Adobe Extends Flash Across Social Nets and Mobile Devices

Adobe Systems is adding components and services that will make it easier for developers to extend their Flash-based applications across various social networks and mobile platforms.

The company today released Adobe Flash Platform Services free of charge to developers who use Adobe's Flash Pro, Flex Builder and Dreamweaver tools. Targeted initially at content publishers and advertisers, it includes services designed to simplify the distribution of Flash applications to multiple social networks and mobile devices. It also includes services to measure and monetize those apps.

"Traditional ways you gain eyeballs are waning in their success," said Adrian Ludwig, group product manager for Adobe's Flash Platform in an interview. Social sites and mobile devices are better targets, he added.

The services and components allow developers to embed menus and buttons within Flash applications that make them sharable across various social networking sites, desktops and mobile platforms.

Among those who have tested the new extensions is Brett Cortese, president of Universal Mind, a Denver based developer of rich Internet applications for businesses. Cortese said a growing number of clients are looking to have their content distributed via social networks and mobile devices.

"This saves us as developers an awful lot of time and lets us concentrate on different types of issues that may not already be developed," Cortese said in an interview.

For mobile applications, the extensions initially support three platforms: Nokia's Symbian, Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's Windows Mobile. Developers can embed a link to the application that is distributed via a SMS message. When the user clicks on the link, it delivers the application to the device. In the case of the iPhone, the links will direct the user to Apple's iTunes App Store, Ludwig said.

Asked if Adobe will support other platforms such as the Blackberry from Research in Motion and Google's Android, Ludwig said "these services are under active development, so I'd expect that we would add those kind of capabilities in the future."

While the extensions will be available free of charge, Ludwig indicated over time, there will be fees for those using the mobile capabilities. "We are trying to figure out what the appropriate revenue model is for distributing to mobile devices," he said. "There's a fair amount of cost associated with distributing to mobile devices because we have to tie into the networks." There will also be fees for applications where there are cross promotional applications that require guaranteed distribution.

Through a partnership with content distributor Gigya, developers will also be able to enable and track installs via paid promotions.

Adobe is also offering software called Distribution Manager that will let developers track the usage of Flash-based applications. It is an Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) application with an analytics engine. Ludwig said it can track how many users have downloaded an app, break down which networks are most popular and count how often customers are using an app. "It gives good insight how an application is being used and helps monetize campaigns," he said.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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