The idea of Flash technology on a BlackBerry smartphone isn't at all new; there's been chatter about the coming of Flash for months; it was first announced at Adobe's developer conference last fall; and the news was again confirmed back in January at CES.
What was unclear was when exactly Flash would arrive. Today, we have an answer—albeit an "unspecific" one.
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen told Fox Business in a video interview on the subject of Flash and Apple's public dismissal of the technology (posted above), that it has been working closely with RIM to bring Flash to the BlackBerry in various forms. And the fruits of the two companies labors should be available to BlackBerry users--as well as Android and webOS users--before the close of 2010, according to Adobe's chief executive.
Narayen also told Fox News that in addition to the BlackBerry Browser's coming support for Flash, the company is working with RIM to ensure applications built using Flash run seamlessly on BlackBerry smartphones. The CEO also mentioned Omniture, the Web analytics firm acquired last year by Adobe, and said BlackBerry users and/or content provides will be able to access online analytics, though it's unclear what exactly Narayen meant by this. Perhaps Flash-application developers will be able to track and/or monetize content usage within specific apps.
From the Fox Business video:
"Flash is synonymous with the Internet," Narayen says. "There are millions of sites that have been built using Flash. So a lack of support for Flash on any device means that consumers using those devices aren't getting Flash in all its glory."
Personally, I'm very excited to see Flash coming to the BlackBerry platform, but I'm honestly not convinced it's as big a deal as Narayen et al want us to believe. Sure it'll be nice to view more video on my BlackBerry, but much of the Flash on the Web is used for advertisements, anyway, and I certainly don't need more of those on my mobile device.
And the screen on my BlackBerry is just too small for any kind of "serious" Web browsing; I typically use my BlackBerry browser to find a quick answer to questions, locate addresses to restaurants or bars or for checking sports scores, etc. Perhaps I'm being shortsighted, but I'm not sure I really need Flash on my BlackBerry.
And then there are the concerns that Flash will actually have a negative effect on smartphone Web browsing, since the technology can require faster processors and data transfer speeds than are currently available via BlackBerry or other devices for optimal performance.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently made it clear that the iPhone/iPad won't get Flash any time soon—Jobs is looking to HTML 5 to bring a more robust Web-surfing experience to the iPhone. And Jobs may actually be onto something by skipping Flash.
Regardless, BlackBerry users can expect to see Flash support within the upcoming "Webkit" BlackBerry Browser before year's end...at least according to Adobe's CEO.