Harman, Adobe AIR and more infos


#1

This is part II of the news with a bit more details and research :wink:

Ok so by now you know that Harman (Samsung) take over AIR runtime and SDK
and the Adobe announcement The Future of Adobe AIR, what else?

well… first hello to Andrew Frost @ajwfrost :smile:
who is answering bit of questions this and there

so from Facebook groups here some quote

around beginning of may

For any companies/developers on here who’ve got significant Android apps using AIR (e.g. 100k+ downloads) and who are majorly concerned about 1st August … please contact me at adobe.support@harman.com
thanks

and

Just to add a little context (sorry, having to be vague currently), I work for a company called HARMAN Connected Services, which acquired my original employer which was Teleca. We have had a partnership with Adobe since 2006 - see for example:
Adobe and Teleca to Accelerate Adoption of Adobe Flash Lite
Teleca, Imagination to create demonstration platforms for Flash, Flash Lite

also here the archive of the home page for symphonyteleca.com around 2015

to add to this see
TechCrunch - Harman Buys Symphony Teleca For At Least $780M And Red Bend For $170M
CrunchBase - Symphony Teleca Corporation
CrunchBase - Harman International Industries
CrunchBase - Samsung Electronics

So HARMAN bought Symphony Teleca, here where it was announced
http://www.symphonyteleca.com/harman/page.html
the web archive link

So we know Symphony Teleca was already working with Adobe since the 2006 years and from CrunchBase “Symphony Teleca Corporation has $375M in estimated revenue annually.”, so yeah not a small company alright?

But HARMAN is way way way bigger, again from CrunchBase " Harman International Industries has $7.5B in estimated revenue annually."

And if you compare to Adobe System, again from CrunchBase “Adobe Systems has $9B in estimated revenue annually.”

I’m pointing that because I hear people pointing at Harman as just a speaker company (because of Harman Kardon) as if it was a small company… and they are way way off, it is a huge company.

The simplest and fastest way to get it is to watch that video from their Youtube page

so even if you understand it is not “just speakers” but it is also infotainment, it is also even more: digital cockpit solutions, and those ? well … they do use quite advanced and custom display and they probably need something like AIR.

OK I’m guessing a bit, but to be honest I can totally imagine the people in R&D having to make that kind of stuff works (as prototype) and really wishing to use AIR over HTML5.

So from other FB comments

Apologies for the overlap, a problem when you deal with lots of different timezones! But yes, commercial basis with free tier, details will be provided before too long. And 64-bit Android is working, including ANEs…

and

Yes I’ve been working on Flash and AIR for a long time - our partnership with Adobe goes back to 2006, and I was involved from the start! Glad to have this opportunity to drive it forward and am hoping to be able to get more community involvement… but we are a commercial company hence there has to be some revenue coming out of it in order to fund our team.

and

Beyond 2020 is not a problem, our agreement with Adobe is quite long term! but it’s all down to commercial viability in the end. We expect it do well (otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get this past our SVP!) so it’s hopefully a virtuous circle.

and

One thing to note: we’re looking to try to drive the revenue by having lots of people use it, rather than by charging exorbitant fees. So please don’t get concerned on that front :slight_smile:

and someone asking

Hopefully, they update the SDK as well and maintain the AS3 workflow

@ajwfrost answer

Yes, essentially we just build the common native components and the platform-specific (Android Java) code, plus the necessary updates into the AIR Developer Tool, and then we can overlay these binaries on top of the existing AIR SDK which means that very little changes, and workflows/tools can be kept the same as they are now…
There’s a little more to it than that of course :slight_smile:

and from yet another FB group

Hi - quick update here: we’re basically taking over the work on the AIR SDK, but it’s essentially the same. When a new version comes out, you can update your chosen dev tool to work with the new SDK, etc. We’re not taking over the tools like Flash Builder or Animate, just the SDK.
HARMAN is a big company and does lots of different things: afaik we don’t have other SDKs for developing mobile applications!! We’re not rebranding it or anything, it’s still Adobe’s technology that we have licensed for this, and I would certainly not expect Adobe to come up with a “substitute” for it (per the above comment) - they don’t need to as it’s still around, just being maintained by us now…
I’m capturing a lot of questions so we’ll try to get an FAQ set up shortly…
Thanks


Ok, so let’s extract a bit of things form all that

  • in term of revenues HARMAN is big enough to match Adobe
    or at least they can match the dev team budget and effort
  • there will be a free-tier
    my guess is commercial license will be for bigger tier
    so it should not impact small indie dev
  • the AIR SDK and runtime will not really change in term of structure
    they will be maintained/updated/supported by HARMAN
  • it is one company (HARMAN) licensing a product to another company (Adobe)
    there is no rebrand, it will still named “Adobe AIR”
  • a FAQ is coming

ok move on to the next thing, Adobe forum comments (again by Andrew)

ajwfrost75 May 30, 2019 10:55 AM

We’ll hopefully be able to provide more details before too long, but yes, we’re looking forward to supporting AIR; Adobe’s blog post hopefully explains it, and we’ll get an updated website with FAQ up and running shortly. The plan is for AIR SDK to be free to download and use for hobbyists/smaller developers i.e. having a ‘free tier’, and then charging for larger/commercial use. The charges are then used to fund our development team and so the more people who use it, the more we can develop it! We’re aiming to keep charges to low/reasonable levels though, so as not to impact folk too much (i.e. small fees but from lots of companies).

HARMAN (or the part of it within which I work) has been in partnership with Adobe since 2006 working on integration/support of Flash runtimes for mobile/embedded platforms, so we’ve got a lot of experience - Adobe wouldn’t have done this otherwise!

And yes, ANEs need to be updated, we’ve already internally updated and checked the ADT tools to ensure this works, it should be fairly seamless I hope. We’ll be providing a beta release to Distriqt, MyFlashLabs and others as soon as the updated SDK license agreement has passed our legal and financial review process.

This has been a long time in coming but we’re excited to see how this works out!

thanks
Andrew

and

ajwfrost75 May 30, 2019 2:47 PM

Hi
It will remain as Adobe AIR, we don’t want to (or have the right to) rebrand it.

And Samsung probably don’t know anything about this, they bought HARMAN a couple of years ago but we’re relatively separate operationally, at least in my part of HARMAN…

IDE-wise there shouldn’t be any difference: most IDEs will use the AIR SDK under the hood, and we’re intentionally keeping the structure of this the same so that there’s minimal updates required. Some IDEs may need to add an ‘arm8’ option in a dialog box perhaps…

I’m fairly hopeful, and certainly encouraged by the responses that I have seen around this announcement. We’ve perhaps not been ‘behind the scenes’ in a way that you expect: we’ve not been working for Adobe on this as suppliers, but instead we’ve had/got a license from them to have their source code and port it to platforms that they don’t support themselves. So for example Flash Lite powered the user interface of over 5 million vehicles, AIR was on a large number on a QNX-based product, and we’re still supporting AIR for an automotive supplier on an embedded Linux OS. Likewise we support Flash Player and AIR on a number of Set Top Box products… less of these now, as companies had been moving away from this platform, but it means that we have a very good knowledge about the AIR software.

While I would love to work on an “ActionScript 4”, and had previews of this prior to Adobe canning it, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ve been following the “language improvements” being made by the folk working on Apache Royale with interest, some of these could have value - but we’re not supporting the ActionScript Compiler, just the AIR runtime and its SDK. The developer websites and language reference site will continue to be maintained by Adobe for a while, we’ll be discussing what happens to them post 2020 though, if necessary we can take those on.

Starling and Feathers are great projects, but currently we’re unable to commit to any funding in the way that Adobe had been doing this. It wasn’t factored into our calculations… I would like to be able to support them in some way, perhaps via some sort of freemium approach that we could help with, we shall have to see.

Hope that gives a few more answers!

thanks, Andrew

and

ajwfrost75 May 31, 2019 12:06 AM

Linux is an interesting one - we’ve supported AIR on Linux the whole time :slight_smile: but for our OEM customers who pay for the integration services. If there’s a business case for reinstating Linux support for the AIR SDK, then we would consider it…!

HARMAN itself, yes lots of automotive and audio work, but that’s all independent of this initiative. We don’t have “AIR to JS” migration work, but we do have Flash to JS migration business because of the browser limitation coming in at the end of 2020.

This definitely isn’t about “helping our business” - it’s tiny, in the grand scheme of things for HARMAN - but we want it to be successful, and for that we know it needs to be properly maintained and updated. But yes, it also has to be commercially viable: the money coming from the product will fund the team that develops it. I’m hoping this has plenty of years left in it, personally I love this technology and use ActionScript/AIR for any little utility that needs to be knocked up.

Re the comment above about the ActionScript compiler: yes it’s distributed with the AIR SDK, but we don’t have the source code for this from Adobe… There are other tools that we had discussed e.g. ATFViewer, and still some open issues, so we will see how this goes. It’s close collaboration, it’s not like Adobe are just throwing the whole thing over the fence at us!

thanks

and form another comment on starling forums

Very quick update (sorry, belatedly finding this thread too!) - yes a free tier and then commercial distribution so that we can fund the development team. Our website has three areas on it: this is the first one i.e. taking over support for Adobe AIR. The second part is around our existing capabilities (over the last dozen years) to put Flash Player and AIR onto all sorts of different platforms and devices; the third section is about migration services for companies who have web-based applications e.g. with Flex, who need to cope with the 2020 removal of plug-in support by the browser companies. We’re not encouraging people to move away from AIR, far from it! And in fact, moving to AIR may be a solution for companies who have Flash/Flex apps on the web that could be converted into separate/installable applications…
More later once we get our FAQ/website up and running. We’d been prioritising getting AIR running properly in 64-bit mode and with all the ANE support…
Thanks, Andrew


Let’s extract a bit more

  • as pointed out before, yes HARMAN is a subsidiary of Samsung, but the licensing of AIR is driven by HARMAN not Samsung, eg. they are probably not even aware of it and yeah HARMAN is big enough on its own to do that
  • if HARMAN licensed Adobe AIR sources in the first place was to port it to other platform (not supported by AIR)
  • it seems they ported it to QNX and embedded Linux (strangely I know QNX from looong looong time ago, that’s funny and interesting)
  • yeah don’t dream, “ActionScript 4” very unlikely to happen
  • they do not support the ActionScript compiler, so no update to the compiler either

Ok so who is talking about the announcement?
almost nobody

I saw 2 things

first is from a Japanese site Impress Watch
Adobe、「Adobe AIR」の技術や資産をHARMANに移管

Adobeは、Flash技術をパソコンやモバイル機器で動作させるための「Adobe AIR」について、デザインや開発資産をHARMANに移管すると発表した。HARMANは、6月に新バージョンのAIR v33を提供し、64bit Androidデバイスをサポートするなど、継続的にAIRの強化に取り組む。

and the other one is a clickbait from some asshole
Adobe AIR is Dead?

In 2017 Adobe announced the End Of Life for the Flash browser plugin was coming at the end of 2020. Flash developers still had the ability to deploy their applications to desktops and mobile devices using Adobe AIR technology. Today, Adobe announced the EOL for that platform as well.

ah yeah, I didn’t count but the word "dead’ is repeated numerous time there, here a little transcript

hello everybody it’s Mikey from game from scratch
with an orbituary of sorts and this one of those cases
where the person or thing that died most people
kind of sit back and go “huh”
and that’s exactly what happened today
Adobe Flash died again
and I say again because frankly
Adobe’s Flash been dying for quite some time now
and one more nail was just drilled into that coffin …

… it is a Harman product now and you can basically
call it dead, the company that made all the developing
of the tools and the ecosystem is done with it
and the kind of writing that has been on the wall for
a while now …

so you probably at some point in time either owned a laptop
or some desktop speakers that were made by Harman Kardon
and they are a fully owned subsidiary of Samsung
and why the heck they are buying Flash? I don’t know …
I really don’t knwo to be honest but they are not a development
company, I don’t see a future here … I think if you haven’t
read the writing on the wall, Adobe Flash is dead,
Flash Player is now dead and flash or Adboe AIR is
just as good as dead at this point in time …

so if you are one of those last vestigial flash developers out there
I hate to tell you but it is time to move on now,
you do not have an alternative anymore, unless for some reason
Haramn picks up and massively revitalizes it but yeah …

I gotta say I don’t know of too many great developer tools
that came out of Samsung in any way shape or form
so I’m not putting a lot of faith in this happening
and again it’s a very strange acquisition
I’m not sure why that’s going on but that is that …

this is like watching real player die to me, I don’t care anymore
I never really admired the language that much
the web technologies that supplanted it have come a long way since
and they now have that vibrant ecosystem and good tooling and such
that made flash attractive in the first place
so I’ve shed no tears over this but I’m curious what is opinion here
if you were one of those people that was hanging onto Flash after
the official deprecation of the web side because AIR was still around

so let be clear this is not news, this is clickbait
Mikey … has no clues what he is talking about, did not even bother to prepare the text that is blurbing out of his mouth, he is just happy to tell that “flash is dead again”

but I put that here to perfectly illustrate what toxic people are, you can see the same kind of guys on Adobe forum saying the exact same shit, they don’t know they are just interested to say they are right.


I’m not a journalist either but I do base what I say on facts with quotes and links that anyone can go and verify by themselves.


#2

Observing the exchange of @ajwfrost messages in Facebook groups, I caught the attention of the first, where it says:

Remember that other plugins are available FREE under the condition of a turnover less than $ 100k annually:

Financial eligibility:
I or my company generate annual revenues or raised funds less than $100k

Will this, will be the same criteria, from Harman to us AIR developers: Free for small developers?


#3

I don’t know

those are probably the things that will be clarified in an update from HARMAN
with a FAQ etc.

obviously there will be some “limits” to distinguish the “free tier” from the “paid tier”
would it be revenues? downloads? combination of both?
total or per app? fixed paid tier? percentage based paid tier? etc.

personally from what I saw in the last years, if I wanted to commercialise AIR
yeah probably plan for a reasonable “paid tier”
but I would certainly propose paid support

when I see the unreasonable demands from people using AIR and ANE
a $20/month subscription for ANE does not cover the time you spend on support imho

but a support subscription with different level (like Adobe was doing Gold/Silver/Bronze tickets)
where people can get personalised fast support vs slower general support
would bring more money

that what I would do, and also that’s what I’m doing for other stuff (web hosting)
when I host someone they get a basic set of stuff like automatic backup, 99% uptime, etc.
but if they want to spend 4h an afternoon over skype/phone for personal custom support I make them pay, which is normal.