On March 18, a new Adobe Flash player will be available for free from the Android Marketplace for smartphones and tablets. Many of the new features will only be available for the tablets, but all devices will enjoy experience improvements.

Flash Player 10.2 For Android Devices Next Week

Flash Player 10.2 will come to Android devices next Friday, March 18. The player will be a production general availability release for Froyo (Android version 2.2) and Gingerbread (Android version 2.3) devices that meet hardware system requirements, and a beta release for Honeycomb (Android 3.0) tablets. Software support was released over the air for Motorola's XOOM tablet in preparation for the Adobe media product last night.

The new functionality will enable Android tablets to play h.264-encoded video. Deeper integration and the updated Honeycomb browser allows faster rendering for interactive content, "resulting in a browsing experience similar to the desktop," as described on the Adobe Team blog. On 2.2 and 2.3 version devices, browser content that utilizes both Flash and HTML will render them in separate windows.

Owners of the Xoom will be able to use these new features next week, as well as other devices that use the multi-core, GPU-enabled processors such as the Motorola Atrix 4G and the LG Optimus 2X. They can access videos, games and interactive Web content at faster speeds and lower battery drain.

Touchscreen users will find a smoother interface for keyboard input content. On the development side, it will be simpler to create multiscreen apps if this type, as well as easier "to optimize applications for mobile devices,"  and can use a new ActionScript API "to automatically launch and display the soft keyboard."

Better Flash integration is important for the success of Android tablets - as Androinica points out, its a key advantage, and "cannot arrive on the Xoom fast enough."

By Ivory King