Adobe and Nokia Provide $10 Million Fund for Mobile Flash Development

Feb 17, 2009

Under the auspices of the Open Screen Project, mobile vendor Nokia and software maker Adobe are providing a $10 million fund to help developers create mobile Flash applications. The underlying software will become free at least to some extent, according to Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch.

The Open Screen Project Fund will be available to developers of applications for mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices using the Adobe Flash platform. Nokia and Adobe announced their joint funding at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The companies are members of the Open Screen Project, which gave them the opportunity to put the fund under the project's auspices.

Developers should submit their ideas for applications using Flash, as conceived for, and marketed on, Nokia's mobile devices. Although not exactly clear on licensing provisions, the project promises that developers will retain all rights to their applications. Adobe's CTO Kevin Lynch re-emphasizes the openness suggested by the name of the project in a short video presentation: "Some of the things that Adobe is doing to contribute to this mission are big changes on how we make the client technology available... making the technology free for inclusion on devices... with no royalty." He tries to make the open software issue a bit more concrete by saying that "the Flash file format called SWF is something that we've been publishing since 1998...[for which] we're now removing the license restriction, so that you can now use the SWF format in any way you wish." The website already publishes the open specifications for SWF, FLV/F4V, AMF, RTMP and the Mobile Content Delivery Protocol. The porting APIs and reference implementations will also become available, albeit only to participants in the Open Screen Project.

Founded mainly by Adobe in May 2008, the project has more than 20 member companies, including among the others Intel, Motorola and LG Electronics. Their mission, according to Adobe platform business unit VP David Wadhwani, is "an industry movement in which key players come together to provide a consistent runtime environment" for platform-independent Internet applications. Lynch adds a further mission of the cooperating partners to make applications more easily updatable, "like they are in the PC world." He continues, "We've actually organized our engineering teams to combine the mobile and PC efforts into unified teams, so the same teams working on Flash Players will be targeting PCs and Smartphones."

The Open Screen Project Fund site includes a "Get started" page as a call to all developers. Especially sought are applications in the focus areas of entertainment, business and social networking, among others. The submitted software should work across multiple devices and "leverage Adobe Flash Lite software, the Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR runtimes, and the Nokia platform."

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