Adobe has pledged to optimize a version of Flash 10 for smartphones using ARM processors like those of the iPhone — but iPhone itself isn't getting that upgrade. Also, flash memory maker Spansion has implicated Apple in lawsuits against Samsung that could block the import of iPods.
At the start of its Max conference for developers, Adobe on Monday demonstrated Flash 10 for ARM processors as well as a similarly mobile port of AIR, or its container for stand-alone Flash apps.
The technology is due in the second half of 2009 and will give smartphones and home electronics based on ARM11 series chips features closer to full desktop-level Flash through a mix of optimizations and the hardware graphics acceleration of newer devices.
But while the new code is cross-platform and would work on iPhone's ARM1176 processor, Adobe notably demonstrated on Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and Symbian — not Apple's hardware.
According to Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch, the continued absence of Flash on the iPhone now has less to do with technical barriers and more with Apple's opinion of whether the animation software is worth the effort.
"This needs a little more baking. We need to pass the taste test of Apple's head chef," the official says, referring to the iPhone maker's Steve Jobs.
Apple's co-founder has been openly critical of Flash as it exists on mobile devices. While Flash Lite already exists for cellphones, it doesn't support the plugins user expect. Conversely, desktop-ready Flash is full-featured but, until now, too stressful for iPhones and most other smartphones to handle.
Spansion drags Apple into flash memory lawsuits
Flash storage manufacturer Spansion has filed lawsuits with the US International Trade Commission against Samsung to block shipments of the latter's memory chips.
Filed in a Delaware court, the complaints accuse Samsung of relying so heavily on US-based Spansion's patents that it not only legitimately references these often but has "built a worldwide business" worth $7 billion on several infringing patents used in flash for cameras, cellphones, portable media players, and virtually any other electronic device that uses the format for some kind of storage.
Among the alleged violations are for technology used to make floating memory gates, creating structures inside the memory, and writing multiple pieces of data to a single memory cell.
Although Apple isn't named as a specific target of the lawsuits, its use of Samsung memory for many of its devices is mentioned in one of the filings. This puts it in the same company as ASUS, Lenovo, Sony, and multiple other firms whose products will be touched by the lawsuit.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has in the past used Samsung mostly for iPod memory but also relies on its solid-state drives in the optional storage for the current MacBook range.
Besides asking the ITC to block Samsung from further supposed patent violations, Spansion is seeking triple damages for "willful" infringement.