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In heels of 3Q results, Adobe announces new Flash

Wed, 09/21/2011 - 8:05am
BARBARA ORTUTAY - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press

Adobe Systems Inc. says the latest iteration of its ubiquitous Flash player will focus on showing high-quality online videos and letting developers create high-quality games for a broad range of devices.

The latest installment of Flash, which is used to watch online videos, create visual graphics and power the bulk of Web-based games, comes as Apple Inc. continues to ban the technology from its iPhone and wildly popular iPad tablet computer. (There is a way, however, for developers to bring apps originally built in Flash to Apple gadgets by using Adobe's AIR technology.)

Adobe, which plans to launch Flash 11 in October, says it also supports HTML5, the latest version of the programming standard that websites are built on.

Danny Winkour, vice president and general manager of platform at Adobe, said the company is "equally focused on both."

"There was a fairly long period where the pace of innovation of HTML was fairly slow," he said. "Over the past couple of years this has changed dramatically (so) we have ramped up our investment in it as well."

But Winkour says Flash 11 offers some advantages to HTML5 in presenting large data sets visually, and in creating online games and showing high-quality videos.

"For pretty much everything else, HTML5 has matured into a point to where it is a great solution," he said.

Flash 11 will let developers create 3-D graphics and higher-quality 2-D animation. This, Winkour said, will help bring higher-end, "console-quality" games to the Web and mobile devices. It will also render graphics much faster than the current version of Flash — another important step in making more complex games.

Adobe says more than 70 percent of the simple, casual games people play on the Web are made in Flash. These include the likes of "FarmVille" and other games played on Facebook.

Adobe's Flash announcement came in the heels of the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings. The results and the optimistic outlook propelled the company's shares higher.

The stock rose 62 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $25.26 in midday trading. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $22.67 and $35.99.

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