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Adobe's Flash Player 10.1 for mobile devices has made its debut alongside the latest version of Google's Android operating system. Originally promised for 2009, its delayed appearance had become a factor in the increasingly heated competition between mobile platforms.
While some handsets have been able to run Flash content through Flash Lite, the new version of the rich media player brings significant improvements in performance and allows developers to build new controls into their browser-based mobile applications.
On this page, the extremely Flash-heavy Eco Zoo website is shown running smoothly and quickly. The image shows a 3D pop-up book feature, which the user can manipulate by touch.
According to Adobe's mobile platform evangelist Mark Doherty, Android 2.2 — also known as Froyo — is the earliest version of Google's mobile OS that can handle Flash Player 10.1.
Doherty attributed this limitation to the iteration of the Android browser included in the version, explaining that browsers have to support features such as 'smart zoom' — tapping the relevant Flash-enabled part of the screen to activate it — to use Flash Player 10.1. For now, Flash 10.1 requires an ARM11-based chip such as that found in the Nexus One, Doherty noted.
Once their browsers are upgraded to accommodate such functionality, operating systems including WebOS, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry and Symbian will follow Android's lead, Doherty said.
Adobe has a page where it recommends suitably-optimised, Flash-enabled mobile websites.
Despite hopes that one website could be made to run equally well on any size of screen and type of device, Doherty suggested that developers would need to tailor their sites to provide "optimised experiences" across a range of devices. Mobile phones, PCs and TVs all provide different web usage experiences and therefore require optimised webpages, he noted.