Adobe says Honeycomb tablets will get Flash in 'a few weeks'

Technology could prove to give Android tablets a leg up on the Flashless iPad

Adobe says Google's upcoming "Honeycomb" version of the Android operating system will include support for Flash on tablets "within a few weeks."

The much-anticipated Honeycomb will be the first version of Android designed for tablet computers. Motorola's Xoom tablet, which will launch on Thursday, will be the first to run the software, but initial versions won't include Flash. Verizon, which will be selling the Xoom, previously said Flash would be available in "spring 2011."

The vague time reference had people fearing that Flash wouldn't be available until the end of the spring, but a posting on Adobe's blog points to a slightly earlier release.

"Consumers are clearly asking for Flash support on tablet devices and the good news is that they won’t have to wait long. We are aware of over 50 tablets that will ship in 2011 supporting a full web experience (including Flash support) and Xoom users will be among the first to enjoy this benefit," wrote Matt Rozen, on Adobe's Flash Platform Blog.

Adobe said Version 10.2 of its Flash player will be offered as a download and will be pre-installed on some tablets that launch later in 2011. Adobe has said that Flash Player 10.2 will offer users of dual-core tablets and smartphones HD Flash video and up to 30-frames-per-second video performance.

The blog posting appears to be aimed at critics who have recently suggested that people might hesitate to buy Honeycomb-based tablets that don't include Flash support.

Daniel Ionescu of PC World, for example, noted the Motorola Xoom is seen by many as the first real rival to Apple's iPad but added that it may be a "hard sell" because of to its hefty $800 price tag and lack of Flash.

Support for Adobe Flash Player software is seen as a major advantage for rivals to Apple's iPad because Apple has eschewed the technology, which is widely used as a video streaming format.

Steve Jobs listed several reasons why Apple does not allow Flash on iPods, iPhones or iPads in a public posting last April. Among other things, he said Flash drains battery life and argued that more modern offerings work better.

Adobe defended itself by posting data of its own and taking out full page ads in major newspapers.

Adobe expects to see Flash installed on more than 132 million devices by the end of this year.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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