Windows Phone 7 to add Flash 10.1 support?

While Microsoft had denied the fact that the v1 release of their new Windows Phone 7 operating system will support Adobe Flash, it seems like people might be up for a great surprise. Posted on an Adobe Labs website for Flash Player 10.1, it seems like Adobe is acknowledging the fact that their new version of Flash will support multiple mobile devices, including the upcoming Windows Phone 7. (Thanks to Tal for the tip!) Here’s an excerpt from the web page:

Support for New Platforms
Flash Player 10.1 adds support for a broad range of mobile devices, including smartphones, netbooks and other Internet-connected devices, allowing your content to reach your customers wherever they are. Target mobile operating systems for Flash Player include: Android, Microsoft Windows Phone 7, Palm webOS, and Symbian S60 V5.

It can clearly be seen that Apple’s iOS is not on the list. While Steve Job’s main concern with Flash support on the iOS is battery life and performance, Flash Player 10.1 seems to take this into account with new technologies to tackle these problems – at least that’s what the website says:

Designed for Mobility
To make it possible to deploy SWF content on smartphones and other mobile devices that have limited processing power and memory availability compared to PCs, a tremendous amount of work has gone into to making Flash Player 10.1 “ready for mobility”. This work includes performance improvements, such as rendering, scripting, memory, start-up time, battery and CPU optimizations, in addition to hardware acceleration of graphics and video.

Flash Player 10.1 also introduces new mobile-ready features that take advantage of native device capabilities – including support for multi-touch, gestures, mobile input models, and accelerometer input – bringing unprecedented creative control and expressiveness to the mobile browsing experience.

Optimized SWF management for mobile
Flash Player 10.1 optimizes SWF loading and playback for mobile CPU and memory limitations to provide a better user experience. Instances are loaded or deferred based on SWF priority, visibility and available memory and CPU resources to enable more immediate browsing experiences without waiting for every SWF on a page to load. Developers can indicate SWF priority through a new HTML parameter, hasPriority. Deferred instances are loaded after the HTML page load is complete, and offscreen and invisible instances are started when they become visible. Flash Player will also automatically pause SWF playback it is not in view or the foreground application, for example when a call is received or alarm goes off, to reduce CPU utilization, battery usage and memory usage.

Out-of-memory management
Flash Player 10.1 prevents out-of-memory browser crashes by shutting down instances where a SWF attempts to allocate more memory than is available on the device. When a SWF tries to allocate more memory than is available on a device, Flash Player 10.1 adds logic to shut down Flash Player to prevent the browser from crashing. Users will receive notification to restart the SWF, or will see a notice to refresh the page if all instances must be shutdown.

Of course, while this might still not make the cut for the v1 release of the WP7, at least we know that it is in the works, and given that Microsoft had said that they will bring Flash support to WP7 soon after its first release, perhaps we’ll be getting Flash on our Windows Phones in one of the first firmware updates. Either way, this is good news for potential Windows Phone users, and gives it greater competitive edge over the iPhone.