Android Prototype Tablet Makes Flashy Debut

Some technology-company sparring comes in the form of public wars of words, as has been the case with Apple and Adobe in recent weeks. However, as it turns out, some maneuvers can be perfectly silent — deafeningly so.

Such is the case with Adobe’s latest slap at Apple in the form of a booth at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. It’s a booth, according to blogger Max of Zedomax, entirely devoid of Apple products.

What is there is a prototype tablet computer running Android and Flash. It’s not just running Flash, said Max, it’s running it “flawlessly.”

The blog entry is accompanied by a photograph of an Adobe employee holding the tablet by an unnamed manufacturer with the caption “Take that, Apple.” The employee didn’t say that, of course, but the message is clear.

The demo is widely viewed as a direct shot at Apple and its refusal to support Flash on the iPhone or iPad.

A Million Strong

Since its launch just over a month ago, the iPad has sold over 1 million units, according to Apple. Also since that launch, CEO Steve Jobs has gone very public saying that he believes the future of video on wireless devices is the HTML5 protocol, not Flash.

Striking back, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen wrote that Apple’s refusal to support Flash is not technology-based, but rather based on business interests.

However, rumors abound about other companies rushing to market with tablet computers, a type of device that floundered in the marketplace until the iPad’s launch.

A likely operating platform for lots of them will be Google’s Android, and it makes sense that Adobe would be concentrating efforts there, Adam Christianson, producer and publisher of MacCast, told LinuxInsider.

The move to Android is no surprise, asserted Christianson, who has dubbed the dispute between Apple and Adobe “The Great Flash Wars of 2010.”

Predictable Unpredictability

Adobe had originally intended to ship Flash for Android at the end of 2009, Christianson pointed out.

“Flash is around, and it is on a lot of websites,” he noted. Thus, the assertions that Apple trying to crush Adobe’s chances in the smartphone and tablet market don’t make much sense to him.

What does make sense is Apple’s long history of cutting technologies that it views as on their descending rather than ascending arc.

“Apple was one of the first companies to get rid of the floppy disc,” Christianson remembered. That was years ago, and Sony just recently announced that it will stop making floppy discs for those drives, he added.

“There’s a similar thing going on here,” Christianson predicted. “They’re saying they’re looking to the future.”

Does this mean that Apple intends to, or even can, hurt Adobe? Probably not in the long run, predicted Christianson.

“Flash is going to be around and be a competitor,” he said.

“Adobe can sell Flash to lots of other companies to run on lots of other devices” besides the iPad and iPhone, he stressed.

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