Today's the day! The long-awaited release of Flash player for mobile devices has finally arrived.
For those of you with Android-based devices, once you've upgraded to FroYo (2.2) you'll be able to install the player. Looks like Adobe has also released it to the companies behind Blackberry, webOS and Windows Mobile phones as well. Those of us with Apple devices, well, we're going to just have to stare at that little blue brick until mommy and daddy stop fighting.
As for what makes this release special, consider that Adobe (and before that Macromedia) has been promising a viable Flash runtime for mobile for what feels like forever. 10.1 is the first full Flash runtime built from the ground up for mobile devices, taking into account their inherent limitations (processor power, screen size, battery life) and still providing what early reviews say is outstanding performance. Short version: you can now watch more videos, play more games and access more rich internet applications on your mobile devices than ever before.
There's a lot here for the developer community too. Until today we were stuck building web based applications (as it turns out, mobile devices aren't immune to browser implementation quirks either) or going fully native (thus incurring the cost of building new for every targeted platform). Now, we can build modern, web-friendly, high-performance applications that will run on a wide variety of devices from all but one of the top-tier mobile device manufacturers once and only once.
The mobile market is changing rapidly. HTML5 is years away from an official standard. Mobile browser-based applications will always have to work around implementation quirks, even if the feature set is striving towards parity with what Flash player has had for years. I'm excited to have the option of building an app once, having it available everywhere and knowing that it'll "just work."