April 11, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Adobe has announced a few new tools that could enhance the power of Android phones and tablets. The most immediate announcement is that the company will soon be releasing Adobe Flash Builder 4.5, a development environment that will allow for the creation and conversion of apps to many platforms.
Why should you care if you aren’t a developer?
Well, Flash has a large development community. Very large. Those developers would love to create Android apps but may not have the know-how or time to build for Android exclusively. Flash Builder allows them to make apps once and then use Flash/Flex to have the app made suitable for your HTC EVO 4G or Droid X. This will increase the number of available apps, content creators, and likelihood that you find something that meets your needs.
One potential drawback is that not all device features will be available through this method. In a briefing with two Adobe product managers last week, I learned that Flash Builder will not have access to all hardware features because of a lack of tools or standardization among Android manufacturers. However, most of “the major” functions – GPS, accelerometer, etc. – should be available. Adobe gave me a quick demo to show how easy it is to build apps in Flex and have it “translated” into Android and made to work with your phone or tablet. There was live interaction with a Nexus One and the computer, and a quick-changing set-up that could give the Android emulator a run for its money.
Adobe says that Flash Builder will arrive next month. Here’s a video example of how it works.
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP TOUCH SDK
In a separate briefing, I also witnessed what Adobe has planned for its popular photo-editing software Photoshop. The Photoshop Touch SDK links Android phones or tablets with the desktop software, creating new possibilities for apps. Adobe showed me a bunch of iPad apps that can create custom color swatches, paint on a tablet and send to Photoshop, or browse files on the tablet and send to the desktop. Adobe said that these were developed as proof of concepts, but the framework exists for someone to develop similar apps for Android. This will be something worth keeping an eye on in the future since the Android-PhotoShop link is not yet ready for user consumption.
Developers can download the Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK here.