Adobe predicts huge growth for its Flash player in smartphones

Adobe also adds digital publishing tools to Android Honeycomb tablets

BARCELONA -- While Apple dismisses the value of the Flash Player for its smartphones and tablets, which Apple mobile products don't support, the makers of Flash at Adobe Systems are pounding their chests about its promise.

Adobe predicts 600% growth in the number of smartphones having the Flash 10.1 Player installed in 2011, reaching 132 million smartphones and more than 50 tablet models with either the player installed or available for download, the company said Monday. For the six months following the launch of Flash 10.1, more than 20 million smartphones were shipped or upgraded with it.

The platforms supporting Flash in 2011 will include Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and Hewlett Packard's WebOS, among others, Adobe said at the Mobile World Congress, which kicked off Monday here. Adobe also showcased Flash Player 10.2, which offers new features such as Stage Video to deliver improved video performance on mobile devices, desktops and TVs.

"Flash is hardly going away," said Anup Murarka, director of product marketing for Flash at Adobe Systems in an interview. "The usage points to continued growth."

Of the first 40 smartphones running Flash, the most popular in the U.S. were in the Droid family, such as the Droid X and the HTC Evo, he said.

"Apple's view is that users don't need Flash and can get to the Web without it," he said. "But we get comments that users can enjoy more of the Web by having Flash. "

Murarka didn't make the case that customers specifically buy smartphones for the Flash player, but he added, "It's certainly something consumers have shown demand for."

Adobe also provides Adobe Air, a developer tool that allows delivery of applications for the Apple iOS platform, as well as Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, and TVs. Air applications are available on more than 84 million smartphones and tablets already, Adobe said. More than 200 million smartphones and tablets will support Air by the end of 2011, Adobe predicted.

Adobe also announced that its Digital Publishing Suite tools can now be used to create and distribute magazines to Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets through software called Content Viewer for Android. One of the Honeycomb tablets coming to market is the Motorola Xoom.

Magazine publisher Conde Nast, Dennis Publishing, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and National Geographic already use the Digital Publishing Suite.

In a statement, Joe Simon, the CTO at Conde Naste, said the suite has already been used to produce digital editions of Wired and The New Yorker. "We're looking forward to bringing some of the world's most beloved and influential magazines to the Android platform," he said.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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