tirsdag 16. februar 2010

Take that, Apple: Wired AIR app looks good on a tablet (video)

VentureBeat’s Matthaus Krzykowski was raving yesterday about a demonstration he saw of Wired magazine running on an Android tablet device. At the time we didn’t have any images to share, only Matthaus’ slightly-creepy exclamations like, “You want to touch it constantly!” Now, thanks to a video released by Adobe and Wired (embedded below), the rest of us can see the app in action.
To be clear, Adobe won’t confirm that it’s an Android device. But that seems like a safe bet, given what Matthaus saw yesterday — and the fact that the application was built on Adobe’s AIR technology, which is moving onto mobile devices starting with Android. (When asked about the tablet, a spokeswoman only reiterated that AIR applications will be “cross platform,” and that Adobe “expects” to include a feature for exporting apps to the iPhone and iPad.)
When the Wired app becomes available as a consumer-facing product, readers will be able to use it across a variety of device types because Adobe AIR is cross-platform. And since the publishing world is abuzz about the forthcoming Apple iPad, we expect that through our Packager for iPhone feature (available in an upcoming version of Flash Professional), these types of AIR content apps will run on the iPhone and iPad.
So how does it look? Well, it’s always risky to judge a product from promotional videos rather than live experience, but this certainly looks sleek. The application has the same “wow” factor as the videos I’ve seen of Apple’s iPad in-action: It looks fast and responsive to touch and rotation. Like the iPad, it suggests that a tablet computer might be a new, richer media experience, rather than just a lighter laptop or a bigger smartphone.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for for 15 years,” Wired editor Chris Anderson says in the video. “We’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use all these visual tools at our disposal to tell these stories in way that is efficient, that is multi-dimensional.”
Struggling publishers are also hoping that tablet devices will help them regain their financial footing — or, as Anderson puts it, “reset the economics.” If Wired can deliver a compelling, unique experience on the tablet, then maybe it can convince readers to pay a subscription fee, at a price that they’re usually not willing to shell out for web content. A tablet also provides more opportunities for premium advertising.
And regardless of what device is being shown off in the video, this is still good news for Adobe. The company has taken some heat as Apple shuts out Adobe technologies like Flash from its new devices like the iPhone and now the iPad. Using AIR and other tools, Adobe is now telling developers they can build on the company’s platform and make their applications available on multiple devices — including the iPad (through a workaround that Adobe has built), yes, but many other devices too. This video suggests those AIR apps could be high-quality indeed.

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