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October « 2009 « Appency – Mobile Application PR & Marketing – page 2

Adobe this morning is making news as they announced the next iteration of Flash – version 10.1, which includes support for the expected personal computers, smartbooks, netbooks and of course… smartphones. Of the list of supported handset manufacturers… one name is (un)surprisingly missing. Apple.

Pundits around the net have long speculated (pretty much since iPhone day one) on when Flash integration would finally happen. Adobe has approached Apple and has been trying to work around the issues involved, and Steve Jobs himself has commented on the topic, saying that Flash Lite (the baby version of Flash that was initially designed to support mobile devices) "is not capable of being used with the web." It simply is not a web plugin technology and only bears fleeting relation to the desktop version of Flash, which Jobs said "performs too slow to be useful" on the iPhone.

"There’s this missing product in the middle," Jobs stated, however with the iPhone conspicuously off the supported handset list, it seems that Flash 10. 1 isnt that product.

Or is it?

Does it really matter what Adode does to Flash? Will it ever get approved on the iPhone?

Not likely – not without serious limitations or controls placed on it by Apple. Flash gives developers something that Apple does not want them to have… a platform for developing games and other applications that are browser based that fall outside of the App Store approval process, out side of Apples financial walled garden, and outside of Steve Job’s control.

Take for example the Flash game below entitled "Parking Lot 3" by Addicting Games.  A basic game that has the player trying to park their car in various positions without striking any objects. As a former resident of San Francisco, I can understand how this can be a challenge to many.

The game can be found, along with many other free, ad supported flash games, at the Addicting Games website.

parkit_flashv

To get this game on the iPhone however, Addicting games has to buy a Mac ($1,000 or so),  register as an Apple developer ($99 – $299), and get Apple’s approval before their app can be released. (This is just to develop free apps!) If they want to distribute a paid version, they then have to give 30% of all revenue to Apple.

Pretty sweet deal for Apple!

iPark It - Available in iTunes (under strict supervision)

It’s hard to believe with all the money being made by Apple because of the App Store, that anything remotely threatening its walled garden will appear on Apples multi-touch devices any time soon.

 

****Update****

At MAX 2009, Adobe showed a number of applications and games for iPhone that have been built using a prerelease version of Flash Professional CS5, set to be released in 2010 with a public beta to be released later this year. This does NOT allow developers to develop Flash programs that work in the browser, however it does provide a shell in which a Flash program can be turned into an iPhone App, complete with the regulations and constraints of the App Store.

Interestingly.. in the question and answer section of the article, Adobe uses some interesting verbiage to answer the question " Will iPhone users be able to view web content built with Flash technology in the iPhone browser?" Their answer:

"Flash Player uses a just-in-time compiler and virtual machine within a browser plug-in to play back content on websites. Those technologies are not allowed on the iPhone at this time, so a Flash Player for iPhone is not being made available today."

Not "doesnt work" , "isnt possible" or even "needs work". Its simply… "not allowed".

 

****

 

 

 


admobI’m a big fan of AdMob – they offer a great mobile advertising service and for quite a while have been publishing a monthly “Mobile Metrics Report” that provides a snapshot into the types of traffic seen on their ad network. Its nice to see a company willing to share information with the community.

I’ve also read quite a few blogs that have picked up bits and pieces of information from these monthly reports… and totally misrepresented the data to their readership. To that end – this is a lesson in statistics – and how to read AdMob’s Mobile Metrics Report. This months report can be found here – and focuses on the various ways to look at smartphone market share globally. Before you read it however – please try to remember a few things:

For those who don’t know AdMob – they are a mobile advertising network, which means they represent over 9,000 publishers on the mobile web and serve up the ads on those sites. They also represent a vast majority of the in-app iPhone and Android advertising banners you see (Over 3,000 apps represented). Every time someone lands on one of their sites or loads an ad in an app, they identify the handset and operating system and log it into their databases. This report is an analysis of that data.

Smartphone Handset Marketshare from the August AdMob Report

Smartphone Handset Marketshare from the August AdMob Report

There’s an inherent problem with his however, because App data and WAP data are being treated the same. While WAP sites are browse-able by any web enabled handset,  the vast majority of apps are on the iPhone OS platform, followed by Android. This means that when AdMob reports that the iPhone OS has a over 50% market share in the US, they are not reporting how many iPhones are in the marketplace, but how many views they are getting on their ads from iPhones. (AdMob does try to explain this in their disclaimers). Because AdMob is representing a huge chunk of impressions that can ONLY be seen by iPhones, this will always skew the data in the iPhone OS’ favor.

Of course – iPhones dominate the applications market, so this makes quite a bit of sense. Does that mean this is useless data? Not at all. The report still gives us a great snapshot into how people are using their phones.

“…the data includes our in-app traffic for both iPhone and Android platforms,  so yes that is certainly something you should consider when reviewing our numbers.  However, the huge growth in mobile usage of apps is, in many cases, replacing mobile browsing activity on devices like the iPhone and Android.. ” – Mike Fyall, AdMod Product Manager

Mobile applications are generally easier to use and have more functionality then the limited WAP environment, and even phones that can access traditional websites still have difficulty with sizing, and handling the vast array of browser plugins like Flash and Shockwave that many websites rely on. Mobile applications are optimized for the handset they are being used on, do not typically require zooming in and out to be able to read content, and all app bugs aside, always work.

up up and ad-way!

up up and ad-way!

Another interesting insight from AdMobs report is the steady increase in overall impressions in every region around the world. This bodes well for application developers looking to make revenue through free applications that are ad supported and relying on constant traffic to generate impressions. It also makes it so much more important for free apps to be utilizing effective marketing strategies to help them garner their share of that traffic in an increasingly competitive market environment.


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