In April 2010, Steve Jobs' outlined why Flash would not be permitted on iOS devices in his "Thoughts on Flash" open letter. While Jobs made some valid points in terms of Flash's proprietary nature, security concerns, and the fact it drains the batteries of mobile devices, the popularity of the Skyfire 2.0 mobile web browser and standalone VideoQ Flash video player showed that there were still plenty of iOS users keen to Flash video on their mobile devices. Now Adobe has finally come to the party with its own solution that will allow Flash video content to be viewed directly within Safari on iOS devices.
When it detects a lack of Flash support on a device, Adobe's Flash Media Server 4.5 will allow Flash content to be streamed using the iOS-compatible HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) protocol - an HTTP-based media streaming protocol supported by HTML5 that Apple created and already uses for Quicktime X and iOS. As with Skyfire's solutions, the Adobe solution sees the on-the-fly video crunching taking place on the server, so the mobile device won't have to carry out the processor-intensive crunching themselves, resulting in improved battery life. It also means that Flash-based games and animations still won't work on iOS devices.
The use of the HLS protocol means Safari on iOS already supports Adobe's new solution. All that is needed is for content publishers to shell out US$4,500 and implement the new Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5, which Adobe showcased during the IBC trade show in Amsterdam last week.
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