During an e-seminar recently, Mark Doherty spoke about the demise of the still in beta – Flash Lite Distributable Player. The Distributable Player was meant to be a solution to check for the availability of Flash Lite on a Symbian device or Windows Mobile device, and download the latest player via OTA if not present.
However with the announcement, there seemed to be a little buzz around the news and after reading the blog posts by Alessandro, Philippe and BlocketPC, I decided to put a couple of my own thoughts on the topic.
Firstly the Distributable Player was never meant a mass market solution. It mostly targeted the cream of the handsets for which the user base was comparatively smaller. I remember talking to a potential partner just 2 days back and the first question he asked was – which handsets does the Distributable Player support, because if it is only the higher end ones then our discussion on distribution will not yield the targets we have in mind.
The point is, if the Distributable Player was available for larger handset list, i.e where it would check for a supportable player version on a handset and install that, instead of the latest Flash Lite player only, would have been a better solution.
Moreover the Distributable Player installation experience was not very good. It involved multiple installations and checks which equaled to users waiting long before they could actually start looking at a content.
From the distribution point of view, the Distributable Player definitely supported a large list of countries however developers still had to publish their own content via aggregation deals in those regions and aggregators ask for a large handset support.
So this just boils down to one thing – the Distributable Player in its present state would not have allowed mass market distribution.
From how I look at it now, Adobe is talking about the ‘singular experience, multiple device’ with the Open Screen Project and Flash 10.1 which is great, but they wouldn’t sideline developer efforts and investments with Flash Lite completely (no announcement from Adobe on this so far, just speculation from our end!). I want to assume they are working on a better solution because that is what we need right now. We need to reach out to users with good content without educating them about technology, runtimes or installation processes. We need to erase this line of conflicting Flash Lite player versions when distributing content and I hope Adobe would address all of this.
I eagerly await Mark’s next presentation on ‘What Next’ in Flash / Flash Lite for Mobiles and Devices with regards to distribution.