Adobe, Nokia News Flash: $10M Developer Fund

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Adobe Systems wants to make its Flash multimedia platform as widely adopted on mobile devices as it is on desktop computers.

This week at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Adobe said it has allied with mobile phone giant Nokia to create a $10 million fund to encourage developers to create Flash-based applications and services for Nokia mobile devices. The fund is part of Adobe's Open Screen Project, a plan Adobe outlined in May to create a consistent runtime environment for multimedia content and applications across desktops, mobile devices and consumer electronics products such as televisions and set-top boxes.

Adobe also said smartphone maker Palm is now on board with the Open Screen Project, a commitment that will lead to the ability to run the Adobe Flash Player on devices that use Palm's webOS operating system. Altogether, more than 20 companies have joined the initiative including technology companies Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics, Motorola, Qualcomm, Sony Ericsson and Verizon Wireless, as well as content producers such as NBC Universal, MTV Networks and the BBC.

Flash Player 10, a complete version of the Adobe Flash player for smartphones, is expected to be available to handset manufacturers near the end of this year with devices incorporating the software appearing in early 2010. The software will show up on smartphones running Windows Mobile, Nokia S60/Symbian and Google Android software, as well as the new Palm OS. But so far there has been no commitment from Apple to add the Flash player to its popular iPhone.

Adobe and Nokia said the $10 million Open Screen Project Fund will be used to spur development of Flash-based entertainment, social networking, productivity, gaming, news and information multimedia applications that run on Nokia devices.

The companies are inviting developers to submit application concepts that will be evaluated by Open Screen Project participants, including Adobe and Nokia, to receive funding. Concepts will be judged on how "innovative and compelling" they are, according to a statement from the companies, as well as how well they exploit Adobe Flash, the Adobe AIR cross-platform runtime environment and Nokia device features.

At the Barcelona conference, Adobe also said that a public beta version of release 3.1 of its Adobe Flash Lite Distributable Player is now available. Adobe calls the Distributable Player a first step toward delivering a complete runtime environment that can be updated over the air. The software initially supports Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile devices. Adobe Flash Lite provides a way for mobile application developers to deliver their software to users through their Web catalogs, according to Adobe.

In addition, Adobe said it is shipping a new version of its Adobe Reader Mobile SDK developer toolset that mobile device makers use to present PDF and eBook content. The new release supports reflowable PDF technology and the EPUB file format for XML-based eBook content.

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