind the ARM / Ubuntu announcement last week is another shot in the direction of Intel’s MIDs. Adobe’s Flash 10, probably the most commonly used multimedia plug-in in the Web world and a significant part of the full web experience, is coming to the ARM architecture. Not only will you be seeing full Flash 10 support on the next generation of evolved smartphones and mobile Internet devices based on the ARM Cortex core which are starting to trickle in now via specialist devices such as the Archos 5, Open Pandora and the next generation Nokia Internet Tablet but existing ARM11 architectures will also see a port. In addition to the Flash 10 announcement, Adobe have announced that AIR will be available so applications like twhirl and the ebay app could end up in your hand within the next year.
The press release talks about being able to ‘remove the barriers to publish content and applications seamlessly across screens.’ and points towards the website – Openscreenproject – that was announced earlier this year.
“Adobe Flash is the leading video format on the Web today, and this collaboration with ARM is another important step towards bringing the complete Web experience to mobile devices worldwide,” said Gary Kovacs, general manager and vice president, Mobile and Devices at Adobe.
Read: ARM Press