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Adobe MAX 2010: Kick-off Keynote

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"There is more adoption of HTML5 today on mobile devices than there is on personal computers," said Kevin Lynch, Adobe's chief technology officer, during today's kickoff keynote at Adobe MAX 2010.

Lynch spent two hours talking about several areas of "revolution" in the digital media space: Web, digital publishing, and video

Lynch showed several live statistics from Adobe's Omniture Web analytics service that emphasized the growth of HTML5 on desktop browsers, including Internet Explorer 7 and 8, plus the holdout of Internet Explorer 6, which still ranks higher than Apple's Safari browser, but just below Google's Chrome.

"You can see that CSS3 and HTML5 adoption is growing," said Lynch. "Within Dreamweaver Creative Suite 5, Adobe is offering HTML5 support."

The Dreamweaver support provides a multi-screen approach to rapidly re-skinning look and feel between a variety of devices-phone, tablets, and desktops-so that content written in HTML5 can be repackaged with CSS3 to best match the device it's being viewed on.

According to Lynch, the growth of HTML5 doesn't negate the need for Flash interaction capabilities. To that end he showed off a set of tools that creates animated website banners and then generates the JavaScript, based on jQuery and JSON, without requiring the content creator to know any JavaScript. He also showed a beta of the ability to use game controllers to access Web pages and games created in Flash.

Addressing more than just the interactivity of Flash-including immersive 3D support in an upcoming version of Flash Player-Lynch said that video and rich media in HTML5 across multiple devices is shifting the focus to more than the desktop.

"For instance, is a tablet a large phone or a small computer?" Lynch asked, somewhat rhetorically, while segueing into the world of digital publishing. "With multi-screen, I think we're at the point where we'll be able to enable a user experience closer to print."

To emphasize the point, Lynch showed both Wired and National Geographic print editions, pointing out how unique the print versions are in terms of their look and feel. He then switched gears and showed how similar online versions of these very different magazines were in standard HTML delivery.

"This is due, in some degree, to the level of expression you can get in HTML today," said Lynch. "That will change, but today you're left with undifferentiated look and feel. We wanted to change that."

On cue, Martha Stewart joined Lynch on stage, and showed off Martha Stewart Living digital edition on an iPad.

"When I first saw the tablet, I thought 'we have to do this'," said Stewart. "We want women-as well as men-to engage with the technology and our digital magazine."

Stewart than showed something that would be impossible in print: a ten-hour time-lapse of a peony opening on the front cover.

"It would be possible, I guess, to do this in a regular magazine," admitted Stewart, "but it's something that we require a hundred-page flip book. We now have videos and stunning images within the magazine, and a way to lay out the tablet version of the magazine that looks similar to the print version."

The CTO of Condé Nast, whose publications include The New Yorker and Wired, said that the initial response to tablet-based magazines has been impressive.

"We have over 100,000 downloads for the first issue on the iPad," said Joe Simon, CTO, Condé Nast, "but it didn't appear to cannibalize the print edition."

Lynch then shifted to a video-exclusive section of the keynote, noting the continued growth of streaming media.

Streaming video has been growing over 100 percent a year for the past two years," said Lynch. "We reached 74 percent of personal computers with Flash Player 10.1 in the past three months, the fastest adoption of Flash Player to date."

"In the last month alone," said Lynch, "we see statistics of 120 petabytes of content-128 billion megabytes-streamed in Flash in the last month alone."

Lynch then spent time showing the Logitech Revue for Google TV, displaying Amazon Unbox content played in full HD, as well as HBO Go, a new service that HBO provides for HD playback of HBO content.

"The seamless playback that you see is based on Stage video," said Lynch, "which takes full advantage of hardware acceleration in the set-top box."

Marc Goldberg, chief technical officer for Epix, showed off an Epix app that played back the same content on a Droid 2 as well as on a set-top box.

"Consumers are interested in watching premium packaged content in whatever screen they have handy," said Goldberg, "so we want to provide the premium experience on any device, not just the television."

For the multi-screen approach, Lynch and Goldberg showcased AIR for TV, leveraging the AIR device "desktop" also available for manufacturers (APIs are now available to developers as part of AIR 2.5 which was released prior to Adobe MAX).

To try out the multi-device opportunities, Lynch showcased a hands-on lab at Adobe MAX.

"Adobe Device Lab is an on-site test lab to play with the variety of phones, set-top boxes, and other devices that are new to this year's Adobe MAX," said Lynch.

Adobe MAX continues through Wednesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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