Japanese cell phone giant NTT DoCoMo will become the first phone carrier to offer services based on Macromedia’s Flash animation player, Macromedia is set to announce Monday. Flash is one of the most commonly used PC applications, installed on more than 98 percent of PCs worldwide to serve up everything from animated Web ads to homemade cartoons.
EXTRACT: With the new version of Flash, however, Macromedia began eyeing a bigger territory, positioning the Flash player as the foundation of a new era of Web services that could also be easily ported to smaller devices, such as mobile phones and handheld computers. Under Monday’s agreement, DoCoMo will include the Flash player software on new high-end I-mode phones, starting with the 505i series, to be introduced late this year in Japan.
COMMENTARY: Macromedia has be eyeing the Japan market for over a year now, and must be mighty pleased that Big D has opted to support the technology. One Macromedia developer told me: “As you can well-imagine, I’m very happy about the partnership with DoCoMo and the fusion of Flash and keitai in general.” Flash is interesting because it allows dynamic animation and high-quality graphics to be delivered to and displayed on cell phones without the bandwidth and onboard processor overhead that video requires. DoCoMo was likely attracted at least in part by the well-established Flash developer community.
Competitors in this space include technologies such as that touted by US-based Active Sky, which allows similar dynamic graphic images to be displayed on a celly. In fact, while there’s no confirmation yet, an Active Sky-based content service may be deployed on a DoCoMo competitor network here in Japan quite soon. All in all, Japan’s content technology mix is becoming more complex.