Flash arrives for Pocket PC

Microsoft and Macromedia release a player that enables Flash multimedia content on Pocket PC devices

Macromedia has released Flash Player 5 for Microsoft's Pocket PC platform, adding a multimedia component that was previously missing from most Pocket PCs.

The current version for the desktop is Flash Player 6, but the handheld version -- available for all Pocket PC brands -- does include some new features, such as better sound and video-like effects, Microsoft said.

Flash content is embedded into many Web sites as a way of adding animation and sound effects without adding substantially to download time. Previously the only Pocket PC capable of playing Flash content was Casio's Cassiopeia, although a developer release of Flash Player 4 was available for other Pocket PCs.

The player has not yet appeared on Macromedia's Web site, but is available for download from Microsoft's Pocket PC site. Macromedia said it will officially announce the player next week.

Because of Flash's low-bandwidth multimedia capabilities, some companies have seized on it as an ideal way to bring entertainment to mobile devices. The UK's Pogo, for example, sells a wireless PDA with a colour touchscreen and an embedded Flash player. The device's interface is also programmed in Flash.

Macromedia recently launched Flash MX, which is essentially release 6 of the authoring software and player.

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