I am continually amazed at how quickly technology is evolving. Just when you think it’s hit a plateau, something new comes out that just blows your mind. The Internet is cool. Cell phones are cool. And then Blackberrys and the iPhone came out and combined the two and that was just really cool. It’s crazy to think that you can really access the world wide web from just about anywhere, anytime. The Nielsen company reported that web visitors using a mobile device increased 34% from July 2008 to July 2009 from 42.5 million to 56.9 million. The biggest increases came from women, teens aged 13-17, and seniors 65+. 

If you’ve used this technology, you’ve probably noticed that there are certain pages that you can’t necessarily view. Ever tried to view a page from your cell phone and been told that you need the latest version of Flash Player from Adobe to do so? That’s because Flash for mobile devices is unavailable…until now. After gaining the support from mobile giants such as Motorolla, Google, Palm, and Qualcomm, Adobe is set to launch Flash Player 10 for mobile devices which will allow you to access any site that uses flash. Now if you’re like me, website technical jargon, like Flash, aren’t really my thing. That’s why I enlisted the expertise of Robmark Interactive’s very own web developer, Chris Adams, to help me fully understand just how cool this new feature is.

I first really needed to know what the heck flash is. Chris explained it as this: “Flash is a program used to make anything from simple website animations to fully interactive web-based programs. There are pros and cons of Flash. Flash can be a very useful, and beautiful way to create slideshows, display video, create interactive menus, etc., but the major downfalls include being practically invisible to search engines as well as mobile devices.” 

YouTube, Myspace Music Player, and interactive web ads are just some of the commonly frequented sites that use Flash. This led me to my next question: what were we doing before Flash? Chris explained that, “before Flash, if you wanted animation we relied on animated GIF files. These files are generally limited to 256 colors or less, the animation is extremely choppy and a usually gigantic file size. With Flash you can create an interactive animation that reacts to the mouse and can be used to collect data, play games, etc and can have a very usable file size for quick loading.”

Finally, I wanted to know how Flash 10 would change the way we use mobile web. In Chris’ words, “Flash 10 will provide added support for mobile devices, which is great because smartphones and web-enabled phones are growing exponentially. If Flash is "invisible" to these devices, than that’s a large population that can’t properly view your content and will most likely leave your site.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. To find out more about this cool new technology, visit Adobe’s website at http://www.adobe.com/mobile/. Happy Friday!!