- Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
With this announcement Adobe has finally blessed clone players. Although there have been several clone players available, they were not supposed to be out there officially. None of them were anywhere close in features to what Adobe offerd (not to mention the frequet crashes :), but they were definitely lot better in performance. Now that the specifications are public, they will become more compliant to Flash swf format, and may be one or two will emerge as real competition too.
- Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
This has very interesting implications. So far the Flash Lite code was strictly off limits to companies who were not authorized by Adobe. In fact this was one of the value add done by companies such as us. We had access to the Flash code and ported the player to different devices at a fraction of the cost of what it would have cost them otherwise.
With this announcement, Adobe promises to make the platform specific APIs public from Mobile Client2 onwards(which is supposed to be equivalent of Flash 10, and expected sometimes in the second half of 2009). Using these APIs, users will be able to port MC2 to their devices. So the barriers entry to someone wanting Flass player will be significantly lessened. This means that you will see lot more embedded devices and cell phones using Flash. Lot more start-ups will pop up with innovative ideas around Flash player.
This will be a true boon for Flash developers. Since lot more devices will support Flash, demand for Flash content will increase. Lot more Flash applications will start to appear. With some luck, this has potential to make Flash as powerful in mobile and embedded world as it is in desktop today.
However, having worked on several ports, unless this is executed well by Adobe, it may turn out to be a half hearted attempt. Some of the major enhancements today, such as hardware acceleration, require changes to ‘core code’ which will not be released by Adobe. So even if the public has access to platform specific APIs, they may be stuck with a slow Flash player thats too heavy for embedded devices.
This will certainly increase the sales of Adobe’s authoring tool- something that Adobe has always been doing. A good executation strategy will be key to success of this.
- Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
This is another good move. Again, this will lead to more clones who support Flash cast, perhaps some even with more features than what Flash Cast offers. Start ups will emerge in all areas- clone server side, clone players, specialized sites built aroud customized clones- what not.
- Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free
This has been one of the most consistent complaints from all the customers we speak to. They don’t want to pay royalty per device. In addition to tight BOM, they don’t want to get stuch spend additional money on Flash. In high growth areas such as Asia we found this to be particularly critical where the OEM device makers has to keep the costs low so they can compete. Now that the licensing fees will no longer have to be paid, expect to see lot more low end devices using Flash.
Note that this will not go into effect until MC2 comes out, so those who are looking for flash player today will still have to pay royalties. I think for the device makers who want to take advantage of FL3 today and ride on youtube and myspace wave, that is the right thing to do.
There you have it. My 2 cents about the impact of this announcement. Please do email me your comments and thoughts.