Over the past six months, web company Amazon has been silently testing new technology for viewing Flash video content on mobile devices. It uses a combination of cloud and device computing to get the job done, and you probably weren’t even aware of its elusive presence until now.
Since February of this year, some Kindle Fire owners have had the option to view flash content using an “experimental streaming viewer” when perusing websites like NBC.com, CBS.com, and Fox.com – all major exhibitors of Flash-based digital content. This option is made possible by Silk, the Kindle Fire’s proprietary web browser, which splits the processing work between Amazon’s cloud and your handheld device.
“We also wanted to use the cloud to offer new features or capabilities that solve customer frustrations — one we heard often from customers was that they wanted to view Flash content,” Amazon’s Kurt Kufeld said in an email to All Things D.
Though Amazon is not the first to make use of the cloud/device co-op processing initiative, it certainly could be one of the first to do it really well – given that the final product of this Flash viewing endeavor is a success. Other companies to make use of this approach include web browser Opera, a flash-viewing client for Apple devices called iSwifter, and Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure (which will be used in Xbox One, the company’s upcoming next generation game console).
Flash video content has been struggling to maintain relevance in the past few years, especially since Adobe themselves pulled the plug on mobile browser support a few years ago, when they discontinued support for the mobile browser plugin on mobile devices like tablets and phones.
Despite the plug being pulled on mobile Flash, many developers, especially when it comes to games use Flash to build apps which are then packaged to work on iOS and Android. In addition to that, many customers proclaimed the staying power of Flash and were passionate about it being continually supported.
“We heard from a lot of customers that they were disappointed when Adobe chose to stop supporting Flash in mobile devices, so we’ve since been working hard to develop a solution for supporting Flash without compromising performance, security, stability or memory,” Kufeld said.
“All signs point to ESV as a great solution for this, and we’re excited for more customers to try it out.”
Amazon plans to roll out this feature for support with other websites as it develops, and is jubilant about getting it in the hands of users.