Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 11:29 UK

Adobe opens up Flash on mobiles

Woman watching TV on a mobile, BBC
Watching TV on a mobile can be a frustrating experience

Adobe has announced a plan to try to get its Flash player installed on more mobile devices and set-top boxes.

Dubbed Open Screen the initiative lifts restrictions on how its multimedia handling software can be used.

Adobe will stop charging licencing fees for mobile versions of Flash and plans to publish information about the inner workings of the code.

In taking this step Adobe hopes to repeat on mobiles the success its Flash technology has enjoyed on the web.

Video deal

Adobe estimates that its Flash player is installed on more than 98% of net-connected desktop computers.

The Open Screen plan will build on Flash Lite - Adobe's version of its multimedia player designed for mobile gadgets - that is already on millions of handhelds.

The ultimate aim of Open Screen is to make it much easier for TV and film makers to send their content to mobiles and on other devices such as set-top boxes.

It aims to do this by creating one flexible player technology that can run on any small-form device but only demands that developers write code once for it.

At the moment trying to get games or video on to different devices can be frustrating because of the plethora of hardware and software quirks on each gadget.

Adobe's four-step plan involves ending license fees; removing restrictions on the use of files in SWF and FLV format; publishing detailed information about the program interfaces for its Flash player and opening up information about its Flash streaming technology.

The move is the latest in a series that are aiming to open up Flash and get more developers working with it.

It is also part of the larger plan for Adobe Air - an overarching code development system that aims to bridge the gap between web and desktop applications.

Adobe said it was working with Arm, SonyEricsson, Nokia, LG and other gadget makers on the Open Screen initiative as well as content partners such as the BBC, MTV and NBC.

Adobe faces competition from Microsoft which is trying to get Silverlight - its answer to Air - on to mobiles too.

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