If you own an iOS device, the greatest roadblock to browsing the web you’ve ever run into has been Apple’s insistence not to build in native support for Adobe Flash, citing performance issues that the plugin would cause. While today’s development doesn’t change Apple’s stance, Adobe has developed a new technology that could, 4 years later, finally bring Flash content to all iOS devices, namely; iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Adobe announced a new version of Adobe Flash Media Server today, a product that allows developers to stream Flash content straight to a wide range of devices. Version 4.5, which is being unveiled today, finally enables users to play Flash content on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad without any sort of Flash add-on. How? It’s simple: instead of processing the Flash content locally on the device, all the content is rendered on a remote server and only then sent to browsers just like any regular HTTP stream, much like how Skyfire browser does it.
As Ben Rolling, vice president of development for AEG Digital Media, highlighted the importance of the ability to easily streaming video to massive audiences:
When your business is based on delivering live, broadcast-quality video streams for high-profile events to massive audiences across the world, having strong technology backing you is vital,
This process is similar to what other third-party tools have done in the past to avoid Apple’s restriction. CloudBrowse, an alternative browser for iOS, allows certain Flash content to be played back, something that was never possible in the past. The advantage of Adobe’s implementation is the fact that it won’t require any software to be installed on the device.
Keep in mind, however, that this is not a full implementation of Flash and won’t provide any other technology than plain old streaming video, no matter how well it might function. If you were hoping to finally be able to play Flash games on your iPad, this is not a dream come true: in fact, Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 is just an alternative way for developers to implement video streams, which can already be implemented by other means today. Also keep in mind that this new tool will only apply to websites that choose to implement it and won’t make existing Flash content magically work.
There are several editions of Flash Media Server, the lowest one of which being priced at $995. You can find out more about this product on Adobe’s product page.