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Microsoft Mobile presses Flash

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Microsoft has signed a deal with Adobe allowing it to bundle both Flash Lite and Adobe Reader LE with Windows Mobile devices, if the manufacturers want to do so.

Flash Lite is a cut-down version of Flash suited to mobile devices and already comes pre-installed on a range of handsets, though notably not those using the various incarnations of Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile 5 users can download a Flash player from Adobe's website, but Flash Lite is the preferred technology for mobile use.

Microsoft's competitor to Flash, Silverlight, will also have a mobile version - the imaginatively-titled "Silverlight Mobile" - which is due out late this year, but manufacturers are obviously asking for greater functionality now, so Flash Lite will make an intermediate step.

Device manufacturers deciding to use Windows Mobile have access to a range of technologies that Microsoft licenses on their behalf, including a variety of text-entry systems and various media playing capabilities. They pick what they want, and a licence deal is done with Redmond, which then passes on a cut to the technology owner.

So this deal doesn't mean that every Windows Mobile device will suddenly become Flash-capable. Nor does it mean that Silverlight Mobile won't feature prominently when it's launched. But it does present a range of options for Windows Mobile devices wanting a little more shine on their web experience. ®

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