No Flash Seen on iPhone Horizon

iPhone users eagerly awaiting Adobe’s Flash technology shouldn’t hold their breath — despite the fact that a mobile version of the online multimedia software is nearly ready for Apple’s smartphone.

The reason? It doesn’t look like the two companies are going to settle into a collaborative partnership anytime soon, which ensures that Apple’s needed sign-off on the technology won’t be forthcoming. That’s in spite of the fact that online multimedia and interactivity — and video, in particular — have become a big part of the growing allure of smartphones.

“This is not a Flash technology issue, but a pissing contest between Adobe and Apple,” Roger Entner, an analyst at Nielsen IAG, told He said the “issue” between Apple and Adobe isn’t about technology but tied to “an overall war going on between Apple and Adobe.”

Hopes for an iPhone-compatible version of Flash had soared following a report at today that said Adobe is nearly done with a Flash player for the popular device.

Adobe spokespeople confirmed the report but declined to go into specifics of where the effort stood.

“Adobe is working on a Flash player for the iPhone,” Stefan Offermann, a spokesperson for Adobe mobile technology, told “While the development work is in progress, we can’t share more details at this point.”

Apple did not respond to inquiries about Flash integration issues by press time. The company has indicated that Flash is too resource-intensive to be a good fit for its smartphone.

Still, Adobe maintains that Apple’s customers could benefit from their support.

“We think Flash availability on the iPhone benefits the millions of joint Apple and Adobe customers, and we want to work with Apple to bring these capabilities to the device,” Offermann added.

Flash has shipped on more than 800 million mobile devices and phones worldwide and has a annual growth rate of more than 150 percent, according to Adobe.

The technology has been licensed by a number of other handset vendors, including Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and LG, and currently runs on various mobile platforms including Symbian, Qualcomm BREW, Sony Ericsson OS, Microsoft Windows Mobile and Linux. Adobe said it can be ported to run on embedded operating systems as well.

With such widespread adoption already, it’s little wonder that industry watchers aren’t convinced that technical issus are at work in keeping Flash off Apple’s devices.

It’s unclear whether Apple or Adobe will get stung as a result of the problems. A recent survey conducted by Artificial Life found that 46 percent of mobile device owners use their devices for entertainment. The survey said that 87.5 percent of smartphone users access entertainment content, such as music, games and video, and that 33 percent use the phone for entertainment over any other purpose, including e-mail, GPS and Internet browsing.

For the moment, neither company seems likely to suffer much as a result — but the same can’t be said for Apple’s customers, Entner added.

“Not having Flash on the iPhone isn’t going to stop people from buying it, but it does make it more inconvenient for the users,” he said.

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