Adobe Flash Tools are a Win for Developers, But Not iPhone Users

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At its worldwide developers' conference in Los Angeles on Monday, Adobe announced its newest suite of creative tools, Flash Professional CS5, which will be available as a public beta later this year. With it, Adobe is providing functionality that will allow developers to convert Flash apps to iPhone apps. This is great for developers and good for Apple, but while everyone else gets the full Flash experience, iPhone customers are left short-changed.

Apple doesn't seem to be interested in permitting the most widely used rich-content plug-in on its highly controlled mobile platform. Adobe, still unable to convince Apple to cooperate, is providing a work around of sorts in the form of a Flash to iPhone app conversion tool. This is great news for Flash developers. It means that the myriad of Flash games and other apps can be repackaged for the iPhone and possibly sold for a profit. It also means that they can write iPhone apps using the constraints of their current skill set.

The move is certainly great for Apple. The pool of App Store products will get even bigger, and Apple still gets bottom-line control. If there are any profits to be made, it will skim 30 percent off the top.

At the conference, Adobe also announced Flash 10.1 which will have public betas later this year and in early 2010. Flash 10.1 will be available for Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, Symbian, Web OS, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile. Notice any glaring omissions? At this rate, it seems that we'll have Flash for Amiga and BeOS before it shows up on the iPhone.

While virtually every other platform gets a full version of the real deal, it's but a consolation that iPhone customers have to settle for Apple-approved, Flash-converted apps.

iPhone customers still won't get any Flash content via Safari; they're still limited by the apps that Apple is willing to approve, and they'll have to look on in envy as their friends with Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Palm phones surf their favorite flash-enabled Web sites.

Michael Scalisi is an IT manager based in Alameda, California.

It sure can be frustrating sometimes when you own the most coveted phone on the market.

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