At GSMA Mobile World Congress last week, Adobe and Nokia announced Open Screen Project fund aimed for helping developers create new applications and services for mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices using Adobe’s Flash Platform. The initial size of the fund is $10 million.
All developers can now submit concepts for new applications. The focus areas are not that limited; you can enter with apps on entertainment, business, social networking, productivity, gaming, travel, multimedia, health, finance, weather, sports, news, education, etc… The requirements are that the applications are based on the Adobe Flash Platform, will run on Nokia devices, and will work on multiple screens, including mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices. The review criteria focuses on the innovativeness of the concept, appeal of the UI, robustness the application or planned implementation, and how well the application exploits the capabilities and features of Nokia devices, Adobe Flash (including Flash Lite) and Adobe AIR. It is stated in the fund’s FAQ that of special interest are connected applications leveraging core Nokia device capabilities such as camera, location/GPS, and user contacts. The concepts will be reviewed by “mobile and desktop application and services experts” at Adobe and Nokia. Accepted concepts will receive 25% of the agreed financing upfront and 75% upon project completion.
Open Screen Project is an industry initiative led by Adobe, aiming to provide consumers richer, more interactive, and more consistent user experience for web content and standalone applications on televisions, set-top boxes, mobile devices and other consumer devices. Adobe has gathered over 20 members aboard so far, including the top 5 mobile phone manufacturers, Intel, Qualcomm, and Verizon. The vision of Open Screen Project is to “Enable consumers to engage with rich Internet experiences seamlessly across any device, anywhere.” The key is to establish a consistent runtime environment across different platforms and environments, by reducing the fragmentation of devices, operating systems, and browsers.
So far Flash has a wide reach, considering numerous operating systems and devices, and and existing community of over million developers. Adobe is no doubt trying very hard to make Flash the de facto standard of mobile and the new converging web devices as well. Sun Microsystems is challenging Adobe in the runtime race by the introduction of JavaFX framework, which is boasted to provide simplicity and ease of design similar to Flash, but with much more extensive scripting features. Sun is also targeting e.g. IPTV and set top box manufacturers among others with JavaFX. In terms of installed base Flash has gotten a lot of head, though, with stated close to 40 percent of all new mobile devices shipped with Flash Lite in 2008. Adobe also just released Flash Lite Distributable player for over-the-air distribution of Flash Lite applications.