Mobile Video

Brightcove Optimizes Flash on Android

Online video platform vendor Brightcove Inc. is adapting its technology for Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) Flash 10.1 on Android today, but it isn't making a case as strong for Flash as Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has made against it. (See Jobs Offers 6 Reasons Adobe Sucks , Adobe Fires Back: We Don’t Need Apple, and Adobe Attacks Apple… With Love.)

Rather, Brightcove will continue to support any and all mobile video platforms in what's quickly become a fragmented industry. Jeff Whatcott, Brightcove's senior vice president of marketing, says Brightcove is building for the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) platform because that's what the rest of the industry is doing, but it's not going to be an exclusive relationship.

"We want to make sure our customers aren't collateral damage in the platform wars going on right now," Whatcott says. "There is a lot of fracturing and fragmentation going on in the mobile world today, and it's leaking into the desktop and mobile browsers. Most don't care about the ideological debate; they just want to embrace the widest possible audience."

That means supporting both Apple's standard of choice, HTML5, and the traditional market leader, Flash. Whatcott says developers have no choice in the matter if they want to reach the largest audience possible. (See The iPad: a Threat to Flash's Video Dominance? )

Brightcove already offers an iPhone software development kit (SDK), so it's targeting the Android camp with today's releases: an SDK based on Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and new mobile templates for Web video. Together, these elements let Website publishers address any video use case on Android, according to Whatcott, so long as the phone is running Android 2.2.

Brightcove is also promising one-touch social media integration of videos and the ability to access related and popular video content in the near future. Right now, the platform primarily includes playback, content discovery, and Brightcove's other media API services.

The announcements build on Brightcove's Mobile World Congress promise that it'd support all smartphones with its traditionally PC-focused video optimization platform. Whatcott says he expects most of his customers, which include AOL, The New York Times, and Sun Media, to create both a Web experience and a mobile app, as well as to support the range of video standards out today.

These advances are all part of Brightcove's mobile roadmap, where the company is aiming to abstract the complexity and costs out of online video -- even if that means making things more complex for itself.

"It's a little of a sad irony that we have to rebuild in these other platforms all these things we've built previously in Flash," Whatcott says.

While one standard may eventually dominate on mobile, it won't happen for the next three to five years, Whatcott believes. Instead, he thinks the industry will continue to get more complex as Brightcove helps developers build for platforms in parallel.

"A lot of people like to stand up and make big predictions about how one technology will fade away and something will completely replace it. It almost never happens that way. I think that's true here too. The rhetoric has gotten out of control."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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