Adobe to give away Flash for mobile devices

/ Source: The Associated Press

Adobe Systems Inc. says it will license its video-enabling Flash software for free for mobile devices to help developers make mobile Internet experiences more closely resemble the experience on computers.

The world's fifth-largest software maker is launching what it calls the Open Screen Project with support from phone makers Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba Corp., from chip makers Intel and Qualcomm, and from content providers including NBC Universal, MTV Networks and the BBC, among other companies.

Adobe, which also makes Acrobat publishing software and Photoshop, planned to announce the move Thursday.

With the Open Screen Project, Adobe said, it aims to improve Internet experiences on all electronics, including computers, TVs and digital video recorders. But mobile devices are a particular focus.

Many mobile applications have met with disappointment from consumers. And game and video developers have been burdened with cranking out numerous versions of applications for mobile devices, said Kevin Lynch, Adobe's chief technology officer.

"You have to make over 100 different versions of that game in order to actually make it work across all these different phones," Lynch said.

Notably missing from the list of industry supporters for Adobe's project is Apple Inc. The iPhone maker does not use Flash on its smart phones, and Chief Executive Steve Jobs has publicly criticized Flash for being too slow.

Adobe says it's working on a version of Flash for the iPhone — now that Apple has released the information needed to custom fit the software to Apple's operating system.