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Android, Flash, and the Runtime Wars

Today, we are releasing new capabilities for delivering high quality online video experiences on Android devices. These include a Brightcove app SDK for Android and mobile templates for Flash Player 10.1 for browser-based video viewing on Android smartphones. The SDK helps developers rapidly assemble Android apps that access and display Brightcove-managed videos. The mobile optimized player templates include larger buttons, touch support, and screen dimensions that can take advantage of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 on Android smartphones (see demo below).


I'm really happy that we're standing tall with Adobe as they release Flash Player 10.1. The last six months of rhetoric have been particularly bruising for Flash, and it's great to see Adobe answering their critics with code. In the interest of full disclosure, I was heavily involved in the Flash Platform business at Macromedia and Adobe and dear friends of mine are the current keepers of the Flash flame. Flash Player 10.1, including support for mobile platforms like Android, is an incredibly important milestone that reconnects Flash with its roots and launches it into the future. Brightcove players, including those that are securely delivering long form premium video content, should work great in Flash Player 10.1 without modification, and the new templates we're releasing today take it to a whole new level.

I'm also really happy that we're connecting Brightcove to the red hot Android platform in a material way with this new SDK.  The Android share of mobile Web browsing traffic has been growing rapidly at the expense of iOS devices, and Android smartphone unit shipments recently surpassed iPhone shipments in the US.  The reasons for Android's success to date seem pretty clear to me:

  • It's free and open source
  • It's very developer friendly, with no arbitrary app store rules, generating a large and growing app library
  • It's available on a wider variety of devices and on more carrier networks around the world, offering consumers more choice at lower prices
  • It provides a "good enough" user experience that doesn't get in the way of day to day tasks

The refinements and speed of the latest Froyo 2.2 release and being one of the first platforms to support Flash Player 10.1 will further accelerate Android adoption. Add in the fact that Android is not just for smartphones, but connected TVs like Google TV as well, and you have a really strong emerging platform that will spur Apple to continue innovating fast. I think it's clear that both the iOS and Android platforms are going to be major players for a very long time.

As Jeremy Allaire pointed out in a guest column for Silicon Alley Insider last week, we've entered an era where every website owner must have a strategy for the PC Web, Mobile Web, iOS Apps and Android Apps.  Our goal has been to help customers minimize the cost and complexity of executing a cross-platform video strategy in what Jeremy calls the "runtime war" era. For our customers, it's not about making high stakes either/or bets on one platform over another, it's about a cross-platform both/and strategy. 

Today's app SDK for Android and mobile optimized templates for Flash Player 10.1 join a long list of our recent innovations on this cross-platform mobile video theme.

  • Last year, we introduced the Brightcove App SDK for iOS enabling developers to build native, Brightcove-powered video applications for Apple iOS devices. We've since updated this SDK for iPad compatibility.
  • Earlier this year, we launched a beta of our mobile templates for Flash Player 10.1 with auto-device detection that loads the appropriate website video experience based on desktop or mobile browsing. 
  • We also introduced HTML5 player templates enabling our customers to use the same publishing worflow to deliver high-quality video for website browsing experiences on devices in the Apple ecosystem, including the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
  • We've started working with Brightcove Alliance partners to deliver HTML5 monetization capabilities that plug into our HTML5 solution stack, including the recent introduction of standards-based ad products from Freewheel and VideoPlaza.

And we're just getting started! Over the course of this year, we will continue to enhance and refine our mobile capabilities to offer the range of branding, publishing, social sharing, advertising, analytics and extensibility that our customers have come to expect. This is our biggest product investment for 2010, and the goal is to help ensure that our customers never become collateral damage in the runtime wars. It's a lot of work, but I hope you'll agree that it is worth it in the end.

You can get details on the new app SDK for Android here. Brightcove customers will notice a mobile-optimized single video player template and a mobile-optimized single playlist player template when they log in to the publishing module today.  Both of these innovations are available at no additional charge to Brightcove customers.