Adobe's CTO pitches 'apps near you' concept

CTO Kevin Lynch says users soon will be able to allow location-specific applications to pop up on their mobile devices

Next-generation applications will be location-specific, offering users information and features related to where they are at any given moment, Adobe Systems CTO Kevin Lynch, said at the Open Mobile Summit conference on Thursday.

"Apps near you," as he called the idea, would pop up on mobile screens when a user is close to a specific location. Lynch showed the example of someone with a Samsung tablet visiting a museum and being able to download a guide application, which would automatically adapt as the user moved to different floors or visited the museum restaurant, for instance.

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The same concept could also work in a hotel, allowing users to order room service or a movie via an application.

This will all be possible soon and some of the functionality is already part of Adobe's Air platform for Web applications.

Adobe's CTO also demonstrated how to get a magazine-quality layout on the Web using HTML5 and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Lynch showed how text could dynamically adapt as he moved a picture around, which would also be helpful developing applications for devices with different screen sizes. The company is working to make the functionality a part of webkit-based browsers.

It wouldn't have been an Adobe presentation without some Flash demos and Lynch showed a 480p hardware-accelerated YouTube clip running on a Research In Motion Playbook and the "Pigs on Ice" game. A user can control the game by tilting the tablet.

Lynch expressed a positive outlook on how smartphone performance will improve, which will make them capable of running more advanced applications. For a long time phones were under-powered, but that is changing with the arrival of dual-core and quad-core processors.

Cloud services will help increase processing power even more, according to Lynch.

Better battery technology has made smartphones possible, but improvements have slowed in the last five or six years. That is starting to constrain the amount of processing power in mobile devices. However, Lynch said another breakthrough is on the way, thanks to work now being done to improve batteries for electric cars.

The amount of mobile bandwidth is also growing, with LTE (Long Term Evolution) offering speeds that will surpass many wired networks, he said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com.

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