Opera Software officials confirmed today that it is developing native video functionality for its mobile browser that will replace the ubiquitous Adobe Flash plug-in.
Behind the move is a desire to increase the functionality of mobile Web browsers, according to Tomita. The Flash plug-in is extremely processor- and memory-intensive and on mobile devices, or any other hardware-constrained device such as even a set-top box, it is not an ideal solution.
“You cannot execute and provide a good user experience,” Tomita said.
In addition, Flash requires more battery life than a native application.
Tomita includes the Apple iPhone as part of a long-term trend that will see more powerful browsers becoming the de facto operating system or environment on mobile devices.
Although not yet available, Apple already has its first application on the Web from Webware and a site for creating iPhone widgets from Widgity.
A move away from Flash and its expensive authoring tool could also lower developer costs, especially if over time an open source standard becomes available.
For example, a similar move was made years ago by most of the cell phone industry when it deployed SVG [Scalable Vector Graphics], an open W3C standard language for describing two-dimensional and graphical applications in XML in mobile browsers rather than using available proprietary solutions.
Tomita believes the browser will gain more and more functionality as the operating systems continues to move down the infrastructure food chain. Although there are limitations to applications built on top of a Web browser, they can be overcome if the browser providers work with individual handset manufacturers to control the hardware and middleware capabilities natively.
The combination will give browsers almost unlimited functionality and interactive capabilities, Tomita said.
Tomita would not put a date on when the Opera browser would replace Flash with its own technology.
Opera, Browser, Mobile Browser, Adobe, Flash, Native Video Functionality, Development, Announcement