Microsoft has licensed Adobe’s Flash Lite and Reader, so users of devices with the Windows Mobile operating system can access Flash and PDF web content on their smart phones.
Flash Lite is Adobe’s tool for mobile devices to view some of the content created using Adobe’s Flash Player. For example, the newest version of Flash Lite can play Flash videos, including movies on YouTube and MySpace. Adobe Reader, meanwhile, allows users to read files in the popular PDF format.
On one level, this is a surprising move, because Microsoft clearly wants to compete with Adobe on the mobile front. Earlier this month, the software giant announced it was moving its Silverlight web application developer software onto Nokia smartphones, with Windows Mobile compatibility coming soon. As we noted at the time, Silverlight is going to have a tough time taking on Adobe’s dominant Flash player for regular browsers — but it has a better chance in the mobile market, where Adobe is still bringing Flash Lite technology up to speed.
On the other hand, there’s so much Flash content on the web that any smartphones claiming web-browsing capabilities will start seeming increasingly crippled without Flash Lite. The licensing deal gives Windows a leg up over Apple, where founder Steve Jobs said he isn’t planning for any Flash or Flash Lite compatibility with the iPhone — read our coverage. (Rather than playing YouTube videos through its browser, the iPhone has a special YouTube application utilizing the H.264 format.)
Neither company has announced exactly when Flash Lite will become available for Windows Mobile.