Flash on the iPhone? Don't hold your breath

Summary:Adobe has confirmed that Flash capabilities won't be coming to the iPhone anytime soon due to the technical difficulties in deploying it on America's most popular smartphone.Silverlight, anyone?

Adobe has confirmed that Flash capabilities won't be coming to the iPhone anytime soon due to the technical difficulties in deploying it on America's most popular smartphone.

Silverlight, anyone? (Just kidding.)

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen discussed the difficulties in bringing the company's most well-distributed product to the iPhone.

"It's a hard technical challenge, and that's part of the reason Apple and Adobe are collaborating. The ball is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver."

One of the most common programs on computers worldwide, Flash is most commonly used to play video on the Web (such as YouTube and Hulu) and support interface elements (such as the Myspace player).

If you recall, Apple CEO Steve Jobs sparked controversy last March when he said Flash was not good enough for the iPhone -- the full version being "too slow" for the iPhone and mobile-ready Flash Lite as not "advanced enough".

Futhermore, Flash technically violates the iPhone's Terms of Service.

But Apple's release of its iPhone Software Development Kit cleared the way. Now it's simply a waiting game to see if the iPhone can actually deliver a true Internet experience, without crutches.

The competition's heating up, too: Adobe announced that other mobile platforms such as Google's Android and Windows Mobile are about to be Flash capable, and will also run the Java Virtual Machine by Sun Microsystems, which is also absent on the iPhone.

The iPhone may have been the first fully-fledged Internet experience in the mobile world, but competition (T-Mobile G1, BlackBerry Storm, Palm Pre, etc.) may soon overtake its feature set if it doesn't address the issues.

In other words: The time for Apple to stop resting on its laurels is now.

Narayen indicated that Adobe and Apple are now working together to bring Flash to the iPhone. But as Ian Paul at PC World put it so appropriately, is Flash on the iPhone more a technical hurdle or a political one?

Topics: Enterprise Software, iPhone, Mobility

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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