A bunch of the boys have joined Adobe in forming the Open Screen Project to drive a consistent rich Internet experience across TVs, PCs, mobile devices and consumer electronics regardless of operating system.
They’ve been persuaded that the way to squeeze the World Wide Web into those little bitty phones and newfangled MID things – and make it look like a PC – is to enable, maintain and optimize a consistent runtime environment using Adobe’s Flash Player and later on Adobe AIR.
The Open Screen Project is supposed to address what’s called “potential technology fragmentation” by enabling the runtime environment to be updated seamlessly over the air on mobile devices.
To advance the cause, Adobe is gonna drop the licensing fees on the next major release of both its Flash Player and AIR, making them free for devices; immediately remove restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V specifications; publish the device porting layer APIs for the Flash Player; and publish the Flash Cast protocol and AMF protocol for robust data services.
The project includes ARM, Intel, Motorola, Cisco, Marvell, Nokia, Verizon Wireless, NTT DoCoMo, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, Samsung, Qualcomm, LG Electronics and Chunghwa Telecom as well as content providers like the BBC, MTV Networks and NBC Universal.
No, the Flash-thrashing Apple is not among them.
Adobe says the effort will make it easier for developers and designers to distribute content. And it won’t hurt its own, already large, ecosystem either. It argues that with compatibility across all devices the time-to-market for RIAs, rich media content and video will be dramatically reduced.
Flash Player content already reaches over 98% of the Internet-enabled desktops and more than a half-billion handsets and mobile devices and Adobe expects at least another billion handsets and mobile devices will ship with Flash technology by next year. More than 75% of broadcasters who stream video on the web use Flash technology.
For those who don’t know, the SWF binary file format specification is used to deliver vector graphics, text, video, sound and interactivity via the Flash Player and AIR.
The FLV/F4V media container formats, the de facto standards for web video, document the file formats for storing media content used to deliver audio and video playback in Flash Player and AIR.
The APIs Adobe is going to release enable the Flash Player to work on different operating systems and devices.
By removing the licensing restrictions from SWF developer will now be able to write software that will “play” SWF files as well as software that outputs SWF.
Flash Cast is a client/server protocol that synchronizes data between a mobile phone and network-based server. Adobe says it should be available in the next few months.
AMF is the binary format for exchanging data usually between Flash or Flex software and a database. The specification has been open sourced at http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/blazeds/Developer+Documentation.