Adobe has officially launched its AIR platform for Google Android. AIR is a runtime that allows you to run apps built using Adobe’s developer platform. It’s similar to Flash, allowing developers to easily create native version of web-based Flash apps.
There are versions of AIR available for Windows, Linux, and OS X. Unfortunately the addition of Android to that list doesn’t mean you can now run any AIR app on your phone. AIR apps must be custom designed for mobile devices, but now developers can write apps that will run on Android… and eventually other mobile platforms that support AIR with minimal changes from one platform to the next, which could save a lot of time and effort.
Right now there are a handful of apps in the Android Market built on AIR, including Space Invaders and Tetris clones, a Netflix queue manager, and a physics demo as well as a tool called AIRonAndroid Browser which shows off the different ways AIR-based apps can interact with your phone’s hardware including the accelerometer, camera, GPS, multitouch display, and on-screen keyboard. You can find most of the AIR apps by searching the Market for “Adobe AIR.”
Honestly, the current crop of apps are pretty underwhelming. They load quickly and seem reasonably responsive, but they’re pretty simple and they don’t all seem to work properly. I was able to fire in the Space Invaders clone, but I couldn’t actually move from left to right.
The AIR runtime also eats up about 16MB of disk space, which makes it kind of a resource hog by Android standards. If you have a newer phone with large amounts of internal storage, that might not be a problem, but I started getting low disk space warnings on my Nexus One phone as soon as I installed the AIR app.
Adobe AIR for Android is available as a free download from the Android Market. You’ll need Android 2.2 to run AIR for Android.