TV Apps get some AIR

Adobe’s MAX global developer conference starts today. They are releasing a new version of Adobe AIR 2.5, and providing a number of significant updates on Flash 10.1. AIR is essentially Flash in a box rather than in a brower – so AIR is a good technology for building Apps. Some say there are two types of Apps developers in the world – those that prefer Java, and those that prefer Flash. The big brouhaha with Apple’s lack of Flash support was that it forced many Flash developers to migrate to new platforms for publishing their Apple applications.
AIR provides cross-platform development tools that work on multiple platforms – from mobile phones to tablets all the way to the TV. It was already announced that Flash 10.1 is working on Google TV, and this announcement is another piece of news that points toward a Google Apps store, filled with Adobe Apps.
More notable is that Samsung will ship AIR 2.5 in Samsung SmarTV devices early next year. Samsung has been trying hard to woo developer’s to their TV’s application software development kit (SDK) – including offering $500K in prizes to the best applications developed in a soon-to-end contest. Samsung has now taken another step to make it much easier to develop applications for their TV platform – they have announced support for Adobe AIR which will allow developers to take web-based applications (or even those written for the iPhone, now that Apple has opened the door again for Flash-based Apps), and just make minor tweaks (if at all).
In the last few years, the mobile app world has flourished – with Apple’s App Store and Android App Stores generating significant revenues. Adobe’s push to new platforms – notably tablets and TV’s – will help to take this healthy market beyond mobile. Adobe is pitching a one-size fits all App Store submission model called InMarket. While this is a good response to the increasing number of device types, OS platforms and app stores, the idea that the same app will end up on platforms which include mobile devices, tablets & notebooks, and TV’s is a little hard to swallow. There are too many format-specific, and form-factor specific features.
I look forward to seeing compelling new Apps on our TV – it may give family game night a whole new meaning.