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Adobe Flash Player 10 Gets Ready to Mobilize

It's official: Adobe's Flash Player 10 is coming this fall to most mobile operating systems, including Android, Windows Mobile and webOS.

The multimedia content player will enable smartphone owners to watch videos embedded in Web sites and will provide a smoother Web browsing experience with improved audio and graphics, according to Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE). For developers, it means they can build Web-based applications usable by phone owners.

Adobe's CEO recently made the announcement during an earnings call.

"We are bringing Flash Player 10 to smartphone-class devices to enable the latest Web browsing experience," Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said during a presentation to investors. "Multiple partners already received an early version of the release, and we expect to release the beta version for developers at our conference in October.

"Google's Android, Nokia's Symbian, Windows Mobile and the new Palm webOS will be among the first devices to support Web browsing with the newest Flash player."

In addition, Narayen said ARM, nVidia, Broadcom, Intel, Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm are currently optimizing the player for their products.

Clearly missing from the line up is the iPhone OS, though Narayen said during a trade conference in February that Adobe and Apple are still working together to bring Flash to the iPhone, though there is no launch date set.

Apple and Adobe had not returned calls by press time to comment.

With the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone -- and Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry devices -- out of the picture for now, the move to bring Flash to smartphones may give the competition an edge in a hotly contested race to net the majority of the lucrative handset market.

The Google-led open source mobile operating system, Android, for instance, may be one up-and-comer looking to capitalize on Flash support. In November, Adobe and Google showed off an early version of Flash Player 10 running on an Android-based T-Mobile G1 phone.

That's likely to make Flash a key point of differentiation against Apple, which just saw its newest phone, the iPhone 3G S, make a successful debut over the weekend.

Phones running Android later this year are also expected to feature a new edition of its OS -- version 2.0, dubbed Donut. The current version, 1.5, called Cupcake, debuted earlier this month with a number of enhancements.

Palm, which is banking heavily on the success of own its recently released Pre smartphone, has also been making tweaks to its webOS software in addition to planning Flash 10 support.

The device maker this week issued a minor update to webOS, primarily fixing wrinkles in some features like e-mail and Google Calendar syncing. Developers, meanwhile, are eagerly awaiting the webOS software developer kit to be released by the end of the summer.

While Google has also been working with Adobe on bringing Flash to Android, it's also taking steps to improve its Flash support in other areas.

Last week, Google said that it had improved its search engine's ability to index Web pages with Adobe Flash files.

Google can now index external content that a Flash file loads, such as text, HTML, XML or Flash content itself, it said. The move is part of the search leader's ongoing attempt to make Flash content more searchable -- last June, Google developed a new algorithm for indexing textual content in Flash files.