How long before we see a smartphone with Flash support?

Jason Calacanis twitters:

JasonCalacanis Anyone know of phone that’s does flash/video/youtube? Blackberry doesn’t support right?

I don’t know for sure, but I’d look at OpenMoko.  According to their wiki, OpenMoko will be a smartphone platform based on Linux, leveraging the work that the TomTom folks have done for the Samsung 2410 application processor.

OpenMoko logo

According to Emmy Huang, Product Manager for the Flash Player at Adobe, who blogged back in May 2006, there will be a Flash Player 9 for Linux.  According to the developer blog, that the final version is now available for Linux x86 back in January 2007.

It would make a lot of sense for the OpenMoko team and Adobe to work together to make sure there’s a Flash Player for OpenMoko-based smartphones–it’s a win-win for both.  Of course, the world has a long history of ignoring really smart strategic plays due to any number of stupid reasons, so naturally there’s no guarantees that it’ll happen, but the possibility and opportunity are certainly there.

According to this announcement, they were planning to sell the FIC Neo1973 handset (which would run OpenMoko) for US$350 in March 2007:

2007-03-11 Phase 1: Official Developer Launch
We will sell the Neo1973 direct from for US$350 plus shipping. Sales and orders will be worldwide. We are specifically targeting open source community developers.

Perhaps you can pull some strings or use your celebrity status to get your hands on a few developer units for us?  I doubt I could … I’m just a nobody.  :-)

Update 2007-03-19: Frank de Lange on the OpenMoko mailing list informs me that Adobe’s Flash Player EULA expressly prohibits use of the Flash Player on embedded/mobile devices, anyhow:

3. Restrictions.

3.1  Web Player Prohibited Devices. You may not Use any Web Player on any non-PC device or with any embedded or device version of any operating system. For the avoidance of doubt, and by example only, you may not use a Web Player on any (a) mobile devices, set top boxes (STB), handhelds, phones, web pads, tablets and Tablet PCs that are not running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, game consoles, TVs, DVD players, media centers (excluding Windows XP Media Center Edition and its successors), electronic billboards or other digital signage, internet appliances or other internet-connected devices, PDAs, medical devices, ATMs, telematic devices, gaming machines, home automation systems, kiosks, remote control devices, or any other consumer electronics device, (b) operator-based mobile, cable, satellite, or television systems or (c) other closed system devices.

I really wonder what the rationale was behind this restriction.  My guess is that Adobe wanted to strongarm mobile and embedded device manufacturers into paying to license the technology?  Who knows, but as more and more network computing capability is available on mobile/embedded devices, it’s a pity there’s such a restriction.

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  1. Marco Solo says

    … Frank de Lange on the OpenMoko mailing list informs me that Adobe’s Flash Player EULA expressly prohibits use of the Flash Player on embedded/mobile devices….

    Unless OpenMoko pays a few $ per device to license it …
    But hé a principle is a principle even if it means a deadborn device. Not truth? Uninstall your Flash plugin and see whats left from your internet experience …

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