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iPad gets iFlash

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Apple's iPad, set for US release this Saturday, may not support Adobe Flash, but that hasn't stopped one mobile ad firm from ensuring that its customers' Flash-based content will play on Cupertino's "magical and revolutionary" device.

Greystripe, which refers to itself as "the leading rich media mobile advertising network" - emphasis theirs - has announced that its iFlash ad units will be available for the iPad in May. The company's proprietary iFlash technology already takes a customer's existing Flash-based creative and transcodes it into a form that can run on the iPhone and iPod touch, and now, it will do much the same on the iPad.

Greystripe boasts that its iFlash-based mobile ads perform better than garden-variety online ads, with click-through rates (CTRs) "well above" one per cent - which, if true, is impressive. It also claims that comScore surveys show its iFlash ads to significantly boost brand and ad awareness, brand recommendations, and purchase intent.

We'll be interested to see the results of the inevitable surveys that will use these metrics to compare iPhone users and iPad users - that is, which group will prove to be more vulnerable to ads popping up on their respective screens.

And we'll also be on the lookout for Apple to itself go into the ad-serving business. After all, it didn't pay $275m to acquire mobile ad broker Quattro Wireless merely in a fit of pique after Google began its acquisition deal with AdMob - a deal that is reportedly in trouble due to US Federal Trade Comission concerns.

But Greystripe shouldn't be too worried about Cupertinian ad-serving competition. After all, not only is its iFlash technology proprietary, but it's also questionable whether Apple would want to throw Flash a lifeline - although stranger things have happened when loads of lucre are at stake.

Greystripe, by the way, isn't the only company working on ways to move Adobe-based content onto the Flashless iPad - so is Adobe itself. As the company announced last October at their MAX 2009 developers' confab, the soon-to-be-released Flash Pro CS5 will include a capability called Packager for iPhone that will convert ActionScript 3 projects into native iPhone apps.

And not just the iPhone. In a blog post at the time of the iPad's unveiling, Adobe's Michael Chou said: "It is our intent to make it possible for Flash developers to build applications that can take advantage of the increased screen size and resolution of the iPad."

Flash may be threatened - most notably by HTML5 - but one thing is certain: it won't slip quietly away, nor will it disappear anytime soon. Too many developers, designers, advertisers, content providers, and brokers have too much invested in it. ®

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