The ubiquitous Flash Video Player, the most widely used Web plug-in to watch online video, has finally landed on mobile phones in the United States, albeit with limited availability. 

Some 450 million mobile devices around the globe have the Flash Player, but only a handful in the United States, which is woefully behind most of the world.

Adobe’s Flash Lite 3 has just been released on the Nokia N95.  These Flash-powered phones are only sold through independent mobile phone stores, not the carriers, yet.  Users connect to Web using a WiFi connection or via the GSM network.

Other versions of Flash are deployed in U.S. phones, mostly as the user interface for handsets like the LG Chocolate and as a platform to run games and some videocasting.  But the truly rich Web-like experience of the Flash Player has just been introduced here.

I was at Adobe’s office in San Francisco last week where I met with Brian Frank and Rhett Woods of the  mobile applications group. Brian explained the significance of the introduction and shared some awesome demos of rich, interactive applications and of some very nice looking streaming video.

Please check out the interview and demo with Brian above and a second demo with Rhett below. 

Earlier this week, Apple’s Steve Jobs dissed Flash Lite 3 and said it wouldn’t work on the iPhone.  Some savvy observers like ZDNet’s new editor in chief Larry Dignan thinks the Adobe crew shouldn’t lose too much sleep over it.  Dignan writes: "Does Adobe really need the iPhone? Not really."

— Andy Plesser

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