Motorola Xoom, Android 3.0 to Get Flash March 18

Adobe said Flash Player 10.2 will be available in the Android Market for Android 2.2 and 2.3 smartphones and Android 3.0 tablets March 18.

Motorola Xoom owners need only wait one more week to download Adobe Flash Player 10.2, which will be available via the Android Market as a beta, Adobe promised.

Flash Player 10.2 will drop with general availability for Android 2.2 (Froyo) smartphones, such as the Motorola Atrix 4G and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) devices, such as the Samsung Nexus S, that meet the Flash hardware system requirements.

When Verizon Wireless began advertising the 10.1-inch Xoom Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablet a few weeks ago, eagle-eyed bloggers quickly noted that Flash would not be immediately available for the iPad challenger when it launched Feb. 24.

Adobe confirmed this in a blog post three days before the Xoom arrived, noting that Flash 10.2 would be available as an over-the-air download on the Xoom and viable smartphones in late March.

Adobe Flash for Mobile Product Manager Antonio Flores provided more clarity for the progress in a blog post March 11, noting that the Flash maker has been working closely with Google to make sure integration between Flash Player 10.2 and new OS and browser capabilities in Android 3.0 was simpatico.

After the beta launch, Flash on the Xoom will receive subsequent updates, leading to a general availability release of Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0.

Some of the new capabilities of Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0 include hardware accelerated video presentation for H.264, leading to reduced CPU usage and higher frame rates for existing H.264 video content.

Ideally, that means less latency on the Xoom and subsequent Honeycomb tablets than what Android 2.2 smartphone users are accustomed to. This should be a welcome reprieve for users who feel Flash exhibits too much latency for video and games.

Flores also promised deeper integration of Flash Player with the Android 3.0 browser to better render Web video content. Flash Player can now render content as part of the Web page just as it smoothly processes HTML, images and GIF animation.

This translates to better Web page scrolling, as well as support for instances where HTML and other Web content are composited over Flash Player rendered content.

However, Flash Player-rendered content will continue to be placed in a separate window on top of HTML in the Android 2.2 and 2.3 browsers because these browsers do not support the new Android 3.0 browser rendering model.

What smartphones based on Android 2.2 and 2.3 and powered by multicore, GPU-enabled processors will get is better delivery of Flash videos, games and other iWeb content.

This includes handsets such as the Atrix 4G, whose speedy performance with a dual-core 1GHx processor and Flash support on AT&T's HSPA+ network make consuming YouTube content and other video feel natural.