The 200 million Flash-enabled phones sold so far around the world include Flash Lite or FlashCast software, which isn't capable of playing video, such as that seen on YouTube. To rectify the omission, Adobe announced at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona yesterday that Flash Lite 3 would be available in the first half of this year and that it will include FLV video playback.
The result will be phones that are able to deliver more of that streaming goodness from YouTube, MySpace and other video sites to users wherever they are. Given that most phones can also shoot video, the proliferation of such sites seems all but guaranteed.
Mobile video already exists but the lack of a standard like Flash for phones and PDAs means manufacturers and networks have to rely on their own applications for delivering moving pictures. With the upgrade to Flash Lite, distributing video now becomes as simple as serving up a mobile website. Naturally, special agreements such as the Vodafone deal to bring YouTube to UK phones , will start to seem a little less special.
In Japan, FlashCast is used by NTT DoCoMo to push streaming news in the form of a scrolling ticker to the 8 million phone users who subscribe to the firm's i-channel service for JPY157 (66 pence) a month.