Home Confirmed: Apple and Adobe Collaborating on iPhone Flash

Confirmed: Apple and Adobe Collaborating on iPhone Flash

The ongoing debate over Flash on the iPhone appears to be over after Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen announced last week at the World Economic Forum that Adobe and Apple are working together in an effort to bring Flash to the iPhone.

“It’s a hard technical challenge and that’s part of the reason Apple and Adobe are cooperating to try and get it done as soon as possible,” Narayen said in an interview with Bloomberg.

While Narayen didn’t answer the question of whether Apple had strengthened its commitment to putting Flash on the iPhone he did point out that the ball was now in Adobe’s court. “We have the developer kit and the onus is now on us,” he said.

Flash now may be good enough for Apple

The debate has been long and tough. In March last year Narayen said that with or without Apple’s blessing, Adobe planned to develop a Flash player for the iPhone/iPod touch platform. Unfortunately Apple CEO Steve Jobs had already made it clear the current Adobe offerings were not acceptable. Flash Lite, the version designed specifically for mobile devices, just wasn’t good enough and Adobe’s desktop product was just too slow on the iPhone. According to Jobs, what was needed was a “missing product in the middle.”

Has Adobe been working on that product in the middle? In October 2008 Adobe Senior Director of Engineering Paul Betlem confirmed that a Flash player was in development for the iPhone, but pointed out that Adobe would still need approval from Apple to get it onto their products. Clearly, approval has now been granted.

During the Bloomberg interview, Narayen said that Adobe plans to have over a million devices shipped by the end of the year that have Flash and he’s not just talking iPhone; the company is working on the Android platform, the Windows mobile and the Symbian platform.

As to when we’ll see Flash on the iPhone, your guess is as good as ours. No time frame has been offered but given Narayen’s comments last week, we hope to see it this year.

Watch the five minute interview below.

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