Adobe Systems plans to release the final version of Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones on Tuesday, but very few people will be able to use it right away.
Flash Player 10.1 is designed to offer a consistent user experience across laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, and televisions. The player for desktops became available June 10.
Users of phones running Android 2.2 will be the first to get the player, said Anup Muraka, director of technology strategy at Adobe. The trouble is that version 2.2 has so far only been pushed out to review units of one phone model, the Nexus One. All Nexus One phones, Motorola's Droid and other Android models are expected to get the operating system soon.
Adobe also is releasing the final version of the player to partners including Research In Motion, Palm, Symbian, and Microsoft; however, it's unclear yet which phones currently on the market might get it.
"We have to work with each platform company to figure out which phones can support it," said Muraka. If existing phones can handle it, Adobe will work with the phone makers to determine how to distribute the player to users.
"We may not see a huge number of these devices available on Tuesday, but the pipeline for Christmas, CES, Mobile World Congress next year is really exciting," he said. The Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Congress are two large conferences early in the year where many phone makers announce new products.
The software can be pushed out to users over the air or it can be made available in application stores where users can choose to download it, he said.
It will also be possible for an operating system provider to display a pop-up for users who visit a Web site that requires Flash Player 10.1, explaining that they need the player and letting them download it immediately, he said. That would work similarly to the way computer operating systems allow people to download the most recent Flash Players when they visit sites that require it.
Otherwise, Flash Player 10.1 will be built into new phones that may appear by the end of the year or early next, Muraka said.
Flash Player 10.1 for mobile phones will support multitouch, gestures, soft keyboards and other input methods like accelerometers, he said. It will incorporate some other new features aimed at simplifying viewing Web pages on small devices. For instance, double tapping on a Flash object on a page will automatically zoom in on the object, he said.
Still, he cautioned that Flash Player 10.1 doesn't have loads of new features. "This release is redesigned from the ground up to build a new foundation that not just scales across the Mac, Windows and Linux, but for the first time supports a wide range of mobile and emerging TV platforms," he said. "While there may not be the usual long list of new features, that foundation is critical to upcoming growth and features coming in future versions."
Adobe listed a number of high-profile companies that support the newest version of the Flash Player including Dell, Samsung, Google, RIM, HTC, Arm, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Intel and Texas Instruments. Content partners that said they're happy for the new release include Turner, Viacom, HBO, MSNBC, and Photobucket.