Mobile Internet: Improving the Experience with FLASH

This morning, Adobe made the following announcement:

Adobe Systems

Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) today announced that Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite software, Adobe's award-winning Flash Player runtime specifically designed for mobile devices, to enable web browsing of Flash content within the Internet Explorer Mobile browser in future versions of Windows Mobile devices. Microsoft has also licensed Adobe Reader LE software for viewing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) documents including email attachments and web content. Both Adobe products will be made available to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide, who license Microsoft Windows Mobile software.

The deal with MS will help Adobe with distribution. They've just reached the half billion mark and sales have been accelerating over the past couple of years. Many - not all - MS devices have QWERTY keyboards and data plans (people get them for email + productivity applications) so together with adding Flash/Lite there is a confluence of factors that contribute towards consumers being more likely to use the browser and consume more content. Admob is already reporting that just under 20 percent of their ad requests come from smartphones - devices that do not represent 20 percent of the device market. These devices will be more attractive to both carriers and consumers - as well as developers.

Many good things will come from better Internet experiences on portable devices:

For media companies, there is a richer platform for content. Consumers with portable devices with rich browsers consume more content. More content consumption equals more page views and inventory to sell to advertisers. Cell phones already add time/space dimensions - device type, location, more time of day, behavior, etc. Rich media is another layer than will increase CPM's.

For advertisers, rich media offers more opportunities for engaging with their customers.

For carriers, more content consumption = more access subscriptions and share of a large ad revenue "pie".

And consumers have shown that they are more likely to browse on devices with full and rich browsing experience than on those with mini- or scaled-down-browsers.

Flash is one factor that contributes to a much richer browsing experience (and video) on mobile devices. Nearly one quarter of consumers surveyed by Jupiter Research say they'd be more likely to use web-based experiences on phones if the UI were better.

We know that portable media players (e.g., Apple iPhone) and cell phones with full, rich browser experiences see more traffic per device than cell phones with mini-browsers. Apple is saying they are seeing 71 percent of smartphone page views.

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