I’ve been going on like a broken record about how the browser will be challenged as the primary window to Internet-driven applications and content. Everybody and their uncle is taking a crack at it. Everyone has some sort of desktop download. Widgets. Gadgets. You get the idea.
Just about any attempt to get to your desktop requires a download and installation of some sort of appliation – a major barrier to widespread adoption. Adobe, following their merger with Macromedia, are working on a little known effort called Apollo. PDFZone has some insight on the effort and sum it up nicely:
The idea behind Apollo…is to enable apps currently made from Flash and PDF to “move beyond the browser” by assigning Flash-based apps a desktop icon that can be launched like traditional apps and utilities.
Adobe’s Apollo may be a dark horse in this race if they can make sure they leverage the massive install base of Flash players out there (and PDF readers for that matter). If Apollo is going to require its own install to run, then I think Adobe will be falling back onto the same playing field as the other players. The secret sauce, in my opinion, is to provide users with a dead simple ability to cross the browser’s chrome onto the desktop. No simple feat, especially considering the security implications. Adobe will face other challenges that will make this easier said than done, but this is a key requirement I believe.