Ina Fried

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Adobe to Release Next Flash for Android on March 18

Adobe said on Friday that it will have its next version of Flash for Android ready for download on March 18.

Flash 10.2 will be a final release for the Froyo and Gingerbread releases of Android, but will only be a beta for tablets running the new Honeycomb version. Many of the new version’s features are aimed at Honeycomb tablets.

Those Honeycomb-specific features include hardware acceleration for video playback, enhanced browser performance and tighter integration with the browser.

“We have been working very closely with Google to ensure tight integration between Flash Player 10.2 and new OS and browser capabilities in Android 3.0,” Adobe said in a blog post. It said it is working with Google to get the beta running on the Motorola Xoom and will have a final release at a later, unspecified point.

Improving Flash on Android devices is particularly important as Flash support is one of the key advantages that rivals can tout over Apple’s iPhone and iPad, which lack Flash capabilities. Thus far, however, Flash on Android has left much to be desired.

I think a brief example from the Mobilized household illustrates the point. My partner AJ is addicted to a Flash-based Facebook game called SuperPoke Pets where you have to feed and care for a virtual pet and get points for doing that and playing with other people’s pets. Because it requires Flash, neither the iPhone nor the iPad (even the slim new one) is an attractive mobile device. However, because Flash performance has been so laggy on Android devices, none has reached his “must have” list. But I have a feeling we will be buying the first tablet that lets him truly care for Snowflake on the go.