Monday, February 15, 2010

MWC demonstrates Wild West nature of mobile market; publishers will likey stick to the sure bet formats

Adobe Systems Incorporated unveiled today at the Mobile World Congress Adobe AIR for mobile devices, and said a beta of Flash Player 10.1 will soon be made available to content providers and mobile developers.  Mobile platforms that Adobe said will support the Flash Player include Android, the BlackBerry platform, Symbian OS, Palm webOS and Windows Mobile -- though word out of the Barcelona event was that the new Windows 7 mobile platform does not support flash, or multitasking.

Mobile platforms are beginning to resemble the Wild West as major software and mobile device manufacturers jockey for position. Today Microsoft announced an major revision of its mobile OS, a consortium was announced of major players, Samsung unveiled is own Bada mobile OS, and Intel and Nokia have announced a new software platform, MeeGo, that will be not only for smartphones but also home phones, cars and computers.

Far from simplifying the process of getting web content onto mobile devices, this is crowding the field and becoming very confusing for content providers.

In another move designed to boost its Flash platform, Adobe announced that they had joined the LiMo Foundation, a group working to bring the Linux-based operating system to mobile devices. Adobe and Apple appear to be in a blood feud over Apple's decision to not include Flash support in its iPhone or iPad OS. Flash is not only used for advertising and video, but is the software solution of choice for magazine flip book vendors.

In the end, the safe play for publishers may well be the same as it was before the Mobile World Congress: stick to the leaders in the field, Apple and Google, and force the others to conform. Additionally, there will no doubt be third party vendors willing to port media content to the various platforms and devices . . . for a price.