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Flash Player 10 for smartphones demoed

Adobe Flash to boost mobile web

Adobe plans to show off progress on its Flash Player 10 for smartphones at the Mobile World Congress today, and deliver a new software development kit that should make reading documents on small screens easier.

While Adobe has demonstrated Flash Player 10 on T-Mobile's Google Android-based G1, at MWC it will also show it running on Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile phones. While Flash Player 10 won't display absolutely everything developed for the web, even on high-end smartphones, it will come closer than its predecessors, said Anup Muraka, director of technology strategy and partner development in Adobe's platform business unit.

Muraka couldn't add any more details about the possibility of Flash in either form on iPhones, a question that many of the phone's users have wondered about. "I can reiterate what our CEO recently said, that we'll continue our development efforts. There's a fair bit of work to be done, and we're looking forward to completing that and coordinating with Apple to try to make it available," he said.

Adobe also planned to announce that it released a new Adobe Reader Mobile SDK that will replace Reader LE 2.5, the current mobile PDF reader. Licensees will use the new SDK to enable the display of PDF documents in their own readers. Reader LE 2.5 is slightly less flexible, requiring licensees to use an included reader.

The new SDK will fit text to the screen rather than display documents in their full size. "In the existing reader, you have to zoom in and pan around," Muraka said.

Sony is already using the technology in its Reader Digital Book, and e-book readers from Bookeen and iRex Technologies as well as Lexcycle, the maker of the iPhone Stanza book reader, plan to use it.

For developers, Adobe introduced new technology that will automatically detect if users buying their applications have Flash Lite, and if they don't, offer to install it. "A developer no longer has to be dependent on whether a consumer has the latest device or software," said Muraka. The distributable player is now available as a beta.

Adobe will also use Mobile World Congress to push its Open Screen Project, an industry initiative that aims to make it easier for content providers to offer a consistent experience to users across devices including TVs, computers and phones. Nokia and Adobe announced that they plan to award $10m to developers who build applications that are based on Adobe Flash and will run on Nokia phones plus other kinds of devices. Developers will submit concepts for their applications, and a group of companies including Adobe and Nokia will review them and decide to award them seed money.

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