Qualcomm Adobe BREW FlashBREW 2008, SAN DIEGO -  Adobe and Qualcomm announced Flash would be fully integrated into the BREW Mobile Platform. The news was the latest in a string of great announcements about the platform that are taking the BREW and the Flash Lite communities by surprise. Last week’s announcement came on the heels of some great developments on the Flash front with Sony Ericsson announcing all its future handsets will be Flash enabled and with Adobe’s announcement that licensing the Flash player will be free (meaning other handset makers are likely to follow).

Qualcomm and Adobe are partnering to create, or rather revamp, Qualcomm’s BREW Mobile Platform. For an Adobe perspective Read Bill Perry’s overview on his FlashDevices blog. Technically, BREW already was a mobile platform to begin with, but in the wake of the iPhone and possible Android disruptions, it’s not surprising this has been in the works. These companies are looking for partners to create platforms and alliances to ensure their competitive edge. Could this mean that we will see AIR mobile (Adobe Integrated Runtime) soon? And if so, will it cooperate with this new BREW Mobile Platform?

The Adobe Flash Lite player has been available as a BREW application (BREW engineers call it an extension) for almost 2 years — but in its current state, it allows Flash Lite applications to run only as siloed downloads (for games, screen savers, visual ringtones, etc.). There was no good way to use Flash Lite for anything other than tiny apps, unless you had the full support of Adobe in helping you write a custom player for your platform of choice. In addition, it was clear Adobe did not have plans to port Flash Lite 3 to the BREW platform as a BREW app.

Fast forward to now…

With this announcement, there is some amazing potential. First, this means that someday soon we will be able to paint BREW applications and phone UI’s with Flash! Until now, outside of uiOne and TrigML (which have their limitiations) there were no higher-level tools to create BREW UIs — the only way to create a BREW UI was through C++ coding and widgets. This worked for traditional, engineer-led development efforts, but didn’t readily allow the kind of rich UIs these tools are capable of. Thanks, but no thanks.

However, imagine what we as developers could do if we could use a deeply familiar content creation tool like the Flash IDE to help BREW developers create a better user experience? Flash development means easier employment of motion design principles - animations, transitions etc. - to create more meaningful UI, all without breaking budgets or blowing timelines. I think there are some amazing opportunities coming down the road soon. Get ready.

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