Adobe AIR is a cross-platform tool that lets developers write apps that will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers using basically the same tools you would use to write a Flash-based web app. Adobe plans to bring Adobe AIR to Google Android as well, and the company has launched a private beta.

While the beta test is only available to a select group of testers, the folks at Droid Life managed to get their hands on the Adobe AIR installer for Android and they’ve posted a download link.

Of course, the AIR platform is no good without a few application to test, and Droid Life has posted a few of those as well. They’re pretty simple so far, but here’s the cool thing: once AIR is installed, you can download and install these apps just like any other native Android application. That means today you can download the APK, copy it to your device, and then install by opening a file browser on your mobile device and clicking on the APK file. But eventually you’ll be able to download these apps from the Android Market.

That’s the good news. Well, that, plus the fact that these simple demo apps seem to work quite nicely on my Google Nexus One. They seem just as responsive as native apps.

The bad news is that Adobe AIR for Android takes up more than 21MB of space once installed. Basically, I installed AIR and then when I went to install one of the AIR-based apps, I got a message telling me that I was out of disk space and would need to remove something else first. In the future I suspect more developers make it possible to move apps to the SD card on Android 2.2, and this might not be that big an issue. We’ll also likely start seeing smartphones with larger amounts of internal storage. But today, 21MB is a lot of space for an Android app.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...