Tag Archives | Flash

Jailbreak Your iPhone, Get Flash with Frash

Our regular readers will probably remember my post last month on Frash, a Flash plug-in being developed for jailbroken iPhones. Well, it is now available for download. Comex, the same hacker who developed the Jailbreakme.com website jailbreak, has uploaded the application to the Cydia app store.

Frash would be compatible with the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, the third generation iPod touch, and the iPad. Be forewarned however that the app — which enables Flash in Mobile Safari — will only support basic Flash animations, but not Flash video. It’s a start however, and those who really want the support on their iOS devices are probably not going to mind the drawbacks.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who’s daring enough to install this on their device on how the experience is.


Frash Could Be Apple's Flash Waterloo

An enterprising developer has proven that with a little work, Flash will work just fine on the iPad and iPhone, as long as you’re comfortable jailbreaking your device. Yes you will have problems–Flash is intended for use with a mouse, and not touch-based input methods. But certainly it gives hope that enterprising developers can be able to force Apple’s hand.

The program is called “Frash,” and will work in Safari Mobile through a compatibility layer. The program is actually a port of the official Adobe Flash plug-in that is already available for Android devices. Performance is actually pretty decent–sorry Mr. Jobs, there goes your trademark excuse for not allowing Flash at all.

Continue Reading →


Why Adobe’s Bum Rush of the iPhone Doesn’t Matter

Apple has done all it can to keep Flash off the iPhone. It has used about every excuse in the book — too memory intensive, a drain on battery power, what have you — even though Adobe has pretty much addressed most of these issues. Flash is ready for the iPhone but Apple is not ready for Flash.

Either way Adobe is not going to wait much longer. It’s Creative Suite 5 product, now going through private beta, is going to include functionality that will automatically convert Flash applications to ones that are compatible with the iPhone.

This has the potential to be quite the step forward in iPhone development. TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld seems to even go as far as suggesting this as some kind of game changer. CS5 has the potential to expand the developer far beyond the 125,000 iPhone developers out there today, considering there’s about two million Flash developers worldwide.

I hate to rain on anyones parade, but not so fast.

For all that we know of this functionality, it appears to just be a port. Essentially the Flash code is translated into what the software believes is the closest match in iPhone code and goes with it. Like we’ve found out in the past with “WYSIWYG” HTML editors such as Microsoft’s popular FrontPage product, this isn’t always a good thing.

What’s the result? Bulky, slow running applications. In the dog-eat-dog world that has become the App Store, that’s just not going to fly.

I highly doubt that Flash developers that have gone to great lengths to create great Flash apps would allow these same apps to become subpar just to get on the iPhone. While no doubt there will be a subset of Flash developers that will use this feature, it’s not going to be as many as people think.

Bottom line? If these developers want to develop for the iPhone, then they should do it the right way.


Google Acquisition Could Move HTML 5 Ahead

Google and On2Google’s $106.5 million acquisition of video technology maker On2 Technologies today could signal that it intends to make technology freely available for the next version of HTML, someday eliminating the need for plug-ins such as Flash for video playback on the Web.

On2 Technologies is best known for its VP7 and VP8 video codecs. The codecs could be used to enable seamless video playback within HTML 5 compatible Web browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.5, Opera, and Safari.

HTML 5 is an upcoming version of the HTML standard that has support for audio, graphics and video, as well as interactive document editing. It is incomplete, and has been implemented in browsers in a piecemeal fashion.

HTML is the lingua franca of the Web, but the Web had changed a great deal since HTML 4 was published in December 1997. Industry powerhouses have been plugging away at the HTML 5 draft specification ever since.

The scope of the next-generation Web protocol is very ambitious, and not surprisingly, it has not been without controversy. HTML 5 includes a video element to enable playback without requiring any additional plug-ins or software, and the HTML 5 working group has been split over what uniform video codec should be used.

The working group’s inability to move beyond the impasse has threatened the inclusion of the video element in HTML 5. One camp (that includes Apple and Google) has supported H.264, a codec that requires implementers to pay patent licensing royalties. Others, including Mozilla and Opera, favor Ogg Theora, an open source solution.

Google has already incorporated elements of HTML 5 into its Chrome Web browser, and has begun to utilize it in its Web applications. It has also been experimenting with an HTML 5 edition of YoutTubesans Flash.

“Today video is an essential part of the Web experience, and we believe high-quality video compression technology should be a part of the Web platform,” said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, in a prepared statement. “We are committed to innovation in video quality on the Web, and we believe that On2’s team and technology will help us further that goal.”

HTML is obviously a part of the company’s long term technology plan, and ushering it along by releasing the On2 codecs into the public domain would be compatible with that goal.


Silverlight vs. Flash: The Winner is…Consumers!

At Microsoft’s MIX conference today, the company Silverlight 3.0,  a new version of its rich-media Web plug-in, that includes new multimedia capabilities that aim to it to parity with Adobe Flash, it can now run applications offline as well, as Adobe’a AIR can. Adobe will doubtlessly respond by improving both Flash and AIR, continuing its leapfrog race with Microsoft.

When Microsoft introduced Silverlight 2.0, it stripped out many of the advanced graphics capabilities found in Silverlight’s predecessor, the .NET Framework’s Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Adobe responded by giving Flash Player custom effects and filters as well as GPU hardware acceleration in an attempt to differentiate its platform.

Microsoft must have been taking notes. Silverlight 3 uses hardware graphics acceleration and includes support for 3D effects. Those features can be used for viewing up high definition video or even to jazz up business applications. It also reaches outside of the browser, and is cross platform for Windows and Mac (Mono Moonlight, a Linux version, is progressing more slowly).

Let’s be realistic: Flash continues to dominate the Rich Internet Application space. However, Microsoft is now concentrating so much of its resources on Silverlight that there’s no way Adobe can regard it as anything other than a real threat to Flash’s pervasiveness. I say, let the two companies have at it. The Web applications that developers create using either platform will be more powerful and provide consumers with better, more useful, and more entertaining experiences.


Full-Fledged Flash on Smartphones. Most of Them, Anyhow…

Mobile World CongressIt’s tempting to crack a joke about “Skip Intro” coming soon to a smartphone near you. But seriously, this is good news: Here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Adobe is announcing that it plans to bring Flash Player to phones running the Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian Series 60 operating systems, as well as Palm’s upcoming Web OS, in 2010. This is supposed to be full-fledged Flash, not the slimmed-down “Flash Lite” technology that’s been on phoned for years and which has failed to make any impact at all.

Say what you will about Flash, it’s unquestionably a significant component of today’s “real Web,” and I’ve spent enough time being frustrated by its absence that I’m anxious to see how it translates onto a tiny screen. Even though the one significant platform that isn’t part of Adobe’s announcement today is the one I use most often: Apple’s iPhone. [UPDATE: Er, one of two–BlackBerry isn’t part of the announcement either.] Adobe still says it’s working on Flash for the iPhone, but that it’s really up to Apple to decide whether we get it. Which it is, as long as the App Store is the only viable iPhone distribution channel…


Microsoft Shoots Back at Adobe Over Silverlight

Adobe CFO Mark Garrett seems to think that Silverlight is “fizzling,” but Microsoft begs to differ. The exec’s comments came as part of a broader talk on Adobe’s business at the homas Weisel Partners Technology & Telecom Conference being held this week in San Francisco.

Garrett’s contention is that while Silverlight may have launched strong, demand has fizzled out and Adobe has moved ahead in terms of innovation, with Microsoft struggling to catch up. He also suggested that the company may not have the “mindset” to be aggressive with pushing the technology forward, BetaNews reports.

Microsoft seems to beg to differer however. In a response to Garrett’s comments, the company told us that one in four computer users have access to Silverlight, with 100 million downloads of the newest version of the platform since October of last year.

There have also been some important wins for Microsoft as of late:

  • CBS extensively uses the platform to serve its content across its network of sites;
  • The Presidential Inauguration Committee chose Silverlight to webcast the swearing in of President Obama in January;
  • Netflix’s online streaming service is powered by Silverlight, allowing it to stream to both PC and Mac platforms.

Not too shabby for a platform that is apparently fizzling if Adobe is to be believed. Of course, Flash adoption is by far much more widespread, but let’s take into account the fact that the technology has been available for many more years than Silverlight has.

On a related side note, Moonlight 1.0 was officially released today, which is a open-source project to bring Silverlight to the Linux platform. The platform got its first big test during the inauguaration, when a preview version was released to allow Linux users to view the webcast.

According to Microsoft, the applicaition was downloaded some 20,000 times.


Report: Google Polishes Off Chrome

chromelogo2The browser was are heating up– again. Google vice president Marissa Mayer said that company’s Chrome browser is on the verge of coming out of beta, according to a report by TechCrunch. Chrome made its debut as a beta on September 2nd; for Google, a beta period of only a few months is a surprisingly short one.

Google’s applications are a likely vehicle for distributing Chrome, with Apple having paved the way for more aggressive bundling by tethering distribution of Safari to iTunes. There is also plenty of potential for high-profile promotion of Chrome at Google’s wildly popular Web properties, and the company has several hardware partners that could pre-load the browser on PCs.

Chrome is the bedrock for Google’s whole Web application platform. Its pillars are speed and stability: Chrome’s zippy JavaScript engine is at the top of the class, and its use of separate processes for browser tabs and windows can make browsing more reliable.

The arrival of Chrome has also pressured other browser makers such as Firefox to accelerate the performance of their JavaScript engines–making Google’s applications perform better across the board.

Google will be leveraging Chrome to deliver the open source Native Client project, a plug-in that permits Web applications to directly access hardware resources. Let’s hope that Native Client is effectively sandboxed so it can’t be abused by hackers, so we don’t revisit the bad old days of the ubiquitous ActiveX exploit. The more Google can blur the lines between client applications and Web applications, the more competitive it will be against entrenched software. CPU intensive software will no longer have to run on the desktop. The concept of what type of application a Web application can be would be drastically changed.

Chrome is based upon the WebKit open source project, making it easier for developers to make their sites and services Chrome-friendly, because it is not something entirely new. Google is likewise providing a framework for the development of secure Firefox-like extensions for Chome. Developers could very well fall in love with Chrome, but with technologies and tools from Adobe, Microsoft, Sun, and others in the mix, not to mention HTML 5, they may have to pick their side of the battlefield. You can see why it’s in Google’s best interest to release a Chrome that’s ready for prime time sooner rather than later.


Adobe Releases Flash Player 10

Adobe on Wednesday shipped its latest update to what has now become nearly the de-facto standard for multimedia on the web, Flash Player 10. One of the most noticeable enhancements here would be 3D support, which would add a whole new layer of interactivity to Flash-enabled applications.

Using 3D would be easy, Adobe says — it would allow for easy manipulation of 2D images within a 3D space. Another enhancement is custom filters and effects, which would bring in transitions and the like into flash animations.

Enhancements to text layout would give designers more freedom and control over how fonts are displayed. Designers would also have more control over sound generation and drawing of objects through more complex APIs.

In a hat tip to the dramatic uptick in use of Flash to stream multimedia, Adobe has included with Flash 10 a system where the stream will automatically adapt to bandwidth conditions. This would allow for smoother video and audio playback.

Adobe has included some demonstrations of the new features on its website, which you can check out by clicking here.

We should see these features in use fairly quickly. As Adobe’s John Dowdell notes, Flash Player 9 saw 80 percent adoption within a single year. With the leap forward the company has taken with Flash 10, and the public’s willingness to upgrade their players, it shouldn’t be long before we see these new features in use.

You can download the new player on Adobe’s website.

One problem so far: WordPress’ flash-based file uploader seems to be incompatible with Flash 10. One good thing: I was getting a lot of choppy video playback in Flash on my MacBook Pro, that seems to be doing better with this version, although its not completely gone.

Are you experiencing any hiccups? Let us know.

One comment